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Les Paul & Mary Ford

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The husband and wife team of Les Paul (guitarist, born Lester William Polsfuss in 1915, died August 13th 2009) and Mary Ford (vocalist, born Iris Colleen Summers in 1924, died in 1977) recorded 16 Top Ten hits between 1950-1954.
Mary Ford (aka Iris Colleen Hatfield) (July 7, 1924, El Monte, California, – September 30, 1977, Arcadia, California), vocalist and guitarist, was one-half of the famed husband-wife musical team, Les Paul and Mary Ford. Between 1950 and 1954, the couple had 16 top-ten hits. In 1951 alone, the duo sold six million records.

Born Iris Colleen Summers, she came from a musical family. Her father was a Nazarene minister, and her parents left Missouri, traveling cross-country while singing gospel music and preaching at revival meetings across America, eventually settling in Southern California where they were heard over Pasadena’s first Christian radio station. All of her sisters and brothers were musicians: Esther, Carol, Eva, Fletcher, jazz organist Bruce and film composer Bob Summers.

In the early 1940s. she found work as a country music performer with Gene Autry and Jimmy Wakely. She appeared with Wakely in the PRC film I’m from Arkansas (1944) as a member of the Sunshine Girls trio. In 1945, Autry introduced her to guitarist Les Paul, and the two teamed in 1946. For billing purposes, Paul selected “Mary Ford” from a telephone directory so her name would be almost as short as his. With Paul, she became one of the early practitioners of multi-tracking. Patti Page and Jane Turzy were other 1950s vocalists who used multi-tracking.

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