The Peggy Lee Bio-Discography And Videography:
Research And Inquiry Into The 1957 Singles With Nelson Riddle
by Iván Santiago-Mercado

Generated on Feb 5, 2016


I. Contents And Scope


This supplementary page focuses on Peggy Lee's three singles sessions for the year of 1957. The discussion assumes that the reader has consulted the 1957-1959 page of the sessionography, in which the main specifics about these April and August 1957 dates can be found.

Some readers might wonder why I have abstained from incorporating the ensuing discussion to the main, aforementioned session page. The topics to be discussed remain too shrouded in mystery to allow for little more than vague, potentially confusing speculation. In addition to the heavily speculative nature of the topics, I have also taken into consideration the inordinate length at which I have discussed them. By placing lengthy and speculative discourse in miscellaneous pages such as this one, I am hoping to make the main session pages easier to scroll down, and thus more amenable to browsing.


II. Peggy Lee's 1957 Studio Work


During 1957, Peggy Lee did nine sessions for Capitol Records. The three earliest dates were spent in the creation of one album's repertoire (The Man I Love). Similarly, the last three sessions were reserved for the creation of another album's song program (Jump For Joy).

Meanwhile, the middle sessions were reserved for the making of singles that clearly aimed at the contemporaneous radio market. Presumably made at the instigation of Capitol executives, such singles evince a musical slant toward rock 'n' roll and doo-wop, both popular genres at the time.

In addition to the nine sessions described above, Capitol's inventory of masters also lists a song from what would seem to be a tenth 1957 date by Peggy Lee. Entitled "I'm Following You," the song was recorded on June 14, 1957. However, a look at the Capitol Label Discography by Michel Ruppli et al reveals that this master (#16596) is from a session (#6082) credited to The Four Dolls. Hence the credit to Peggy Lee appears to be an error; she is not known to have been involved in the creation of this master.


III. Nelson Riddle's Involvement


Besides Peggy Lee herself, the other chief creative force behind her 1957 sessions was Nelson Riddle. He arranged each and every one of the titles that Lee recorded that year.

In addition to doing the arrangements, Riddle also conducted over half of the sessions, and attended all but one of the dates. The date which Riddle did not attend (April 22) was actually dedicated to remaking numbers from the previous session (April 13), at which he had been present and involved. The official paperwork gives nominal leadership of the April 22 session to guitarist Jack Marshall, who had also participated in the previous date, though only as its guitarist.

The reasons for Riddle's absence from the remake session remain unknown. His presence might have been deemed unnecessary, and/or he might have had engagements that prevented him from attending. I am left to wonder, however, if Riddle's non-attendance hints at a stylistic disagreement between Lee, Riddle and/or other concerned parties. My suspicions are arisen by the different stylistic approach that was applied to the songs re-recorded at the second of the sessions. Rather than the full orchestra of the original April 13 date, the April 22 date features a small and more congenial combo, doing scaled-down versions of Riddle's original arrangements. In those remakes, the previous and overt leanings toward rock 'n' roll and doo-wop are far less pronounced.


IV. A Closer Look Into The 1957 Singles Sessions

The following is an itemization of the songs that were recorded (and re-recorded) at Peggy Lee's 1957 singles sessions:

April 13, 1957
1. Uninvited Dream
2. Baby, Baby, Wait For Me
3. Every Night (Issued on 45-rpm single F 3722.)

April 22, 1957
1. Uninvited Dream (Second performance of this song.)
2. Baby, Baby, Wait For Me (Second performance of this song; issued on 45-rpm single F 3722.)
3. Every Night (Second performance of this song.)

August 30, 1957
1. Uninvited Dream (Third performance of this song. Issued on 45-rpm single F 3811, according to Capitol's files.)
2. Listen To The Rocking Bird (Issued on 45-rpm single F 2811.)
3. It Keeps You Young (Debuted as a track in the 1960 LP All Aglow Again!, which compiled then-recent singles and some previously unissued numbers.)
4. You Don't Know (First performance of this song; left unissued. A second performance was recorded in 1958 and issued on 45-rpm single F 3998, whose flip side is "Fever.")

