BRIAN 10.7.6 -- Mac OS

The Peggy Lee Bio-Discography:
Frequently Asked Questions

by Iván Santiago

Page generated on Sep 17, 2021

1. CD Recommendations?

Query: "I became interested in Peggy Lee's singing fairly recently. I would like to pick up some good CDs by her. Which ones would you recommend?"

To a greater or lesser degree, the CDs pictured below meet the following criteria: general approval from fans, fine-to-excellent sound quality, and positive reviews from worthwhile professional critics. I have divided them into two sections, each organized in descending chronologically order. Compilations are on display in the first section, original albums in the second section. Naturally, the spotlighted original albums contain primarily studio material, but concert material is in the mix as well. Basic details about each of these CDs can be found right under the pictures.

1. Ultimate Peggy Lee (Universal, 2020; Capitol & Decca tracks)
2. Come Rain Or Come Shine (Starbucks' Hear Music, 2010; mostly Capitol tracks)
3. The Singles Collection (EMI, 2002) (extensive, deluxe 4CD anthology of singles from Capitol, Decca, and other labels; sound quality is variable from track to track, oscillating between satisfactory and middling)
4. The Very Best of Peggy Lee (EMI, 2000; Capitol & Decca tracks) (encompassing, stylistically rich anthology; not to be confused with lesser releases that use the same picture but which do not bear the exact same title)
5. The Best Of Peggy Lee; The Capitol Years, Blues & Jazz Sessions Series (Capitol Jazz, 1997) (per the title, these are Capitol tracks in a bluesy-jazzy vein)
6. A Woman Alone With The Blues (Blue Moon, 1997; Decca tracks; very satisfactory sound quality)
7. Black Coffee And Other Delights (MCA, 1994; Decca tracks; 2CD set; covers a vast territory from that label, and is complemented by another 2CD set, Universal's Classics & Collectibles, released in 2003)
8. Collectors Series; The Early Years (Capitol, 1990) (circumscribed to 1940s Capitol hits; excellent sound quality)

1. Two Shows Nightly (Collectors' Choice, 2009) (edited live concert; includes numerous bonus tracks, all of them studio masters, some fairly rare)
2. Black Coffee With Peggy Lee (Verve, 2004) (Lee's most praised original album; this CD sound quality is just okay)
3. Beauty And The Beat! (Capitol Jazz, 2003) (sonically preferable to earlier CD editions)
4. Peggy At Basin Street (Collectors' Choice, 2002) (full live concert; due to the conditions in which the concert was originally recorded, the sound quality is flawed in a few spots, but still fairly clear overall, and thus acceptable)
5. Latin Ala Lee! (S&P, 2003) (superior sound quality; stay away from CD editions on other labels, such as the notoriously subpar Hallmark)
6. Sugar 'n' Spice (Capitol Jazz, 2001) (fans' opinions of the quality of the mastering vary widely; to my ears, it is good)
7. Mink Jazz (Capitol Jazz, 1998)
8. Things Are Swingin' (Capitol Jazz, 1998) (a favorite among connoisseurs)

The above-shown CDs are suitable for listeners who are beginning to get immersed in the world of Peggy Lee, or who just want to sample it. (Such is especially the case with the compilations. As for the original albums, each differs substantially from the others in its musical approach. Before purchase, a samping of three or four tracks from the given album is advised.) There are certainly other CDs that could also be recommended -- some of them twofers or anthologies, others from the later years of Lee's career -- but which would be better appreciated by a listener with a fuller understanding of Peggy Lee's overall musical output.

2. Audiophile LPs?

Query: "Sound quality is very important to me; you may call me an audiophile. I've purchased quite a few of the high-fidelity LPs that have been gracing the music market, and which oftentimes sport fantastic sonics. However, I buy those pricey items only when the company releasing the record is a reputable one (i.e., a company that, after having paid a fee to the masters' owners, is granted temporary access to those masters, or to legitimate transfers of them). Has any Peggy Lee vinyl been released by such audiophile companies?"

