Peggy Lee's Bio-Discography:
The Capitol Years, Part III (1948-1952)

by Iván Santiago-Mercado

Page generated on Sep 16, 2017


PRELIMINARY NOTES




The Peggy Lee Look

Images above: a photographic showcase of Peggy Lee during the years that are covered in this page.  All four pictures are publicity shots, with the following dates attached to them: March 1948 (first), October 1949 (second), 1950 (third), and 1951 (fourth). Although publicity photographs oftentimes bear deceptive dating (i.e., the handwritten or stamped digits do not refer to the day in which the shot was actually taken), these four dates strike me as either accurate or close to the mark; I have cross-checked them against other photographic material and pertinent information. Photos from 1952 are not included here because they have been reserved for the next sessionographical page, which covers well over half of that year.

Images below:  Additional photographs, all three of them probably taken in 1948.  Corroboration exists for the image placed in the middle, and also for the image at the end.   The first one lacks specific corroboration. I have arrived at an early 1948 date partially by a process of elimination:  in pictures taken within the two preceding and two succeeding years, Peggy Lee looks slimmer.  A fuller Lee can be seen, on the other hand, in a photo from an appearance at Ciro's which Life magazine published on March 29, 1948.  (She probably opened at Ciro's in February. The run might have continued into March.) In both that photo and this one, the Peggy Lee in sight wears essentially the same hairdo and has a rounder figure.  (Contributing to the impression of roundness are camera angles and attire choices -- a heavy-set coat here, a full-length gown there.) One reason why I am dwelling on this candid's date another source implies it to be from 1951.  To be more specific, one of Lee's biographers features it with the following caption: "[s]uccess had not brought much happiness to Lee, who in 1951 was bloated, drinking, and facing divorce."  Not so, in my estimation. All the 1951 photos that appear in this page (and those which I have seen elsewhere) spotlight Lee with hairdos and body weight that bear no relation to this photograph.  If anything, she looks remarkably slim in photos from that year.  Hence, far from capturing the artist at an allegedly trying period of her lifetime, this shot comes from a time when the Barbours were jointly experiencing a pinnacle of career success, thanks to their then-current million seller "Mañana." (Please note that there is margin for error on my part as well.  If personal appraisals are to be left aside, the absence of factual evidence prevents us from discarding the possibility that this candid could be from a year other than 1948.)

Peggy Lee's Recording Career, 1948-1952

This period of Peggy Lee's artistic career is notable for her heightened involvement in both radio and television. Lee's radio appearances were especially frequent in 1948, when she was a semi-regular in two weekly shows and an occasional guest in many others. The artist's workload became notoriously heavier after she divorced and moved to New York (1951), where she hosted her own radio program, periodically held recording sessions under the musical direction of Sid Feller, and joined the regular cast of various TV shows -- a daily one included. For specifics about many of those television and radio appearances, consult this discography's section for Media Performances, once it opens for viewing.

From 1949 to 1952, Lee also continued working for Capitol Records at a steady pace. There were some changes, however, in the personnel that accompanied her. In 1951, Lee and Barbour separated, and from then onwards he no longer directed her sessions (aside from one or two sessions held much later, at Decca Records). Billy May and Pete Rugolo were among the men who conducted for Lee during the post-divorce aftermath. Lee also severed ties with Carlos Gastel, who had been managing the couple, and who had been good friends with Barbour during most of the 1940s. For additional details about Lee and about Capitol during these years, including a tabulation of this page's 74 masters, see note at the bottom of this page. (Looking for CD recommendations? Throughout this page, my use of bold uppercase signals a recommended item. As for the blue arrowheads periodically found through the page, click on them if you want to see a longer list of albums containing any given Peggy Lee performance.)


Suggestions, Recommendations And Technicalities

Viewers looking for CD recommendations should pay attention to items whose titles are typed in uppercase and boldface. For instance, my choice of font and case for the following title is meant to indicate its desirability over other comparable options: THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS. (In addition, you may want to consult this page, section I). My recommendations are based on sound quality and/or rarity of the tracks included.  Note also that, under each song, the listing of releases has been arranged chronologically, by year of release. As for the blue arrowheads that are periodically found through the page, click on them if you want to see a full list of issues -- LPs, CDs, etc. -- containing any given Peggy Lee performance. (I have aimed at listing every single issue in existence, with the following exceptions:  various-artists compilations, foreign editions of domestic issues, and MP3 files. The first two categories are covered separately, within the miscellaneous section of this bio-discography. As for the MP3 category, I have chosen to make very limited mention of such a format in my work; I consider it a non-physical configuration of inherently poor sound quality and ephemeral issue production.)





