Happy birthday to Mary Ford, the singer/guitarist married to Les Paul. She would have been 90 years old today. Born Colleen Iris Summers in El Monte CA, she sang with the Sunshine Girls on CBS's Hollywood Barn Dance and acted on the All-Star Western Theatre during the mid forties. Through Gene Autry she met and fell in love with Lester Polfuss aka Les Paul playing great music together. He first renamed her Marilou while playing in Waukesha just before their car accident in Oklahoma. She nursed him back to health in Hollywood as he finished up his New Sound recordings for Capitol Records. They were married with little Stevie Miller's folks attending too. Soon Lester grabbed a phone book and the name Ford popped up making them Les Paul and Mary Ford! After recording How High the Moon in Jackson Heights NY, their stellar career began together in 1951.
The Gibson company asked Les to endorse their new solid body guitar and with his additions, the new Goldtop Les Paul guitar hit the market. Their chart topping records like How High the Moon in 1953 with multi track layered guitar and vocal parts mesmerized the world! As a kid I watched their hit TV show too. While living with Les in 1975, I had the great pleasure to speak with her a few times. My first volume of the Les Paul Legacy covers their stellar career in depth with all the magazine articles and wonderful photos. Mary's truly amazing voice and superb guitar playing made all of our lives richer... and launched a million ships!
Happy Birthday Mary. We love you!
words by Robb Lawrence