Yes. About fifteen Peggy Lee albums have received audiophile vinyl treatment. Of those, the following ones were issued by legitimate labels. Listed chronologically, in descending order, here they are:

1. Ultimate Christmas (Universal, 2020)
2. Ultimate Peggy Lee (Universal, 2020)
3. Black Coffee With Peggy Lee (Acoustic Sounds, 2020)
4. Is That All There Is? (Universal; "Capitol's 75th Anniversary" Series, 2017)
5. If You Go (De Agostini, 2014)
6. The Man I Love (Pure Pleasure, 2012)
7. I Like Men! (Pure Pleasure, 2009)
8. Black Coffee With Peggy Lee (Speakers Corner, 2008)
9. Is That All There Is? (Pure Pleasure, 2006)
10. Bewitching-Lee! (S & P, 2003)
11. Latin Ala Lee! (S & P, 2003)

Clarification. Item #2 is actually a compilation, featuring tracks originally on two different labels (Capitol, Decca). Item #9 is also a compilation, though one that was originally released by Capitol itself, back in the LP era (1962), and was then reissued in the CD era. It compiles Lee hits from the 1940s. All other items listed above are original albums. Item #4 might actually use the same mastering as item #9. I should also clarify that, in the particular case of item #5, what I have supplied is not a full picture of the LP's front cover. Instead, I am representing the item as pictured and promote in page from the magazine of which this album is an adjunct.

A word on the releasing labels, too. Universal is, of course, the current owner of Peggy Lee's Capitol and Decca masters. The other labels listed above licensed their albums' tracks from Universal. Acoustic Sounds, Pure Pleasure, S & P, and Speakers Corner are specialized labels with top-notch reputation among audiophiles. While S&P is now defunct, the other three labels were still active as of my latest update of this paragraph. (Acoustic Sounds actually released the above-listed item in conjunction with Universal and it's Verve branch. Slated for 2020, the item bears that year but was delayed, ending up released on January 29, 2021.) Similarly enjoying a generally good reputation for the quality of its vinyl pressings, De Agostini is an Italian publishing house which released the album in question (#8) as an adjunct to a pathwork publication (a magazine called Jazz 33 Giri).

In more recent years, as the vinyl market has gone on an uprise, Eurasia has experienced a surge of record companies which specialize on the release of so-called audiophile vinyl. The degree to which the sound quality of such releases qualifies as audiophile varies wildly, not just from one label to another but also within each label. It's important to realize that these companies do not have access to the original masters. Many of their LP releases are suspected to be merely transfers of old CDs onto vinyl. To my knowledge, five Peggy Lee LPs have been issued by such Public Domain companies. Images of their respective covers are pictured below.

12. All Aglow Again - The Hits Of Peggy Lee (Wax Time, 2021)
13. Fever (Wagram, 2020)
14. Fever (Not Now Music, 2018)
15. Black Coffee And Fever (Dol, 2017)
16. Beauty And The Beat! (Vinyl Passion, 2016)
17. If You Go (WaxTime, 2014)
18. At Her Best (Vinyl Passion, 2013)

Since they are Public Domain items, the last seven LP releases are not recommended. I should also mention, in passing, that the Scottish label Linn Records used to sell a LP edition of the album Black Coffee. It was part of the so-called Linn Selekt series, which appears to date from around 1991. I have not auditioned copies, but have seen photos: the item in question was actually the 1983 reissue of the LP on the British label Jasmine Records. Apparently, Linn was just selling either remainder copies from Jasmine or, more likely, newly pressed copies of the Jasmine LP. There is no indication one new mastering, and the Linn copies are identical to the original Jasmine issues, down to even the prominent showing of the word "Jasmine" on the front cover. The only noticeable difference is merely aa sticker, identifying the LP as part of the Linn Selekt series.

3. Peggy Lee's Original LPs?

Query: "I am visiting this site because I want to take a look at Peggy Lee's original albums, and because I want to know which songs were in them. How can I access that information?"

For the quickest access to the information that interests you, try this page of the official Peggy Lee website.

If, after visiting that page, you are still looking for more minute information about the given album(s), you can either email me with any questions at

or you can take a look at the three pages that this discography dedicates to pictures of Peggy Lee's original LPs (as well as their reissues). One page concentrates on Capitol albums, another on Decca albums, and the remaining one on albums from the later years of Lee's career. (Track listings, personnel information and other details can be found in additional pages, such as the index of LPs, EPs, and 78 albums.)