1948


Date: December 14, 1948
Location: Los Angeles
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1104-B

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Unknown (acc), Peggy Lee, Dean Martin (v)

a. 3566-2Master Take (Capitol) Someone Like You - 2:07(Ralph Blane, Harry Warren) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13164 — {Someone Like You / Hold Me} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1245 - P 1246 — Basic Music Library [3 Peggy Lee, 1 Dinah Shore, 1 Doris Day, 1 The Satisfiers vocals]   (1949)
b. 3587-4Master Take (Capitol) You Was - 2:46(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Paul Francis Webster) / arr: Sonny Burke
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13058 — {You Was / Powder Your Face With Sunshine (Dean Martin solo)} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1233 - P 1234 — Basic Music Library [Duets Featuring Peggy Lee, Margaret Whiting, Doris Day, Jo Stafford]   (1949)
CAPITOL©EMI's Music For Pleasure LP(United Kingdom) Mfp 1432 & (Netherlands) Mfp 5198 — [Dean Martin] Nat, Dean, And Friends    (1968)
Both titles on: CAPITOL 7815349 — {You Was / Someone Like You}   (1949)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)


The 1948 Recording Ban: Peggy Lee's Stance

Almost a year had elapsed between this record session and Peggy Lee's previous one, held on December 26, 1947. The reason for the lapse was a recording ban that the American Federation Of Musicians had imposed on its members. Vocalists were not part of AFM's membership, and were thus free to continue working for record companies. Out of solidarity with the musicians, Peggy Lee abstained from any recording activity, however. Once the ban was officially over, she immediately came back to the studio.


Sessions And Masters

1. Pre-Recorded Band Tracks
2. A Shared Session
3. The Starlighters
During the eleven and a half months that the musicians' ban remained in effect, many Capitol sessions used pre-recorded band tracks. This practice carried over to sessions that were held immediately after the ban was lifted, such as this one.

Session #1104 actually consists of various dates that Capitol grouped together because they feature pre-recorded backing by the same instrumental band. Here are some further details found in The Capitol Label Discography, compiled by Michel Ruppli, Bill Daniels and Ed Novitsky (with assistance from Michael Cuscuna):

Session #1104
[No date given.]
Band tracks by unidentified orchestra.

Session #1104-A
LA, November 26, 1948
The Starlighters, overdubbed on band tracks from session #1104.
master #3564 - I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
master #3565 - More Beer!

Session #1104-B
LA, December 14,1948
Peggy Lee, overdubbed on band track from session #1104.
master #3566 - Someone Like You
Peggy Lee & Dean Martin, overdubbed on band track from session #1104.
master #3587 - You Was


Arrangements

The arrangements for this session's two performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores, which is my source for
the above-entered credits to Heinie Beau and Sonny Burke.


Personnel

1. Dean Martin
"You Was" is a vocal duet featuring Peggy Lee and Dean Martin. The male act does not participate in the session's other Lee master, "Someone Like You."


Songs

1. Jukebox Airplay
Although neither reached the national charts, both numbers from this session are known to have received regional airplay. For the week ending April 2, 1949, Cash Box's Juke Box Regional Record Report indicates that "You Was" ranks #8 in Detroit, Michigan, while "Someone Like You" is placing at #6 in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Photos

From 1949 magazines issues, promotional material for this session's Peggy Lee masters and the resulting Capitol single.




Date: December 29, 1948
Location: Los Angeles
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1123

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Peggy Lee and Her Dixieland Band (acc), Unknown (t, tb, b, p, d), Dave Barbour (g), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 3824-2Master Take (Capitol) Please, Love Me Tonight - 2:55(Herman L. [aka Watt] Watkins, Ruth Oma [aka Roma] Wilkinson) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 4557 608 & 54 608 — {(Ghost) Riders In The Sky / Please Love Me Tonight}   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1315 - P 1316 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1949)
Dutton Vocalion Licensed CD(United Kingdom) Cdus 3008 — Rendezvous With Peggy Lee   (2000)
Proper Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 45 P 1277 1280 — The Peggy Lee Story   (2002)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Proper Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Box 108 — Miss Wonderful    (2006)
b. 3825-3Master Take (Capitol) If You Could See Me Now - 3:10(Tadd Dameron, Carl Sigman)
CAPITOL 7815371 — {Blum Blum (I Wonder Who I Am) / If You Could See Me Now}   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1245 - P 1246 — Basic Music Library [3 Peggy Lee, 1 Dinah Shore, 1 Doris Day, 1 The Satisfiers vocals]   (1949)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 82680 2 7 — The Best Of The Singles Collection    (2003)
Megaphon (Mpo Entertainment) Public Domain CD(France) Mpo 96216 — Peggy Lee ("Les Plus Grandes Voix Du Jazz: Classic American Music" Boxed Set)   
c. 3826-3Master Take (Capitol) Blum Blum (I Wonder Who I Am) - 2:31(Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 7815371 — {Blum Blum (I Wonder Who I Am) / If You Could See Me Now}   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1245 - P 1246 — Basic Music Library [3 Peggy Lee, 1 Dinah Shore, 1 Doris Day, 1 The Satisfiers vocals]   (1949)
CAPITOL CD72435 27564 2 1 — RARE GEMS AND HIDDEN TREASURES [aka Capitol's Collectors Series, Vol. 2]   (2000)


Personnel

1. Musicians From Woody Herman's Band?
"Peggy Lee And Her Dixieland Band" is the name that this session's personnel receives in Capitol's session files. Other sources offer different appellations. In Capitol 78-rpm single #15371, "Dave Barbour And His Pixieland Band" is credited as the accompaniment on one side ("Blum Blum," which is a novelty tune with an absurdist bent). "Dave Barbour And His Orchestra" is the credit found on the other side ("If You Could See Me Now," which at the time was a relatively new jazz standard-to-be).

