Top 10 Les Paul Songs

Les Paul Songs

Our Top 10 Les Paul songs list looks back at the career of a multi talented innovator form Waukesha, Wisconsin who’s impact on culture is timeless. If your studying the history of classic rock, one avenue that you must explore and study is the impact that the life and work of Les Paul had on rock and roll music as well as country, jazz and just about every other style of popular music. A short article is nowhere near long enough to define the importance of Les Paul to popular music. When one hears the name Les Paul, they instantly think of the guitar model. And of course that Gibson Les Paul guitar model that your thinking of is very much attributed to the innovations of Les Paul. However Les Paul’s importance in the development of the electric guitar often overshadows the many other contributions the man made to music history.

Les Paul was a grand innovator in recording technology. The man helped establish the concept of multitrack recording. He was an innovator in the use of guitar pedals and effects devices. However it was his experiments with a guitar in 1941 he was building called “The Log,” that would develop into his model Les Paul. Ten years later the mammoth guitar company Gibson would begin manufacturing the Gibson Les Paul model. There would be issues between Gibson and Les Paul over the years due to many different circumstances, but the impact that Les Paul had with his innovative guitars and the power of the Gibson guitars company made for millions of people playing a Les Paul guitar over the past fifty years.

Putting aside all of Les Paul’s innovations, there was also the man and his music….. and he made a lot of it. Early on in his career he made many albums with his wife Mary. That marriage would sadly end in divorce in the 1960s. Still, Les Paul would continue on as a solo artists while often collaborating with many others.

Our Top 10 Les Paul songs is simply designed to serve as a starting point for music fans looking to learn about the music and career of Les Paul. We have listed ten songs in chronological order that we hope will serve as just a mini lesson of the music of Les Paul and how is sound and style developed and changed, and in many ways stayed the same throughout his phenomenal musical career.

# 10 – It’s Been a Long, Long Time

We open up our top 10 Les Paul songs list with the gorgeous song entitled “It’s Been a Long, Long Time.” Why not start out with a number one single which is exactly what this song was for two different artists almost at the same time. Harry James and His Orchestra with lead vocalist Kitty Kallen had a number one single with the song in the Fall of 1945. Their number one single was finally kicked out of the number one spot by this beautiful and simple version by Les Paul and Bing Crosby. Just listen to how this one opens up with that beautiful sound of Les Paul’s guitar playing. Ladies and gentleman, Les Paul……

# 9 – Brazil

As we move on with our top 10 Les Paul songs list we go back to 1951 and the stunning Les Paul album entitled The New Sound. We can only imagine how this one must have blown away many music fans because nothing sounded like this at the start of the 1950s. Listen to how innovative Les Paul is with his guitar playing on this track. They really titled this album correctly. The song “Brazil,” was placed as the album’s opener. It was the second single released from the album. The song was a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number twenty two.

# 8 – What Is This Thing Called Love?

As much as we want to spread out this Les Paul songs list, we just had to add one more song from the New Sound album. The third single released from the record was a brilliant instrumental version of Cole Porter’s 1929 classic standard “What Is This Thing Called Love?” Les Paul turned this one upside down and had his biggest hit single from the record with it. The song hit number eleven on the US Billboard Hot 100.

# 7 – How High The Moon

In the number seven position on our top 10 Les Paul songs list is the legendary song entitled “How High The Moon.” This was one of the biggest hits Les Paul and his wife Mary ever had. The song was released on the album entitled The Hit Makers! The album was released in 1953. The song was a monster hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 reaching all the way up to number one. Listen to how Les Paul just smokes it while Mary is just so smooth.

# 6 – Vaya Con Dios

Landing in the number six spot on our top 10  Les Paul songs list is the marvelous song entitled “Vaya Con Dios.” This was easily one of the biggest hits Les and Mary ever had. The song not only hit number one in 1953 on the Billboard Hot 100, it stayed at number one for eleven straight weeks.

# 5 – Dangerous Curves

At the halfway point on our top 10 Les Paul songs list we present the sleeper song of this list called “Dangerous Curves.” Not many people know this one as it was never released as a single. Yet, the playing is just so smooth and sharp we had to include this one. It’s amazing how great this sounds sonically as it was recorded all the way back in 1955. The song was released on the album entitled Les And Mary.

# 4 – Jura

We finally make our way into the 1960s. There are so many more songs from Les Paul’s dynamic 195o’s period that we wanted to showcase but we also need to present some of his later work. Here is the last track we present with Mary. The song “Jura,” was released on the very successful The Fabulous Les Paul and Mary Ford album released in 1961.

# 3 – Dark Eyes

Moving along on our top 10 Les Paul songs list we present the song entitled “Dark Eyes,” The song was released on the album entitled Les Paul & Trio and The Windjammers. There is some pretty serious playing happening on this album. “Dark Eyes,” was the album opener. The duet between piano and guitar is just outstanding. The album was released in 1963.

# 2 – The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise

Just of the top spot on our top 10 Les Paul songs list we celebrate the song entitled “The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise.” Les Paul originally recorded this song with Mary back in 1951 and had a number two record with it. We thought it would be fun to present the version that Les Paul did in 1974 with Chet Atkins. The two brilliant musicians really tare this one up in such a smooth classy way.

# 1 – Love Sneakin’ Up on You

We close out our top 10 Les Paul songs list with the song entitled ” Love Sneaking Up On You. This is the last single that Les Paul ever released. It was recorded for the album Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played. The album was released in 2005. The song features Les Paul playing his heart out with Sting and Joss Stone sharing the lead vocals. This record was released sixty years after Les Paul’s debut recording in the 1945. Now that’s a long career.

 

Top 10 Les Paul Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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