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Cover Songs

How High The Moon By Les Paul & Mary Ford & Notable Covers

Photograph of the blog post author, Chioma Eguzoraku

Chioma Eguzoraku


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how high the moon

“How High the Moon” is a classic jazz standard originally recorded by the husband-and-wife duo Les Paul and Mary Ford in 1951. The song’s intricate guitar work and layered vocals made it a groundbreaking hit, and it has since become a beloved classic in the American songbook.

How High The Moon Lyrics

Somewhere there’s music

How faint the tune!

Somewhere there’s heaven

How high the moon!

There is no moon above

When love is far away too

Till it comes true

That you love me as I love you

Somewhere there’s music

It’s where you are

Somewhere there’s heaven

How near, how far!

The darkest night would shine

If you would come to me soon

Until you will, how still my heart

How high the moon!

How high the moon!

It’s where you are

Somewhere there’s heaven

How near, how far!

The darkest night would shine

If you would come to me soon

Until you will, how still my heart

How high the moon

How High The Moon By June & Gordon

How High The Moon Cover Information

Upon beginning the recording process, they initially agreed on this song. Surprisingly, it proved to be the most difficult as they aimed to honour Les Paul and Mary Ford without imitating them or other notable renditions of this well-known track, such as Emmy Lou Harris’ version. Thus, the shift towards a jazz composition starts with the cymbal intro, followed by June’s acapella and the bass. The inclusion of vibes is likely the most surprising component. A special thanks are given to Lorenzo Martinez for his exceptional vibes!

The song evolved spontaneously as they progressed toward an uncertain destination. Their process involved recording, reviewing, adjusting, and reassessing until they achieved the desired outcome. Gordon and June said they had numerous phone calls and emails discussing this track. Initially, they anticipated it to be the simplest song to create; however, it proved to be the most challenging – their troublesome offspring!

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How High The Moon is part of an album that presents seven classic American songs, highlighting the lasting musical collaboration and camaraderie between singer/visual artist June Bisantz and guitarist/singer Gordon Morrell. Drawing inspiration from their 1970s playlist, the pair delivers a revitalizing reinterpretation of their distinct Jazz/Americana fusion – an impressive combination of bistro, New Orleans jazz, folk, and traditional country – enhanced by their signature close vocal harmonies.

June Bisantz

Singer and visual artist June Bisantz has collaborated on and produced numerous original jazz albums, receiving nationwide recognition. Throughout her global tours, she has performed and recorded with distinguished jazz artists. As a retired Art & Design Professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, Bisantz exhibits her artwork in galleries, museums, and public spaces across the U.S. Additionally, she designs promotional materials and album covers for both her own projects and other musicians.

Gordon Morrell

Gordon Morrell has skillfully multitasked for decades, beginning with his PhD in Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the 1970s. Despite numerous career shifts, music has always been a core part of his life. His musical adventure began at age five with piano and Hammond organ lessons, eventually incorporating ukulele and guitar.

In the dynamic 70s, he transitioned from electric to acoustic guitar, acquiring a Martin and eventually an Ovation guitar that he continues to play. Morrell’s unique vocal abilities and exceptional harmonizing distinguish him as a remarkable leader and collaborator. His easygoing demeanour, authentic approach, and natural rapport with fans render him an enjoyable and captivating entertainer.

Les Paul How High The Moon

Release date: March 5th, 1951

Record Label: Capitol Records

Genre: Jazz

Studio: Recorded in Les Paul’s Home Studio 

Written by: Morgan Lewis & Nancy Hamilton

Les Paul was a pioneering musician and inventor who left an indelible mark on the world of music. He is perhaps best known for his innovative guitar designs, but he was also an accomplished performer and songwriter. One of his most famous compositions is the jazz standard “How High the Moon,” which he recorded with his wife Mary Ford in 1951.

Mary Ford was an American singer and guitarist who rose to fame in the 1950s as one half of the musical duo Les Paul and Mary Ford. Born on July 7, 1924, in El Monte, California, Ford began her music career as a country singer before meeting Les Paul in 1946. The two quickly formed a musical partnership and began performing together.

Ford’s unique singing style was characterized by her ability to effortlessly shift between different octaves and her use of vocal layering to create a rich, textured sound. Her voice was often compared to that of a musical instrument, and she was known for her ability to harmonize with Paul’s guitar playing.

Of course, Paul’s guitar work is only half the story of “How High the Moon.” The song is also notable for its catchy melody and clever lyrics, which were written by Nancy Hamilton and set to music by Morgan Lewis. The lyrics describe a couple’s romantic reverie under the moonlight, and they capture the joy and wonder of falling in love.

In addition to “How High the Moon,” Les Paul and Mary Ford released a number of other hit songs throughout the 1950s, including “Vaya Con Dios,” “The World Is Waiting for Sunrise,” and “Mockin’ Bird Hill.” They also hosted their own television show, “The Les Paul and Mary Ford Show,” which aired from 1953 to 1960.

Other Notable Covers

Johnny Tillotson – in 1965

Ella Fitzgerald – in 1953

Chris Montez – in 1966


Who Wrote How High The Moon?

“How High the Moon” was written by Morgan Lewis (music) and Nancy Hamilton (lyrics). It was first featured in the 1940 Broadway revue “Two for the Show” and has since become a jazz standard, recorded by numerous artists.

Who Sang How High The Moon First?

Alfred Drake

Morgan Lewis’ “How High the Moon” (1940), featuring Nancy Hamilton’s lyrics, debuted on February 8, 1940. Performed by Alfred Drake and Frances Comstock in the musical revue “Two For the Show,” it played at the Booth Theater for a total of 124 shows.

Why Did Les Paul & Mary Ford Break Up?

In July 1958, Paul and Ford departed from Capitol Records and joined Columbia Records, but this change did not revive their dwindling career. Ford’s struggle with alcoholism intensified during this period. They made an appearance on NBC’s Five Star Jubilee in 1961 before ultimately divorcing in December 1964.

Closing Thoughts On How High The Moon

In conclusion, Les Paul’s “How High the Moon” is a timeless masterpiece that showcases his innovative techniques and musical genius. Its influence on jazz and popular music cannot be overstated, and it continues to inspire generations of musicians to this day.

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