Aside from David Barbour, the identities of the so-called dixie or pixieland musicians remains unclear. Various secondary sources state that they are actually members of Woody Herman's Second Herd, aka The Four Brothers band. (Such secondary sources may be quoting in turn from Downbeat and Metronome reviews of Capitol #15371. I have not been able to track down the reviews.)

The participation of the Woody Herman band in this Peggy Lee session is indeed quite possible. From December 1948 to July 1949, Herman and his Second Herd (Al Cohn, Stan Getz, Lou Levy, Shorty Rogers, Zoot Sims, etc.) were recording for Capitol. In fact, their very first own Capitol date as a band took place the day after this session, a detail which opens the road to speculate about the band's possible coming into the studio over consecutive days. More tellingly, Barbour, Herman, and Lee also shared the same manager, Carlos Gastel. Still further, Woody Herman, Dave Barbour, and Peggy Lee had previously worked together for an extended period of time. During the summer of 1947, Herman and Lee had co-hosted a radio series whose musical backing was provided by Barbour and, presumably, by members of Herman's band. (For yet one additional point of interest, see comments below about the songwriter of "Please, Love Me Tonight.")

As already mentioned, The Woody Herman Orchestra did its first Capitol studio date on December 30, 1948. According to the The Capitol Label Discography, the personnel for session #1124 was

Ernie Royal, Bernie Glow, Stan Fishelson, Red Rodney (tp)
Shorty Rogers (tp, arr, vo)
Earl Swope, Bill Harris, Ollie Wilson (tb)
Bob Swift (bass tb)
Woody Herman (cl, as, vo)
Sam Marowitz (as)
Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Stan Getz (ts)
Serge Chaloff (bs)
Terry Gibbs (vb, vo)
Lou Levy (p)
Chubby Jackson (b,vo)
Don Lamond (dm)


Songs

1. "Blum Blum" In The Music Charts
Peggy Lee's "Blum Blum" entered the Billboard charts during the week ending July 3, 1949 and peaked at #27. (This date and chart peak were found in Joel Whitburn's book Pop Memories, 1890-1954. Ditto for most other Billboard-based chart numbers mentioned in other sessions' notes below.) "Blum Blum" was Lee's 20th solo hit or, if the singer's work with The Benny Goodman Orchestra is taken into account, her 30th.

Of the compositions by the team of Barbour and Lee team which became Billboard hits, "Blum Blum" was the sixth and final one. (It was not, however, the last hit that Lee, sans Barbour, self-penned. For details about the next compositions of hers to enter the charts, see Decca session dated February 18, 1953.)

Cash Box does not provide evidence of a national charting hit, but it does provide evidence of radio airplay at the regional level. For the week ending April 2, 1949, the Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports show "Blum Blum" with a #4 rank at WJHP (Jacksonville, Fla.) and #9 at KOLN (Lincoln, Nebraska). Other issues provide additional entries at the regional level (for instance, the April 9 issue, where the Juke Box Regional Record Report includes a #9 ranking for "Blum Blum" in Galveston, Texas.)

3. "Please Love Me Tonight" In The Regional Music Charts
Although "Please Love Me Tonight" did not become a national hit, Peggy Lee's version of that number belatedly broke into at least one regional airplay chart. According to Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports, Lee's recording enjoyed the #6 position in San Francisco's KYA during the week ending November 26, 1949. Airplay and interest probably stemmed from the fact that it was the flip side of her major hit "Ghost) Riders In The Sky."


Songwriters

1. "Please, Love Me Tonight"
2. Watt Watkins
3. Woody Herman
The label of 78-rpm single #57-608 identifies a Watt Watkins as the songwriter who authored "Please, Love Me Tonight." For a long time, I counted with few biographical details about Mr. Watkins: just his year of birth (1908), his year of death (1983), and the list of song credited to him at BMI.

It should be no surprise, then, that I once questioned if "Herman Watkins" could be a pseudonym for Woody Herman. I considered such a possibility because the two men share the name "Herman," and because -- as previously mentioned -- Woody Herman might have been among the musicians who played during this session. The fact that one man's initials were W. H. and the other man's H. W. struck me as a bit suspicious, too.

Further adding to my suspicions was the uncertainty that surrounded Watkins' first name: not all sources referred to him as Herman. Some called him Watt, others Matt. Belatedly, I located yet a few more sources showing a fourth variant, H. L. Watkins. These last sources reinforced the claim that Watkins' first name was "Herman."

In September of 2010, I was fortunate to receive a message from Linda Shafer, who kindly corroborated the existence of Mr. Watkins. Linda described him as a family friend whom she recalled from her childhood days, in the 1960s. She remembered him as a gracious man and talented musician who lived in the San Francisco area with his wife Neysa, and who indeed went by the nickname of Watt. ("Matt" was most likely the result of a typo, or some other basic error.)

Naturally, Shafer's message led me to discard my theory about Woody Herman's penning of "Please, Love Me Tonight" under a pseudonym . I now realize that the details which arose my suspicion were merely coincidental or circumstantial.

4. Ruth Oma Wilkinson
5. Roma
At BMI's website, many of Herman L. Watkins' songs are co-credited to Ruth Oma MackIntosh Wilkinson. "Please, Love Me Tonight" is one of them. However (and as already mentioned above), sole songwriting credit is given to Watt Watkins in the label of the Capitol single (#57-608). Which source is erroneous?

