It was modeled after an instrument Pete Townsend once owned. It’s been featured on countless postcards, in TV shows like Entourage and in feature films like Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. (And it was destroyed in that movie, but no hard feelings). Now, Hard Rock Cafe’s iconic, YESCO-built, 80-foot-tall Gibson Les Paul is on course to join Vegas’ best and brightest retired signs as part of the Neon Museum’s Boneyard tour.
The famous guitar-shaped beacon was erected in 1990 outside Las Vegas’ original Paradise Road Hard Rock Cafe location, which closed last year on New Year’s Eve. YESCO designed and maintained ownership of the sign, recently donating it to the Neon Museum. But its massive size meant it had to be taken down in pieces. Transporting and reassembling it is no cheap feat, so the Neon Museum has launched a $350,000 fundraiser to restore the sign to its original glamour. Those who donate $100 will be recognized on a plaque at the sign’s base, and all donors will be entered into a raffle to win a neon art piece.
“It’s the largest restoration fundraising activity we’ve ever undertaken,” says Brenda K. Bogue, the museum’s director of development. “The inner workings of it are in tatters.”
Bogue adds that the money will also go toward electrical repairs and maintenance, and that it’s not a matter of if the museum will hit its goal, but when. As of Christmas Eve, the campaign had amassed $50,000.
“We’re confident, and we’re receiving donations from around the world. It’s an iconic sign that has meaning, not only to Las Vegans but to our following around the world. We’re super-excited and look forward to having this in our boneyard.”
To donate, visit neonmuseum.org/hard-rock.