Vocalist of the Past: Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee one of the best female jazz vocalist for
Peggy Lee one of the best female jazz vocalists sang for six decades singing from the 1940’s to the 1990’s and is best known for her signature song Fever which surprisingly only reached No.8 on the record charts while some of her lesser known hits would sell more records than Fever.

Norma Deloris Egstrom was born in Jamestown, North Dakota on May 26, 1920.  She would later be known better as Peggy Lee.

She had a very unhappy childhood after her mother died when she was four and her stepmother was very mean to her. Music was her way out of the situation and she sang at an early age.

Whenever I hear the name of Peggy Lee mentioned I instantly think of her best known song Fever. Nobody else could sing that song the way she did.

She personifies what 40’s music was all about before the rock and roll age would start in the next decade.

Some of her hit songs from the 40’s are still being recorded today by other artists.

Just a few of the songs she sang in the 40’s still heard today:

Blues in the Night

The Way You Look Tonight

I Don’t Know Enough About You ( also recorded by Diana Krall in her Love Scenes album in 1997)

Her number one songs include:

1941: Someone Else Is Taking My Place

1947: Manana

1969: Is That All There Is? (originally recorded by Leslie Uggams in 1968) but was No.1 for Peggy Lee in 1969.

Her recording of Manana was the most popular song of 1948.

Is That All There Is was a song that was a story in song with each verse devoted to a different life situation. The last verse is depressing when it mentions suicide as an option but still it is a great song sang by a great artist and is worth listening to.

Peggy had so many great music videos it is not easy to choose which ones to post. These are some more of my favorites:

Peggy singing Why Don’t You Do Right when she sang with the Benny Goodman Orchestra.

Fever was her signature recording and nobody could sing it like Peggy.

This is Peggy singing The Folks Who Lived On The Hill in 1981 forty years after making her singing debut but she still could sing with the same passion she had in the early 1940’s.

Peggy Lee was a special singer that could follow a rousing number like Why Don’t You Do Right with a classic like The Folks Who Lived On The Hill.

Peggy Lee died in Los Angeles at the age of 81 in 2002. She may be gone but she has left a legacy of music that will be enjoyed for years to come.

The following website has more biographical information about Peggy and on the left is a list of options for music, videos,etc. The songs that are not short clips are labeled full tracks.

Someone could spend hours at this website listening to her music and watching her videos.



Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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