Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Luscious Peggy Lee

I was reading today that Miss Lee's popularity has had a resurgence what with a CD compilation - "Come Rain or Come Shine" selling like the proverbial hotcakes at Starbucks - but guess what folks, Peggy has always been and will be forever cool.

That sultry voice, slipping over your skin like an ice cube on a sweltering summer day - what can be better than that? Witness her signature tunes "Fever", "Why Don't You Do Right?" and my fave "I Don't Know Enough about You". Peggy penned that one.

A wonderfully mysterious, glamorous and enigmatic entertainer - she was not only a singer but an actress - Oscar nominated for "Pete Kelly's Blues" and composer and lyricist.  She is equally convincing declaring a woman's multitasking skills "I'm a Woman" as she is with her world weary lament "Is That All There Is"?

Pretty good for a gal born Norma Deloris Egstrom in Jamestown, North Dakota....who got her start being heard on local radio in Fargo and later rose to fame after being discovered by Benny Goodman or rather his fiance at the time at Chicago's Buttery. Goodman, fortunately for Peggy,  was looking for a replacement for his girl singer Helen Forrest - although his intense concentration on her singing unnerved her a little at her "audition". I think he knew a jewel when he saw it, that's all.

As a child you were likely soothed by her voice in the Disney classic "Lady and the Tramp" and her composing skills were on display in "Johnny Guitar", "Anatomy of a Murder" and "With a Song in My Heart" to name a few. Among her many honours were a Lifetime Grammy award after countless nominations - how about 3 top ten hits in as many decades - "Somebody is Taking Your Place" and "Manana" - (which she wrote and was Capitol's biggest singer songwriter chart topper until four lads from Liverpool came along) she proved a solid producer for her label Capitol Records. Peggy had a brief stay at Decca in the 50's which produced one of her signature albums "Black Coffee" - I consider Peggy to do the definitive version of that tune.

In the age of sometimes disposable icons - it's refreshing that people discover this sophisticated lady anew.  I'll leave it to a fellow crooner to sum up her talents:

"Her wonderful talent should be studied by all vocalists; her regal presence is pure elegance and charm"  - Frank Sinatra

Visit http://www.peggylee.com/ for more insight and info on this divine femme.
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