Music magazine Q has held its annual awards show (November 2) at London’s legendary Roundhouse venue, and the 2016 Q Gibson Les Paul Award went to The Edge from U2. The previous recipients of the award were Johnny Marr (2014) and Tony Iommi (2015).
The Edge received his award from Rolling Stones legend Ronnie Wood, quipping “I’m no Jeff Beck!” (Wood, of course, was bassist in the Jeff Beck Group back in the ‘60s.) In the audience, Blondie’s Deborah Harry applauded as Edge further called for guitars to replace synths “like it’s 1981!” U2 also won Best Live Act – recent shows were the first the band have played “indoors” for years.
Edge, of course, has a long history with Gibson – his early signature sound in U2 relied upon his 1976 Gibson Explorer – “the only guitar we had for the first album” – and he’s since played numerous Les Pauls, SGs and J-200 acoustics.
Alongside Gibson Brands CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, Edge was a key-founder on Music Rising, the Gibson-affiliated charity formed in November 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The foundation was initially formed to buy new instruments for the musicians of New Orleans affected by the disaster, and its work continues – it helped musicians in the wake of Nashville floods (2010) and Hurricane Sandy (2012), and has donated $1 million to develop the Music Rising curriculum at Tulane University. Edge has auctioned a number of his own guitars – including his original Gibson Explorer and a favorite cream 1975 Gibson Les Paul – for Music Rising funds. Gibson Custom hand-built him an exact replica of the latter to replace it.
Full list of winners at qthemusic.com