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The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry that Shaped Rock ’n’ Roll

Written by Ian S. Port

Read by Pete Simonelli, with the recording produced by Simon & Schuster Audio and Blackstone Audio.

Reviewed by Ryan Paul Winn

Charting the electric guitar’s evolution, Ian S. Port reminds listeners of rock ‘n’ roll’s earliest competition. Before Leo Fender and Les Paul were names on headstocks, they were tinkerers who produced the most influential musical instruments of the twentieth century. Reader Pete Simonelli lends grit to the tenacious inventors’ stories and transformative rock performances, producing a rich audiobook for music aficionados to pick over.

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Ryan Paul Winn is a columnist and media critic who’s rarely without an audiobook or his earbuds. When not writing or teaching in the Liberal Studies department at College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wisconsin, he can be found researching overlooked history in local and national archives.