Les Paul and Mary Ford

One of the first songs I remember as a child is, “How High the Moon” by Les Paul and Mary Ford. They had a great string of hits in the early ’50s, before rock and roll came to dominate the charts. Their sound was always gorgeous, ethereal, and unmatched by any other duo of their time. Maybe of any other time as well.

Les was one of the world’s greatest guitarists, and one of the earliest people to build and play an electric guitar. He also is the father of multitrack recording, wherein one artist can play and record multiple parts onto one tape and then play along with the many tracks, giving the music dimensions and depths unachievable any other way.

In the video below, Les and Mary are singing and playing along with 24 tracks they had previously recorded, creating harmonies and musical nuances that no one else was capable of doing in the early ’50s.

Les died last year at the age of 94. He was still playing live at a local jazz club in New Jersey one night a week right up to a few days before his death.