The Edge was honored with the Les Paul Spirit Award at a ceremony at the Bonnaroo Music Festival Friday ahead of U2’s first ever North American festival headlining gig.
The guitarist said he “didn’t hesitate for a split-second” to receive the award named after the guitar pioneer. “Les Paul is without doubt a man after my own heart,” the Edge said. “An inventor, an incredible inventor, an original … He was always after that sound that had never been heard before; I mean these are words that could have come out of my mouth.”
The Edge also noted that Paul’s little-known “Josephine” was so ahead of its time, it “could have come out of the U2 studio.”
“I owe a great debt of gratitude not only for the contributions made to music but in terms of his contributions made to the technology,” the Edge added. “I use guitars that Les pioneered and designed, I use effects that he invented.”
The Edge received his Les Paul Spirit Award on what would have been the legendary guitarist’s 102nd birthday on June 9th. The award is presented to an artist that “exemplifies the spirit of the late, great Les Paul through innovation, engineering, technology and/or music.” In 2016, the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir received the award.
“I cannot think of anyone more fitting to be honored this year with the annual Les Paul Spirit Award than the Edge. Not only is he an extraordinary talent who has given us an incredible array of amazing music but he is also an innovator who understands that sound, technologies, and a personal creative spirit play a role in creating music that cannot be forgotten,” said Les Paul Foundation executive director Michael Braunstein.