The American single committed an error of omission. Credit is given to both "Roma" and Watkins in other sources. "Roma" apparently was a nickname used by Wilkinson -- a contraction of her full name, "Ruth Oma."

Among the sources that credit "Roma," a particularly compelling one is Capitol 78-rpm C 57-608, the Swedish counterpart of the American single. (My thanks to Adrian Daff for directing me to a photo of that Swedish item.) There is also the sheet music, which credits "Watt Watkins" for the lyrics and "Roma" for the music.

6. Tadd Dameron
In a December 1986 televised interview for KOLN/KGIN, Peggy Lee is asked if she remembers any songs that pianist-songwriter Tadd Dameron wrote for her. Not surprisingly, she does not remember any (he is not known to have ever done any songwriting specifically for Lee), but she does speak about him with admiration. "A name out of the past," Lee remarks, before pointing out that Dameron played for her. She enthusiastically calls him "marvelous" and "a wonderful composer."


Masters

1. Take Numbers
In the Capitol Label Discography, all three released masters from this date are identified as #2 takes. That identification conflicts with information that was communicated to me: in Capitol's inventories, "If You Could See Me Now" and "Blum Blum" are listed as #3 takes.


Arrangements

1. Source
The arrangements for this session's three performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The library is the source for the arranger credits indicated above. In the case of "If You Could See Me Now," the library arrangement does not have an author credit.


Photos

1. The Peggy Lee Look
Peggy Lee's 1949 looks are spotlighted in the five images below. The first two originally appeared in periodicals published in the second half of 1949. One such periodical used a related candid; the same svelte Lee is wearing this polkadot attire and these earrings. The caption under the candid identifies the location as Chicago and alludes to a concert tour. A two week stay in Chicago (June 24-July 7) was indeed part of Lee's summer tour schedule that year. The fourth of these images is from the same periodical that used the candid. The middle shot is undated but I am confidently dating it 1949. (I will not discard, however, the secondary possibility of a late 1948 date.) The fifth photograph comes from a November 1949 publication.






1949


Date: February 8, 1949
Location: Los Angeles
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1185

Dave Barbour (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Dave Barbour's Afro Cubans (acc), Henry J. "Heinie" Beau (cl, ts), Ray Linn (t), Dave Barbour, George Van Eps (g), Phil Stevens (b), Nick Fatool, Iván López, Jackie Mills, Tommy Romersa (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 3953-6Master Take (Capitol) Similau (See-me-lo) - 2:23(Harry Coleman, Arden Clar, Leopoldo González) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 7815416 — {Similau / While We're Young}   (1949)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13111 — {(Ghost) Riders In The Sky / Similau (See-me-lo)} [Different pairing than in USA singles]    (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1315 - P 1316 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1949)


Songs

1. "Similau" In The Music Charts And In Its Original Context
This exotic-sounding tune comes from the realm of Afro-Caribbean voodoo. In its native form, it is an invocation to the spirit Similó. Thanks in no small measure to Dave Barbour's percussion-heavy combo, the version recorded at the present session comes off as a suitably frenzied rendition of the religious chant. The calls to the spirit are primarily delivered by the Spanish-speaking musicians, who reinforce them with the common Spanish exclamation "ay." The invocation chant itself is of course uttered by the singer. Vocally, the number also boasts a brief but inspired, trance-like interlude from priestess Peg.

According to Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954, "Similau" entered the charts during the week ending April 23, 1949 and peaked at #17. It became Peggy Lee's 21st solo hit.

In Cash Box magazine's main chart (Disc-Hits Box Score), the song spent three weeks within the top 40, attaining a #27 peak (week ending July 9, 1949) and staying in the top 40 for 15 weeks. As customary with that chart's entries outside of its top 20, no performing artist is identified. In addition to the Dave Barbour-Peggy Lee rendition, at least four other competing recordings of "Similau" were commercially available at the time.

Evidence of airplay for the Barbour-Lee recording can be found among the Disc Jockey's Regional Records Reports of Cash Box magazine. In the April 9 issue, their version of "Similau" has a #6 position at WHAM (Rochester, NY). In the May 7, 1949 issue it ranks #10 in the list of most played tunes at WKXL (Concord, New Hampshire). No other version of "Similau" is listed in the countdowns of the other reporting stations. (I sampled only those two issues. Other issues might show additional regional entries.)


Personnel And Masters

1. Dave Barbour
Note that this is a Dave Barbour session, featuring Peggy Lee on only one of the three resulting masters.

2. Non-Lee Masters
Also recorded in this session were the following instrumentals:

#3938 - Ensenada
#3939 - Little Boy Bop, Go Blow Your Top

3. Background Vocals
The chanters that back 'priestess Peggy' in "Similau" are presumed to be the date's musicians.


Arrangements

1. Source
The arrangement for this session's performance is extant in Capitol's library of music scores. It is credited to Heinie Beau, as indicated above.