4. New Peggy Lee Releases?

Query: "What are the newest CD/DVD Peggy Lee releases on the market?"

The official Peggy Lee website features a page specifically built for this topic. Here is the page in question; it lists any Lee releases that are new as long as they are legitimate (i.e., official or properly licensed, not Public Domain).

As for any new Peggy Lee releases not shown in that page, proceed with caution before ordering them. Even the best-known commercial sites, such as Amazon, offer a vast selection of poorly-sounding, shoddily put-together releases (some CDs, some digital downloads). Made by certain low-cut Public Domain outfits that are out for a buck, such releases evince indifference for both the artist's legacy and the listener's discerning ear. (Note that this is not an indictment on every Public Domain companies. On the contrary, I can attest to the fact that some PD labels, such as Fantastic Voyage or Blue Moon, aim at releasing rare music in fine sound. It is just that such companies constitute are not the norm, unfortunately.)

5. Too Much Info, Too Little Time?

Query: "There is so much information here that I'm left overwhelmed and not knowing where to search for the particular bit in which I am interested. What should I do? Help!"

Not a big problem. In addition to emailing me with questions (at ), you have the option of using this website's Search engine. The engine is located near the top of the homepage. Your computer's browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Nestcape, Safari, etc.) should also have a "Find/Seach" feature; if you enter a keyword in it, that feature will take you to any appearance of the keyword (anywhere within the discographical page that you are viewing at the time).

Bear also in mind that this work calls itself a bio-discography because it aims at providing not only discographical specifics but also extensive detail about subjects surrounding Peggy Lee's life in music. Viewers in search of a more succinct presentation are encouraged to consult the official Peggy Lee website, of which the present bio-discography is a proud companion.

6. Slow Pages?

Query: "My internet connection is slow. Some discographical pages (such as the ones for which you offered links above) are so filled with pictures that the given page takes forever to download. I don't have the patience! Help."

Understandable. I'm in the process of rectifying this matter. For starters, I have reduced the size and footprint of the majority of the pictures shown in the present discography. The picture pages should take less time to download. Other steps will be taken in the future, as time permits.

7. Completion Of The Discography?

Query: "Is this discography finished?"

No. It's still being built. I have finished entering the 1,103 masters that Peggy Lee made, mostly for various music companies. As for the hundreds of additional numbers that she sang on radio, television, and onstage, I am still in the process of listing them on separate pages, specifically dedicated to such material. Several other projects have kept me busy as well -- most notably, my now-fulfilled goal of featuring at least one photo or image in every single Peggy Lee studio session. (If curious about the project in question, click on this link to one of the finished pages: Atlantic. You will see imagery throughout.)

There are still more "across-the-board" tasks to accomplish. One of them will be a careful re-reading of the written text. (Hitherto, my time has been consumed by data entry, often at the expense of any extensive proof-reading. Hence the current reader should be prepared to come across a fair share of misspellings, errors stemming from my computer's Auto-Correct feature, and sentences in need of rewriting.) A second prospective task will involve a re-modeling of the entire site, in an effort to modernize it, and make it accessible to mobile devices. (In its current, outdated state, this discographical site is stylistically modeled after print books, rather than online text.)

8. Discussion Of Peggy's Life And Career?

Query: "I'd like to share my enthusiasm for Peggy Lee's artistry, and to be able to talk about her with other fans. Where should I go, in the internet?"

The best site for enthusiastic and substantial discussion of the singer is the bulletin board of the official Peggy Lee website. For more casual expressions of enthusiasm (such as "she's great!" or "she gives me Fever!"), you also have the option of posting in Peggy Lee's official Facebook page.

9. Peggy Lee's Broadway Show?

Query: "How about Peggy Lee's Broadway show Peg? Any information about it here?"

Yes. This discography dedicates one full, extensive page to the show.

Also, in the second half of this page, you will find many specifics about the show, including a listing of the songs that Lee performed in it.

10. Fever?

Query: "I'm searching for details about the song Fever, which was a big hit for Peggy Lee. Do you have any specifics to share?"

