Peggy Lee (singer)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peggy Lee, 1950

Peggy Lee (born May 26, 1920 in Jamestown , North Dakota , as Norma Delores Egstrom , † January 21, 2002 in Bel Air , Los Angeles ) was an American singer and songwriter in the fields of popular music and jazz and actress.

life and work

As a teenager, Peggy Lee listened to the Count Basie Orchestra on the radio and then self-taught singing. In Fargo , where she lived with her family, she sang on the radio station WDAY when she was fourteen; In 1937 she went to Los Angeles for the first time , but returned to Fargo after one gig. In 1939 she appeared in the Will Osborne Orchestra and with regional bands in Minneapolis and St. Louis. In 1941 she sang in the Hotel Ambassador West in the vocal group The Four of Us . Benny Goodman heard Lee during their guest performance in the Buttery Room in Chicago and took them on in his band, with which they made their first recordings in August 1941 ( Elmer's Tune ).

In 1942 Lee had her first number one hit with Somebody Else Is Taking My Place . In 1943 she appeared with Goodman's band in the films Stage Door Canteen and The Powers Girl and sang Why Don't You Do Right? , which made them famous with more than a million copies sold. After her wedding to Dave Barbour (who was also her partner as a songwriter from 1943 to 1951) she left the Goodman band. In 1944 she made her first solo record for Capitol . Their daughter Nicki was born and Lee paused until she and Barbour (and with the help of Johnny Mercer ) brought out the hit I Don't Know Enough About You in 1946 , followed by It's a Good Day in 1947 .

In 1952, Peggy Lee switched to the Decca label , where she recorded the song Lover with Marty Paich and was successful in 1953 with her album Black Coffee ; she also appeared in a new version of the revue The Jazz Singer . In 1954 she wrote the cover story for Nicholas Ray -Western Johnny Guitar - When Women Hate ; She also wrote some songs for the Disney film Lady and the Tramp (1955) and in the 1990s successfully sued the Disney Group for payment of additional license fees for the use of these songs on media as yet unknown in 1955. As a songwriter, Lee a. a. with Dave Barbour , Sonny Burke , Cy Coleman , Dave Grusin , Johnny Mandel , Marian McPartland , John Pisano and Milt Raskin .

Label of the single Fever by Peggy Lee, German pressing, 1958

In addition to her musical successes, including the world hits Golden Earrings (1947), Mañana (Is Soon Enough for Me) (1948) or Fever (1958), she starred in several films: For her role in It Happened in One Night , she was in 1956 nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress. In 1957 she returned to Capitol and played the album The Man I Love with Nelson Riddle . Two years later, the album Beauty and the Beat was created! together with George Shearing .

In 1961 she recorded a blues album , Blues Cross Country, with the Quincy Jones Orchestra . In 1969 she made the transition from big band music, which had since been decried as "Parent's Music" in the USA, to jazz-influenced pop with songs by George Harrison ( Something ) and Randy Newman ( Love Story ) on the album Is That All There Is? .

In 1972 her last Capitol album, Norma Delores Egstrom from Jamestown, North Dakota came out. In 1974 she played the album Let's Love for Atlantic , for which Paul McCartney wrote the title song. Her last album, recorded in 1988, was released in 1993 with songs by Harold Arlen .

In 2012 , the Midland Continental Depot Transport Museum opened in Wimbledon , North Dakota. Lee had worked and lived in the renovated premises of the former train depot from 1934 to 1937. On the upper floor of the museum, the singer's clothes, records and other memorabilia are displayed.


Peggy Lee was married four times: from 1943 to 1951 with the guitarist of the Benny Goodman band Dave Barbour , from January 1953 to September 1953 with the actor Brad Dexter , from 1956 to 1958 with the actor Dewey Martin and from 1964 to 1965 with the Actor Jack Del Rio . All four marriages were divorced. She had a daughter, Nicki Lee Foster, from her marriage to Dave Barbour.


Lee has been nominated a total of twelve times for a Grammy Award . In 1969 she received the award for best female pop vocal performance for her hit Is That All There Is? . In 1995 she was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for her life's work . Lee also received the Rough Rider Award from the State of North Dakota, the Pied Piper Award from ASCAP , the Presidents Award from the Songwriters Guild of America , the Ella Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Society of Singers, and the Living Legacy Award from the Women's International Center . In 1999, Peggy Lee was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame .

Discographic notes

  • The Complete Recordings 1941–1947 (Sony, ed. 1999)
  • Black Coffee (Decca, Verve Records , 1953)
  • Black Coffee (1956)
  • Dream Street (Decca, 1957)
  • Beauty and the Beat! (Capitol, 1959)
  • Christmas Carrousel (Capitol, 1960)
  • Then Was Them, Now Is Now (Capitol, 1965)
  • Is That All There Is? (Capitol, 1969)
  • Where Did They Go (Capitol, 1973)
  • Mirrors (1975)
  • Close Enough for Love (1979)
  • Peggy Lee Sings the Blues (1988)
  • Lee Songbook There'll Be Another Spring (1990)
  • Love Held Lightly Rare Songs By Harold Arlen (1993)
  • 2 Moments Like This (1993)
  • Rendezvous With Peggy Lee (2000)
  • Complete Capitol Small Group Transcriptions (2001)
  • The Singles Collection (2002)
  • Ultimate Peggy Lee (2020)



  • Ken Bloom: The American Songbook - The Singers, the Songwriters, and the Songs - 100 Years of American Popular Music - The Stories of the Creators and Performers. Black Dog & Leventhal, New York City 2005, ISBN 1-57912-448-8 .
  • James Gavin: Is That All There Is? - The Strange Life of Peggy Lee . Atria Books, 2014. ISBN 978-1-4516-4168-4

Web links

Commons : Peggy Lee  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence