A Memory-Filled Journey Into The Life Of Guitar Legend Leo Fender
On November 1, 2017, a new book entitled “Leo Fender: The Quiet Giant Heard Around the World” will be released. I have had the chance to briefly review this book. The 180 page paperback gives an intimate portrayal of the life of Leo Fender. There are many intimate family and personal photos that have unlikely been seen by the general public before. This book is easy to read and it provides a useful summary of the life of Leo Fender.
So here is a little background on the man who is the father of the Fender Stratocaster guitar:
Fender, one of the first innovators of the electric guitar, grew up in Fullerton, California, where his interest in electronics lead him to open his own radio repair shop in 1938. It wasn’t long before musicians and band leaders turned to him for help in repairing their equipment. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Fender’s revolutionary guitar, the Fender Stratocaster, has been the preference of world-renowned musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Jeff Beck — to name a few.
While his name is synonymous with fist-pumping rock and roll sound, in reality, Fender was a shy, unassuming inventor who was nearly deaf and had one glass eye. In 1946 he founded Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company — the launch pad for his most iconic designs — and later on, G&L Musical Instruments.
Fender’s game-changing contributions to the music world have been widely recognized. He was presented with the Country Music Association Pioneer Award in 1981; was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock Walk of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His accomplishments were also acknowledged with a Technical Grammy Award in 2009. Fender died in 1991.
Today, Fender is a household name. But the quirky, shy inventor never lived large or flaunted his fame. He lived in a mobile home, even after selling his company for $300 million (in today’s dollars). His daily routines and obsessions made him truly fascinating, and thanks to his enduring instruments, Fender’s legacy forever lives on.
LEO FENDER: The Quiet Giant Heard Around the World
Leadership Institute Press
Release date: November 1, 2017