I have dedicated quite a bit of space and commentary to this iconic number, which Peggy Lee recorded on May 19, 1958. If interested in that particular studio session, you can read details about it in this chronologically arranged page. (Scroll down until you reach the date May 19, 1958.) Even more extensive information about the recording and the song itself can be found in this Fever write-up.

11. Is That All There Is?

Query: "I'm looking for specifics about the number Is That All There Is?, which Peggy Lee popularized. Any insights on the Lee recording or the song itself?"

I have reserved quite a bit of space and commentary for that song, recorded by Peggy Lee on January 24 & 29, 1969. You will find a fair amount of data about the studio session(s) and the song here. (Scroll down that chronologically arranged page until you reach the session dated January 24 & 29, 1969.) More to the point, this page offers a full write-up about the song in question.

12. Other Topics Of Interest

Query: Below are a few additional topics that have elicited repeated questions addressed to me. I am providing links to the discographical pages on which each of those topics receive discussion.

A. Bing Crosby (Peggy Lee's work with): radio (photos of CDs & LPs featuring this the duo's work on the radio); radio (chronicle of each radio broadcast); studio (photos of album releases).

B. Concert on film, featuring an "older Peggy"(aka The Quintessential Peggy Lee): section III.

C. Man I Love (album with Frank Sinatra): April 1957 sessions, near the top of the page.

D. Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The (Amazon streaming series): scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page.

E. Miss Piggy (muppet or marionette): scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page.

F. Music videos in black & white (aka Snader Telescriptions): sessions and photos; extensive information about the enterprise.

G. "Similau" (song featured on Samsung phone commercial): February 8, 1949 session, located not too far from the top of the page.

13. The Centennial

Query: "I just heard that the year 2020 marks Peggy Lee's centennial. Are there any tributes, celebrations or releases planned during this year?

Yes, quite a few tributes and celebrations were planned. Unfortunately, many of the scheduled in-person events had to be postponed due to our planet's 2020 pandemic. Once they come back into schedule, information about them will be gradually showing up at Lee's official website.

The same link should provide specifics about new releases, which did remain on schedule during the pandemic period. Note that Ultimate Peggy Lee (the issue pictured at the top of this page) is a centennial compilation, devised with a view to turn it into her standard, official one-single disc for decades to come. (It is also the first out of several music releases being considered for the 2020-2021 period.

13. The Movie

Query: "I keep hearing talk about a biopic of Peggy Lee, but nothing ever shows up. What's up with that?

A biographical movie about Peggy Lee has indeed been in its development and preproduction stages since around 2010. In its earliest phase, Nora Ephron was writing the script and was considering to direct. Her untimely passing away in 2012 closed that phase of the project. In what we may call now the middle phase, Reese Witherspoon was planning to star, and was taking care of setting up production matters. Film company acquisitions or mergers (in particular) and scheduling conflicts (to a lesser extent) resulted in years of postponement.

Fever (current working title) is finally scheduled to start filming in early 2022. The starring role of Peggy Lee will be played by Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn, Fosse/Verdon). As of this writing (August 2021), other casting roles have yet to be announced. So far, the production team consists of not only Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon but also Academy Award nominee Marc Platt (La La Land, Rent Live!, Cruella) and the co-owners of the indie production company Killer Films (The Notorious Bette Paige, Infamous, Hedwig And The Angy Inch, Boys Don't Cry, Still Alice, Carol, Far From Heaven), Pamela Koffler and Christine Vachon. Grammy Award winner Billie Eilish has also been in talks to become involved in a production capacity. The director now tied to the project for well over five years is Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine, I'm Not There, Mildred Pierce, Far From Heaven). Also completed and awaiting its enactment for several years, the script was created by Pulitzer Prize winner playwright Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Quills, Grey Gardens).

Photos below. First row: with plenty of sunshine in her background, Peggy Lee applauds while her casting choice, Michelle Williams, looks on smilingly, amidst a tropical setting. Williams and Lee again, the latter around 1959, the former not just as herself but also as she looked for her Gwen Verdon and Marilyn Monroe roles. Third row: Pamela Koffler (left) and Christine Vachon, Matt Platt and Reese Witherspoon, Todd Haynes, Doug Wright. Last row: Billie Eilish, Peggy Lee (1970), and the avowed Lee fan who has been responsible for setting up and keeping the movie Fever alive, Reese Witherspoon.