Date: March 11, 1949
Location: Los Angeles
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1223

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 4095-3Master Take (Capitol) Bali Ha'i - 3:08(Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 4557 543 & 54 547; also F 547 — {Bali Ha'i / There Is Nothin' Like A Dame [Dave Barbour instrumental]}   (1949)
CAPITOL 78-rpm album/EP/(10")LPCd 162 (57 596-599) / Cdf 163 (54 600-603) / H 163 — [Various Artists] Songs From Rodgers And Hammerstein's South Pacific   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1315 - P 1316 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1949)


Songs

1. "Bali Ha'i" In The Music Charts
Peggy Lee's 22nd hit for Capitol Records entered Billboard's charts during the week of May 14, 1949 and peaked at #13. Fierce competition came from RCA Victor's Perry Como (#5), Capitol's own Paul Weston (#10; an instrumental version), Decca's Bing Crosby (#12), and Columbia's Frank Sinatra (#18).

At The Cash Box, the song "Bali Ha'i" hit both of the main charts. It entered the magazine's Poll Of The Nation's Top 10 Juke Box Tunes on the week ending June 4, 1949, and remained in its #6 peak position for three weeks, beginning with the week ending July 23. The song's debut in Disc-Hits Box Score happened earlier (week ending May 14) but its peak position turned out to be the same, for one week (ending July 16).

The aforementioned Cash Box charts were song countdowns, not tabulations of individual recordings. In other words, the magazine does not specify which recordings of "Bali Hai" accounted for the song's popularity or ranking. There were quite a few -- from Bing Crosby's and Frank Sinatra's to Paul Weston's and Perry Como's. Evidence that Peggy Lee's recording was one of them comes from elsewhere in the magazine. ItsDisc Jockey's Regional Record Reports show that Peggy Lee's interpretation of this song was in the top ten of various radio stations (e.g., #6 in WHJP, Jacksonville, Florida. during the week ending May 14).

In more recent times, Peggy Lee's version of "Bali Ha'i" has managed to reign over those of her competitors, thanks to its memorable inclusion in the popular, Alan Ball-written 1999 movie American Beauty.


Masters

1. Non-Lee Masters
Also recorded during this session was "There Is Nothin' Like A Dame" (master #4096), which is an instrumental by Dave Barbour And His Orchestra.


Issues (Collectors' Corner And Cross-references)




1. Songs From Rodgers And Hammerstein's South Pacific

Tracks.
The songs found in this album are listed below, along with their interpreters. Peggy Lee interpreted two of them, and one ("Bali Ha'i") is part of the present session. For details about the other Peggy Lee performance included in this album ("I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair"), see session dated April 18, 1949.

(I'm In Love With) A Wonderful Guy - Margaret Whiting
Bali Ha'i - Peggy Lee
Younger Than Springtime - Gordon MacRae
Happy Talk / Honey Bun - Frank DeVol And His Orchestra
There Is Nothin' Like A Dame - Dave Barbour And His Orchestra
A Cock-eyed Optimist - Margaret Whiting
I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair - Peggy Lee
Some Enchanted Evening - Gordon MacRae

Configurations.
As made evident by the images seen above, the popular album under discussion has come out in various formats or configurations, including an official, licensed CD version (sixth image above). Besides compact disc, the other formats are:

(a) A 78-rpm album titled Songs From Rodgers And Hammerstein's South Pacific (catalogue number Cd-162; first and fourth images above). This album contains four 78-rpm discs. "Bali Ha'i" can be found in the disc numbered 57-597. (n.b.: Capitol's Peggy Lee session file erroneously lists the disc that contains "Bali Ha'i" as 54-597 (alb. Cdf-162). There are actually two errors in that file entry: the 4 should be a 7, and there should not be a F in the album's prefix. These mistakes do not appear in the other Capitol documents of which I am aware.)

(b) A 10" LP titled Songs From South Pacific (H-163). To my knowledge, no 12" LP version was ever issued. However, the 10" LP
configuration more than makes up for such an omission, due to its reissue history: at least three different 10" LP (re)issues were released (see second and third images above, plus first image below). My information on them is limited; I do not know if all three are American.

(c) A 45-rpm album titled Songs From Rodgers And Hammerstein's South Pacific (catalogue number Cdf-163; fifth image above). This album contains four 45-rpm discs. "Bali Ha'i" can be found in the disc numbered 54 601.

I should add here a side note about configurations (a) and (c). Sellers of used records oftentimes offer those discs individually, thereby giving the impression that they were singles. Not so: originally they were components of the albums, not sold separately.

In some online sites, I have also come across listings for a 4th original issue of "Bali Ha'i," with catalogue number Ebf-162. However, I have yet to find evidence of that issue's existence, and have thus abstained from entering it in this discography's database. (If it does exist,
Ebf-162 should be a 45-rpm album, just like item #2 above. Both Ebf-162 and Cdf-162 should include a total of eight tracks. The prefix Ebf indicates that the hypothetical album distributed its eight tracks on two 45-rpm discs. The prefix Cdf correctly points to the distribution of the eight tracks on four 45-rpm discs.)

Release Dates.
The songs found in the Capitol album Songs From Rodgers And Hammerstein's South Pacific were originally issued on singles that came out during the first quarter of 1949. The 78-rpm album was released in mid-1949. The release date of the earliest 10" LP is not unknown to me; the year 1950 is the likeliest candidate. Also unknown to me is the release date of 45-rpm album Cdf-163, although I am inclined to think that it took place between 1952 (when the earliest EPs made their appearance in the market) and 1954. (I have come across an online auction in which the 45-rpm album is dated 1954, but I do not know the seller's source for or reasoning behind this dating.)




