Smoky, sensual, sultry, confident, commanding...there has never been a voice quite like that of Peggy Lee. A triple threat singer/songwriter/actress, Lee had a remarkable career in music spanning over fifty years. She scored her first chart-topper in 1942 and her final recordings were released in 1995, seven years before her death in 2002. She was an Academy Award-nominated actress (Pete Kelly's Blues), a 13-time Grammy nominee (and two-time recipient), and a talented songwriter whose collaborators included the esteemed likes of Harold Arlen, Cy Coleman, Duke Ellington, and Lalo Schifrin. Lee was also a fierce advocate of artists' rights, winning a highly-publicized lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company over home video exploitation of Lady and the Tramp, the 1955 film for which she supplied songs (including the immortal "He's a Tramp" and romantic "Bella Notte," both co-written with Sonny Burke) and the voice of - who else? - Peg. This week, The Peggy Lee Estate announced Peggy Lee 100, a centennial campaign honoring the late, great songstress and her influence across the spectrum of popular music.
Inaugurating Peggy Lee 100 is a new collection from UMe. Ultimate Peggy Lee is set for release on April 17 (digital) and June 19 (CD and 2-LP vinyl) with 22 indelible performances including classic hits, five of her own compositions, and one previously unissued track, "Try a Little Tenderness," from 1963. Whittling down Lee's discography to one CD or 2 vinyl LPs is no easy task; she wrote over 200 songs and recorded more than 1,100. But the selection here is a fine cross-section of the songs that made Peggy Lee a one-of-a-kind superstar.
Drawing on her original Decca and Capitol recordings, the anthology boasts such timeless favorites as "Fever" (reinvented by Lee from Little Willie John's original), the alluring "Big Spender," "Black Coffee," "Why Don't You Do Right," "The Folks Who Live on the Hill," and two powerful anthems from Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller: "I'm a Woman" and "Is That All There Is?," the latter with a Randy Newman arrangement. Peggy's own songs here include "It's a Good Day," "I Love Being Here with You," and "He's a Tramp."
Celebrating an artist who never goes out of style, Ultimate Peggy Lee arrives from UMe on April 17 in digital configurations and June 19 in 1-CD and 2-LP formats. The uDiscoverMusic store will also be carrying a special clear-vinyl edition. Look for all formats at the links below!
Peggy Lee, Ultimate Peggy Lee (UMe, 2019) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada Link TBD / uDiscoverMusic.com)
- I Love Being Here With You
- Things Are Swingin'
- I Don't Know Enough About You
- I'm A Woman
- Just In Time
- Hallelujah, I Love Him So
- Sweet Happy Life
- Alright, Okay, You Win
- Too Close For Comfort
- Why Don't You Do Right (Get Me Some Money Too)
- It's A Good Day
- You Deserve
- Big Spender
- He's A Tramp
- I Wanna Be Around
- Black Coffee
- I've Got The World On A String
- The Folks Who Live On The Hill
- Is That All There Is?
- Try A Little Tenderness*
(*) previously unreleased
Robert Lett says
I just started the James Gavin “Is That All There Is” bio I found used, it’s pretty interesting. I wish the record companies would do “complete” boxes on Peggy Lee’s Capitol and Decca stuff. Not unlike the big complete sets Sinatra got years ago (on all three of his labels!) Way overdue. Or maybe Bear Family could get on it, but they aren’t terribly active these days. I’ll keep hoping anyway.
Dirk Rozendale says
The Nat King Cole 100th paled in comparison to the Ella 100th, Nat and Peggy get a one CD/2LP comp to celebrate. I don’t think most of Peggy’s material has not been remastered since 1998, is that pre-hires audio remastering? Don’t know about remasters or when new technology arrives. Guess it’s better than nothing. Track listing includes both Capitol and Decca material.
Sorry, this is pretty lame. For me it is not the Ultimate collection when they leave off tracks like Pass Me By and her own composition, So What's New.
When a title for anything is "Ultimate" you just know it isn't!
Dirk Rozendale says
No Whee Baby? What is up. So many songs. Are the tracks even recently remastered or just from the 1998 transfers/remasters?
Probably cut from the 2020 digital remaster. Why bother putting it out on vinyl at all? If somebody knows differently, please speak up.