On April 9, Omnivore Recordings will release Something Wonderful, indeed: a 2-CD, 40-track collection of rare and long-unheard performances from the one and only Peggy Lee. This release brings together a host of rarities from CBS Radio’s 1951-1952 Peggy Lee Show, all expertly restored and remastered by Michael Graves.
Something Wonderful: Peggy Lee Sings the Great American Songbook features Lee’s long-lost renditions of classic American standards written by a “Who’s Who” of great songwriters, among them Johnny Mercer, Richard Rodgers with Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II, Cole Porter, Matt Dennis, Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser, and Lee herself. Working with collaborators including Dave Barbour and Alice Larson (both represented here) as well as Sonny Burke, Cy Coleman, Quincy Jones, Victor Young, and Johnny Mandel, Lee’s voice as a songwriter was every bit as distinctive as her voice as a singer. The great composers and lyricists whom she feted on radio even dropped by to offer their imprimatur; Mercer, Dennis, Carmichael, and Loesser all appear here on duets. Notably, many of these songs were never recorded by Lee for commercial records, making this collection even more essential.
Make no mistake, these renowned 40+ songs (some tracks are medleys) comprise the cornerstones of the Great American Songbook: “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “That Old Black Magic” (Mercer and Harold Arlen), “My Funny Valentine,” “The Lady Is a Tramp” (Rodgers and Hart), “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Just One of Those Things” (Porter), “Skylark” (Carmichael and Mercer), “On a Slow Boat to China” (Loesser), and the collection’s title track, “Something Wonderful” (Rodgers and Hammerstein). From her own songbook, “It’s a Good Day,” “Mañana,” “I Don’t Know Enough About You,” and “Whee, Baby” are all included. On these intimate interpretations, Lee was supported by the musical direction of Russ Case and Sonny Burke.
Something Wonderful: Peggy Lee Sings the Great American Songbook has been produced by Jim Pierson and Omnivore’s Cheryl Pawelski. The Second Disc’s own Joe Marchese has penned the liner notes in the 16-page booklet designed by Greg Allen which also boasts rare photographs of the artist. This 2-CD set was originally offered in limited quantities as a pledge premium during Public Television airings last year of the documentary Fever: The Music of Peggy Lee.
This release is the latest project to honor Lee’s extraordinary legacy. 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of her birth and the milestone was celebrated with the updated documentary, the DVD release of Things Are Swingin’: Her Greatest Songs, a Grammy Museum panel, and Capitol Records’ Ultimate Peggy Lee and Ultimate Christmas collections. Earlier this year, her landmark Decca album Black Coffee was reissued and MGM announced the upcoming biopic Fever to be directed by Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven) with Michelle Williams portraying Lee.
Look for Something Wonderful on April 9 from Omnivore in both CD and digital formats. You’ll find pre-order links and the complete track listing below, and don’t forget to watch the trailer at this link!
- Peggy Lee Introduction
- Johnny Mercer Introduction
- Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive – with Johnny Mercer
- Goody, Goody
- Come Rain or Come Shine
- That Old Black Magic
- (Ah, The Apple Trees) When the World Was Young
- Johnny Mercer Introduction
- Jeepers Creepers/Too Marvelous for Words/Mandy Is Two/Blues in the Night – with Johnny Mercer
Rodgers and Hart and Hammerstein
- My Funny Valentine
- The Lady Is a Tramp
- I Could Write a Book
- This Can’t Be Love
- Something Wonderful
- Mountain Greenery
- From This Moment On
- I’ve Got You Under My Skin
- What Is This Thing Called Love?
- Just One of Those Things
- Everything Happens to Me
- We Belong Together/Angel Eyes/Let’s Get Away from It All
- It’s a Good Day
- I Don’t Know Enough About You
- Whee Baby
- Georgia on My Mind/I Get Along Without You Very Well/Old Rockin’ Chair/Little Old Lady/Small Fry/Two Sleepy People – with Hoagy Carmichael
- Hoop Dee Doo
- Frank Loesser Introduction
- Jingle, Jangle, Jingle/If I Were a Bell/On a Slow Boat to China/A Bushel and a Peck/Baby, It’s Cold Outside – with Frank Loesser
More Songbook Classics
- Somebody Loves Me
- Oh, Look at Me Now
- Lullaby of Broadway
- Alone Together
- When You’re Smiling
- Try a Little Tenderness
- All of Me
All tracks previously unreleased except CD 1, Track 21 and CD 2, Track 5 from At Last: The Lost Radio Recordings, Real Gone Music RGM-0341, 2015