Lover

Album: Very Best of Les Paul (1948)
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Songfacts®:

  • Les Paul was not only one of the best guitarists of his generation, but also a gifted engineer. In 1947, after experimenting in his garage studio, Paul came up with a futuristic version of this Rogers and Hart song for eight electric guitars, all played by himself. Some of them were recorded at half-speed, hence "double-fast" when played back at normal speed for the master. He talked Capitol Records into releasing this disc the following year. The record is now recognized as a landmark in music history- the very first multitrack recording.
  • Paul recalled in an interview printed in Mojo magazine November 2009 how he conceived and developed the disc: "I built my first studio in the garage in my backyard and put the word out that I would record anybody - for free (laughs) I wanted to learn all the tricks of recording. So I locked myself out there in that garage and said, 'I'm going to make a sound where people will be able to tell me from everybody else. Something new, something fresh.' I used slap-back echo and reverb, I sped up tracks - all the things I had at my command. I went in with that idea, and lo and behold, when I found it, I was very excited. The first record I did with the multi-tracking was 'Lover.' We were at a garage party near Sunset and Fairfax. I was there with Artie Shaw and the actor Laurence Tierney. They were smoking pot, and they had a record changer there, and I slipped my record in amongst theirs. When mine came up, Artie said, 'What in the world is that?!' The others flipped out, and Mary said, 'That's Les!' But oddly enough, the very first person to hear it was W.C. Fields. He came to my garage to make a comedy record. When I played it for him, he said 'My boy, you sound like an octopus.' [laughs]"
  • The original version of this Rogers and Hart popular song was sung by Jeanette MacDonald in the 1932 movie, Love Me Tonight. Interestingly she does not sing it in a romantic context, but comically as tries to control an unruly horse that she is riding. Many of the great singers have recorded versions of this standard, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Louis Armstrong.

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