Foreign Versions Of Note.
in Australia, EMI produced a so-called Encore LP Series that incorporated the album under discussion. The title of that Encore Series LP is Rodgers And Hammerstein's South Pacific And The King And I (EMI Enc 9042; see second photo above). Its release year is unknown to me. The front cover prominently features three names: Gordon McRae, Peggy Lee, and Margaret Whiting.

2. "Bali Ha'i" [45]
Capitol's own documentation lists two releases of "Bali Ha'i" on 45-rpm single: #54-547 and #F547. This is actually the earliest Peggy Lee single to be listed with the F prefix, which Capitol started using in 1949, as a special designation for 45-rpm releases only. I do not know, however, if the prefix was ever printed in any physical copies of Capitol single #547; so far, all inspected copies of the single have identified themselves as 54-547, without prefix. See, for instance, the last picture above. (Also listed in the files with and without the prefix are a couple of Lee's ensuing 45-rpm singles. In any case, this apparent duplication, at least on paper, was a temporary situation. By early 1950, the numerical prefix "54" had been discontinued on the physical items -- and on the consulted company files as well. The earliest Lee single on whose physical label I have seen the letter prefix is F 791, "The Old Master Painter / Bless You," released near the end of this year. From then onwards, all her 45-rpm singles carry the letter.)


Arrangements

1. Source
The arrangement for this session's performance of "Bali Ha'i" is extant in Capitol's library of music scores. As I have indicated above, the library credits it to Heinie Beau.


Date: April 18, 1949
Location: Los Angeles
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1265

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Dave Barbour All-Stars (acc), Peggy Lee (v), The Jud Conlon Singers (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 4193-3Master Take (Capitol) I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair - 3:08(Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78-rpm album/EP/(10")LPCd 162 (57 596-599) / Cdf 163 (54 600-603) / H 163 — [Various Artists] Songs From Rodgers And Hammerstein's South Pacific   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1321 - P 1322 — Basic Music Library [6 songs from the album South Pacific, 2 of them Peggy Lee vocals]   (1949)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13571 — {Bali Ha'i / I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
b. 4215-5Master Take (Capitol) (Ghost) Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend) - 2:41(Stan Jones) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 4557 608 & 54 608 — {(Ghost) Riders In The Sky / Please Love Me Tonight}   (1949)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13111 — {(Ghost) Riders In The Sky / Similau (See-me-lo)} [Different pairing than in USA singles]    (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1315 - P 1316 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1949)
Both titles on: CAPITOL CS/CDC4 5/Cdp 7 93195 — THE EARLY YEARS (CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES, VOLUME 1)   (1990)
CAPITOL©EMI Special Markets CDGsc 15453/7243 4 96336 2 9 — Peggy Lee ("36 All-Time Greatest Hits" Series)   (1999)
Asv/Living Era Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Aja 266 — It's A Good Day; 50 Original Mono Recordings, 1941-1951   (2002)


Songs

1. "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" In The Music Charts
Sung by Gene Autry in the 1949 movie Riders In The Sky, this highly popular pseudo-western tune might have initially seemed an unlikely choice for a female vocalist to sing. Most record labels indeed assigned the number to male singers: according to Joel Whitburn's estimates, Vaughn Monroe gave a huge #1 bestseller to RCA Victor, Decca's Bing Crosby took it to #14, and Columbia's Burl Ives to #21. At Capitol, Peggy Lee's feminine approach propelled the tune all the way to #2. She turns "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" into less of a happy cowboy novelty and more of a melancholic ghost story. (Fittingly, the original inspiration for this song's lyrics were legends that came, like Lee's own ancestors, from Scandinavia.)

Cash Box's two main charts corroborate that this song was a major hit: it reached #1 on both of them. In Disc Hits Box Score, the debut of "(Ghosts) Riders In The Sky" took place on the week ending April 30. Its eight consecutive weeks at the top began on the week ending June 4. It did not fall from the top ten until the week ending September 17; its last week on the countdown was the week ending October 15.

In the magazine's Poll Of The Nation's Top 10 Juke Box Tunes, "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" scored a high debut (#4) during the week ending May 28. It reached the peak position in two weeks (June 11) and stayed there for eight weeks. It finally dropped from this ten-slot countdown during the week ending September 10, thereby logging a 16-week total.

Unlike the aforementioned Billboard charts, these Cash Box countdowns tabulated songs, not individual recordings. The magazine does tell us which versions of the song were available, but does not identify which ones had become popular. Fortunately, Cash Box also provided regional charts on a weekly basis, and those allow us to assess which versions of any given song were receiving airplay. As expected, the 1949 regional charts point to Vaughn Monroe's version as the top one. They show that Peggy Lee's version was being played quite often, too. From week to week, Peggy Lee's recording is listed in the top ten of several states' radio stations.


Personnel

1. The Jud Conlon Singers
This group sings background vocals for "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" only.


Issues And Cross-references

1. South Pacific [Album]
For this album's full track listing and for details about the configurations in which it was originally issued, see notes under session dated March 11, 1949. Discussion of each configuration's release date is also provided there. (The above-listed 1949 release date applies to the 78-rpm album only.)

