Mary Kaye

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For Mary Kay Cosmetics, see Mary Kay Ash.

Mary Kaye (January 9, 1924 – February 17, 2007) [1], sometimes called the "First Lady of Rock and Roll", was a guitarist and performer who was active in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.[1][2] Mary Kaye (born Malia Ka'aihue) descended from Hawaiian royalty in the line of Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii's last reigning monarch, and was born into a show business family. She is credited, along with Louis Prima, as being a founder of the Las Vegas "lounge" phenomenon: an all-night party atmosphere where stars and common folk rubbed elbows in a freewheeling environment. Mary Kaye died in a Las Vegas hospital of pulmonary disease on February 17, 2007.

The Guitar[edit]

Mary was photographed with her combo, the Mary Kaye Trio, in a 1956 Fender promotional advertisement featuring a new Stratocaster electric guitar. This ash blonde guitar with maple neck and gold hardware later became popularly known as "The Mary Kaye Strat." Only a few were produced in 1956, but the color has been re-introduced to the Fender line after the strong international demand for the Mary Kaye color scheme. A limited Custom Shop series Mary Kaye Tribute Strat was issued in 2005. In 2007 a 57 Reissue Mary Kaye Strat was released for the 50th anniversary of the Stratocaster. The Custom Shop release can be seen in the 2005 Fender Frontline Catalog along with her personal history as interviewed by Fender.[3]


  1. ^ "The Mary Kaye Trio". Retrieved 7 August 2013.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  2. ^ Nelson, Valerie. "Obituary of Mary Kaye". LA Times. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  3. ^ The MK Strat Story on the Fender homepage

External links[edit]