Iris Colleen Summers?

Who was Iris Colleen Summers and why did she change her name?

asked by Tom in Music | 3080 views | 08-13-2009 at 07:40 PM

Iris Colleen Summers was Les Paul's wife and her artistic name was Mary Ford.

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. They eventually settled in Southern California, where they were heard over Pasadena's first Christian radio station. Her sisters and brothers were all 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.

From 1953 through 1960, Paul and Ford hosted their very own television program, The Les Paul and Mary Ford at Home Show, while the duo continued to record together until they divorced in 1964. Ford passed away on September 30, 1977.

answered by Joshua | 08-13-2009 at 07:42 PM

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