2. "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair" [78, 45]
Capitol's Peggy Lee session file lists the following catalogue numbers under her performance of "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair":

a) H 163
b) 54 603 (alb. Cdf 163)

These catalogue numbers belong to two of the three configurations in which Capitol released the album Songs From Rodgers And Hammerstein's South Pacific. H-163 refers to the 10" LP, CDF-163 to the 45-rpm album. Unaccountably left out of Capitol's session file (but reinstated in this discography) is the third configuration, a 78-rpm album whose catalogue number is CD-162.

In the 78-rpm configuration, "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair" can be found in disc #54-603. In the 45-rpm configuration, it on disc #57-599. Incidentally, these discs are often erroneously listed as singles online, especially in auctioning sites. With the passing of time, they have become detached from their original context, and have ended up being misidentified and sold as separate pieces.


Arrangements

The arrangements for this session's performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. Heinie Beau is, as I have indicated above, the credited arranger.


Date: May 25, 1949
Location: Los Angeles
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1351

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Dave Barbour All-Stars (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 4508-rejectedMaster Take (Capitol) Sunshine Cake(Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
unissued
b. 4509Master Take (Capitol) You Can Have Him - 3:14(Irving Berlin) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 4557 670 & 54 670; also F 670 — {You Can Have Him / At The Cafe Rendezvous}   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1371 - P 1372 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee, 2 Pauline Byrne vocals]   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio & Television Service 16" Transcription DiscProgram No. 1860 — G.I. Jive [Woody Herman, Mary Ann McCall, Margaret Whiting]   (1949)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
c. 4510-2Master Take (Capitol) At The Café Rendezvous - 3:07(Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 4557 670 & 54 670; also F 670 — {You Can Have Him / At The Cafe Rendezvous}   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1371 - P 1372 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee, 2 Pauline Byrne vocals]   (1949)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13280 — {At The Café Rendezvous / Sunshine Cake} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1950)


Arrangements

1. Source
The arrangements for this session's three performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The library is the source for the above-indicated arranger credits.


Masters And Cross-references

1. "Sunshine Cake"
For an issued version of this song, see session dated October 7, 1949.


Date: June 3, 1949
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1361

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Dave Barbour (con), Peggy Lee (v), The Jud Conlon Singers (bkv), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 4541-4Master Take (Capitol) Neon Signs - 2:30(Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 4557 703 & 54 703 — {Neon Signs / Through A Long And Sleepless Night}   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1371 - P 1372 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee, 2 Pauline Byrne vocals]   (1949)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13458 — {Neon Signs / Run For The Roundhouse, Nellie} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
b. 4542-3Master Take (Capitol) Goodbye, John - 3:18(Edward Eager, Alec Wilder) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 45849 & F 849 — {Sunshine Cake / Goodbye, John}   (1950)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13329 — {When You Speak With Your Eyes / Goodbye, John } [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1950)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Jasmine Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Jascd 579 — The Hits And More ...   (2011)
c. 4543-2Master Take (Capitol) Through A Long And Sleepless Night - 3:12(Mack Gordon, Alfred Newman) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 4557 703 & 54 703 — {Neon Signs / Through A Long And Sleepless Night}   (1949)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13165 — {So Dear To My Heart / Through A Long And Sleepless Night} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1371 - P 1372 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee, 2 Pauline Byrne vocals]   (1949)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Megaphon (Mpo Entertainment) Public Domain CD(France) Mpo 96216 — Peggy Lee ("Les Plus Grandes Voix Du Jazz: Classic American Music" Boxed Set)   
d. 4544-2Master Take (Capitol) The Christmas Spell - 3:15(Jack Palmer, Willard Robison) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 4590035 & F 90035 — {The Christmas Spell / Song At Midnight} (Capitol's Holiday Series)   (1949)
CAPITOL CS/CD7777 94450 4 / Cdp 7 94450 2 — CHRISTMAS CAROUSEL   (1990)
CAPITOL©EMI Gold/Music For Pleasure CD(UK & Australia) Cdmfp 6149 (reissues 9753, 31067) — The Christmas Album   (1990)
Disky Licensed CD(Netherlands) Ch 877292 — Christmas   (1997)
CAPITOL CD09463 63376 2 3 — CHRISTMAS WITH PEGGY LEE   (2006)
e. 4545-1Master Take (Capitol) Song At Midnight - 3:09(Alec Wilder) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 4590035 & F 90035 — {The Christmas Spell / Song At Midnight} (Capitol's Holiday Series)   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1603 - P 1604 — Basic Music Library [11 Peggy Lee vocals, 2 of them from a duet single with Mel Torme]   (1950)
CAPITOL CD09463 63376 2 3 — CHRISTMAS WITH PEGGY LEE   (2006)





Songs And Songwriters

1. "Goodbye, John"
2. Alec Wilder
In his 1975 book Letters I Never Mailed, Alec Wilder addresses one of the titular letters to Peggy Lee. He writes that, while visiting the apartment of a very courteous but alarming man, he happened to hear one of her recordings: It was yours and Dave's record of "Goodbye John." Dear Peggy, how absolutely dear and loving that record was! Every word you uttered I believed and every note you sang was definitive. Dave's section was a model of distillation and choice! Really a very special record for anyone, let alone the writer of the music.

