Eddie Van Halen Solos and Pays Tribute to Les Paul at 1988 Show

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PHOTO: Ebet Roberts | Getty Images

Les Paul’s birthday is today, and the great guitarist, inventor and performer would have been 101 years old.

Back in 1988, when he was a young 73, a bunch of his friends and admirers got together to pay tribute to Les with a special concert tribute titled Les Paul & Friends.

Among those to appear was Eddie Van Halen, a guitarist and innovator who was cut in the same cloth as Les—which is undoubtedly one reason why they were such close friends.

In this clip from the show, Les introduces Ed, who performs a guitar solo that includes “Cathedral” and a instrumental version of “Hot for Teacher” called “Back Pain Boogie.” The band features bassist Tony Levin on bass and Jan Hammer on keytar.

The clip begins with Les demonstrating his Les Paulverizer, an electronic device of his own invention that allowed him to multitrack his guitar live onstage. “Van Halen is worried sick over my little black box,” Les tells the crowd.

We’re also including a clip the omits Les’s Paulverizer performance but features better audio.