Friday, June 20, 2003

50 years ago: Les Paul & Mary Ford “Vaya Con Dios” hit #1 for 1st of 11 weeks


Vaya Con Dios (May God Be with You)

Les Paul & Mary Ford

Writer(s): Larry Russell, Inez James, Buddy Pepper (see lyrics here)

First Charted: June 20, 1953

Peak: 111 US, 15 HP, 15 CB, 7 UK, 14 (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.6 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Vaya Con Dios” was given the parenthetical title “May God Be with You,” but the phrase translates literally to “Go with God.” It is considered a phrase meaning “farewell” or “Godspeed.” The song was a collaborative effort between Larry Russell, Inez James, and Buddy Pepper. James was also known for composing songs for film such as When Johnny Comes Marching Home and Pillow Talk. Pepper also worked on the latter and was known as the piano accompanist and arranger for Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Margaret Whiting and others.

The Western Writers of America chose this as one of the top 100 Western songs of all time. WK “Vay Con Dios” has been recorded over 500 times. WK Anita O’Day was the first to record it in December 1952. The most popular version was recorded by Les Paul and Mary Ford in May 1953. WK Theirs topped Billboard magazine’s Best Sellers, Disc Jockey Hits, and Jukebox Hits charts. It was also a #1 on Your Hit Parade and Cashbox.

The two were a popular husband-and-wife duo who recorded for Capitol Records in the 1950s. They had several top-10 hits including “Mockin’ Bird Hill” and the chart-topping “How High the Moon.” Les Paul also recorded on his own and is known as a pioneer in electric guitar and studio recording techniques including multi-tracking and overdubbing.

Other chart versions followed by the Drifters (1964, #43 US, #10 RB), Tony Orlando & Dawn (1972, #95 US), Millican & Nesbitt (1973, #20 UK), and Freddy Fender (1976, #59 US). It has also been recorded by Chet Atkins, Gene Autry, Jeff Beck, Chuck Berry, Pat Boone, Nat “King” Cole, Bing Crosby, the Fontane Sisters, Connie Francis, Julio Iglesias, the Lennon Sisters, Julie London, the McGuire Sisters, Anne Murray, Jim Reeves, Hank Snow, Mel Tormé, Jerry Vale, Slim Whitman, and Roger Whittaker among others. WK

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First posted 9/8/2021.

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