Friday, August 14, 2009

Vaya Con Dios, Les

Les Paul died yesterday at 94. As a kid I loved hearing his songs with his wife Mary Ford, Les' exquisite guitar, and their incredible harmonies. I was a big fan of hits like "Mockin' Bird Hill", "Tennessee Waltz", "Lady of Spain" and "Hummingbird".

But my favorite had to be "Vaya Con Dios" (Go with God). The story goes that in the Spring of 1953, Capitol Records had just cut a half-million singles of "I'm A Fool To Care", when Les called demanding "Stop the presses! I've got a killer song I want to release instead!"

Luckily, Capitol owned the rights to the song "But it's a dog", they warned. "It was a dog" answered Les, "I've changed the lyrics". Instead of "May God be with you, my darling", which didn't sound right to him, Les had changed it to Spanish "Vaya con Dios". The people would figure it out in time, he assured, or "put it in fine print and let the disc jockey tell them."

It would in time become a #1 hit, and Les was absolutely right, "we did figure it out." Sometimes, things do sound better in Spanish. Cesar Chavez was fond of saying "English is the langauge we do business with, Spanish is the language of poetry." (Something like that)


#167 Dad said...

I talked to about Les Paul this week. Told them if they enjoy any kind of guitar music, Les Paul had an influence on it.

Love the term "vaya con Dios".

Rick Rivers said...

Me too. Yes, your students should know.