Death of the Guitar Man: Les Paul (1915-2009)

In the popular mind, guitarist Les Paul existed for half a decade: the years 1950-54, when he and his vocalist-wife Mary Ford enjoyed 16 Top 10 hits, including "How High the Moon" (No. 1 for nine weeks) and "Vaya Con Dios" (No. 1 for 11 weeks)

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Guitarist Les Paul in 1941

In the popular mind, guitarist Les Paul existed for half a decade: the years 1950-54, when he and his vocalist-wife Mary Ford enjoyed 16 Top 10 hits, including "How High the Moon" (No. 1 for nine weeks) and "Vaya Con Dios" (No. 1 for 11). Scanning the Great American Songbook for standards 20 or 30 years old, Paul would roast the chestnut into 2/4 time, add Ford's silky stylings and serve up a million seller like "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise," "I'm Sitting on Top of the World" or "Bye Blue Blues." Musical satisfaction guaranteed.

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