Notice that the first two sessions happened just a week and a half apart from one another, whereas the last one took place about six months later. The first session was conducted by Nelson Riddle. The second did not involve Riddle nor his orchestra, but Lee with her small combo, and guitarist Jack Marshall as nominal leader.

Notice also that "Uninvited Dream," already attempted at the two earlier sessions, was given yet a third try on the August 30 date. Riddle and the full orchestra returned for that last date.


V. The Case Of The "Uninvited Dream"


As previously noted, the song "Uninvited Dream" was recorded in all three of Peggy Lee's 1957 singles sessions. Two of those versions have been released so far, one on the original 45-rpm single and the other in the CD set The Singles Collection. Stylistically, the musical backing of the two issued versions is vastly different. Whereas the original single contains a ballad treatment of "Uninvited Dream," the master take found in The Singles Collection is in doo-wop style.

I strongly suspect that there is an error in Capitol's paperwork. The version of "Uninvited Dream" heard on the 45-rpm single strikes me as far likelier to be the one dated April 22, 1957, rather than the master identified in the paperwork (August 30, 1957). I have arrived at this hypothesis after trying to match the personnel listed for the August 30 version with the instrumentation heard in the 45-rpm single. To my ears, the single doesn't match that full-orchestra instrumentation, but it does match the small combo backing that is listed for the April 22 master.

More specifically, the backing for the ballad version (the version on the 45-rpm single) consists of a small combo, such as the one listed in the April 22 'non-Riddle' session. Conversely, the backing of the doo-wop version sounds like a larger ensemble -- an ensemble such as the ones that are listed in the personnel for the April 13 and August 30 sessions with Riddle. Yet Capitol's documentation shows that the ballad comes from one of the sessions with large ensemble, and that the doo-wop treatment is from the date with a small combo.

In short, I believe that the dating and personnel of masters #16841 and #16861 should be switched. (Notice also how similar those two master numbers are. Such a similarity raises additional suspicions about the possibility of typos or human error in Capitol's paperwork.)

I should stress that the switch that I am proposing has no factual support, but is instead based entirely on a personal assessment which could ultimately turn out to be misguided. For that reason, I have not taken action on this matter; my reaction is circumscribed to the redaction of the present discussion. In the sessionography, I have entered the information about "Uninvited Dream" exactly as it is given in the official paperwork from Capitol.


VI. The "Baby, Baby, Wait For Me" Case


The discographical difficulties posed by these 1957 singles sessions are manifold. Though arguably less significant that in the aforementioned case ("Uninvited Dream"), discrepancies also surround the other two songs that were remade at the April 22 session.

The version of "Baby, Baby, Wait For Me" on Capitol single F 3722 is identified in the official paperwork and on the label of the itself as master #16682. That master was recorded during the April 22 remake session, which featured neither Riddle nor an orchestra. And yet, Nelson Riddle's Orchestra is the credited accompaniment in the 45-rpm single.


VII. The "Every Night" Case


In the case of "Every Night," questions arise about the hitherto unreleased master that I have listed as recorded during the April 22 date. Its very existence is in doubt: it is not listed Peggy Lee session file.

It is listed, however, in Capitol's inventory of tapes. (I have not consulted that document myself, but I have been reliably informed about its contents.) Inclusion in such an inventory makes this master's existence highly likely. Nevertheless, so far a vault search has come up empty.


VIII. Final Comments


Notice also that the two versions of "Every Night" bear somewhat similar master numbers: 16840 and 16860. Such a similarity extends to the other numbers that were also re-recorded a week later. When details about each of these songs' master versions were entered in Capitol's paperwork, their nearly identical digits could have led to human error.

In short, the tapes that contain the 1957 singles sessions need to be aurally inspected, and ditto for the data written in the tape boxes. The tapes should be listened to with the purpose of verifying that the released masters are truly the ones that Capitol's official files identified as such.

For additional details about all those masters and sessions that generated them, consult the sessionography's 1957-1959 page, under the relevant dates.