Unfortunately, what initially looks like a eulogy eventually turns into chastisement, bestowed on Lee for transgressions that are rather vaguely stated. Wilder seems to resent the fact that Lee never got around to record another number which he had composed especially for her. (Titled "Is It Always Like This?," the song was meant to console Lee for the loss of a boyfriend. The number was written in 1942, which was a rather inconvenient time for her to record it. Back then, Lee was still under the employment of Benny Goodman, and hence she had very limited input in song choices. Then, after her time with Goodman, opportunities decreased even more, because Lee went into temporary retirement. (Another Wilder favorite, Mabel Mercer, picked up the song instead, and so did Lena Horne.)

Other lapses for which Wilder reprimands Lee are her alleged attempts at "com[ing] to grips with today's goblin society" and with the "bitterness or loneliness of age." In Wilder's opinion, such attempts have led Lee to lose her "belief[s] and sweet sadness, [her] genuine love and the gentle touch ... [her] age of innocence, joy and wonderment."

Insiders have revealed that, contrary to what Wilder's book would have its readers believe, his never-sent letters were not memories that he had kept from decades past. Instead, Wilder is said to have churned them out over a short period of time (weeks), usually while sitting in a booth at a club where his friend, pianist Marian MacPartland, played regularly.

If Lee ever read those partially unflattering comments (published in 1975), she must have not taken lasting offense to them. In her autobiography (1989), Lee refers to Wilder as a "superb composer and friend." She also describes him as "a lovable eccentric, and he and I would sit and talk about life for hours. Schmoozing, I think it's called. Which is talk with a lot of affection and closeness." Further corroboration of this portrait of the singer and the songwriter's closeness comes from Lee's daughter, Nicki Foster. In an essay written by Will Friedwald for Capitol's The Singles Collection, Foster shared the following reminiscence from her childhood: "I remember Alec. He had a mad crush on Mother. He was a very odd man, very tall and lanky, and he smoked incessantly, but I remember I always found him interesting. He was practically obsessed with Mother, and she loved his writing."

The exact reasons behind Wilder's dissatisfaction with Lee are open to debate. They might or might not be those that he mentions on the written page. People who knew the songwriter deemed him not only eccentric but also troubled. Due in part to a drinking problem, Wilder could be contentious and rude. He clearly did not take lightly to singers who took liberties with his compositions. (For an instance involving Lee, see notes under session dated November 27, 1947.) Even the ever friendly and amenable Ella Fitzgerald was once taken to task, in her case for not having recorded any of his songs. After the reprimand (admonished some time around 1969, when she caught her while both happened to take the same elevator), Fitzgerald went on to record Wilder's "Trouble Is A Man."

3. "Through A Long And Sleepless Night" In The Regional Music Charts
Billboard does not identify "Through A Long And Sleepless Night" as a national hit song, but Cash Box does. The love song from the 20th Century Fox's Come To The Stable peaked at #16 in Cash Box's Disc-Hits Box Score during the week ending November 19, 1949.

This movie theme was recorded by Alan Dale for Hi-Tone, Vic Damone for Mercury, Eddy Duchin for Harmony, Bill Farrell for MGM, Gordon Jenkins for Decca, Peggy Lee for Capitol, Vera Lynn for London, Dinah Shore for Columbia, The Stardusters for Decca, and Claude Thornhill for Victor. The available data suggests that three of these versions competed for attention in the American market: Farrell's, Lee's, and Shore's. The clear winner is Dinah Shore, with 11 reports of top ten airplay from several radio stations, spanning from the first to the last week in which the song charted (from the week ending September 3 through the week ending December 10). Farrell gave Shore strong competition with eight reports (September 17 to November 19).

Peggy Lee came in third, with six reports (September 17 to December 10). Of the other acts, only The Stardusters made these regional charts, for one week (November 5). Lee's version received airplay at stations such as WCAE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (#3 during the week ending October 15, 1949) and in the juke boxes of Detroit, Michigan (#10 for the weeks of December the 3rd and the 10th).

{Side note. Based on the aforementioned Cash Box data, "Through A Long And Sleepless Night" should be deemed a hit for Peggy Lee, even if Billboard does not list it. This discography makes periodic mention of the total amount of hits scored by Peggy Lee up to a given year, or point in time. Those scores rely on Joel Whitburn's book Pop Memories 1890-1954 and, more generally, on Billboard chart data. Hence a number such as "Through A Long And Sleepless Night" falls outside of Whitburn's purview, and has not been factored into my own count herein. At some point in the future, when time permits, I am planning to add Cash Box-only entries such as this one to the tally of hits scored by Lee. For the time being, however, I am limiting myself to letting readers know about the situation.}





Photos

Promotional advertisement on behalf of two Capitol releases by Peggy Lee (#703, #849), as well as singles by other artists on the same label.


Personnel

1. Background Vocals
Background singing by The Jud Conlon Singers on "Neon Signs," "The Christmas Spell," and "Song At Midnight."


Arrangements

1. Source
The arrangements for this session's performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. As indicated above, the library credits Heinie Beau for all five arrangements.

2. "The Christmas Spell"
Peggy Lee's sheet music library contains another arrangement of this song. That arrangement is by Dick Hazard, who worked with Lee during most of the 1960s but also seems to have occasionally arranged for Lee in the late 1940s and early 1950s.


Date: October 6, 1949 (Beginning at 2:00 p.m.)
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1493

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Pete Rugolo (con), Pete Rugolo and His Orchestra (acc), Henry J. "Heinie" Beau (r), Unknown (r, f, cl, bcl, enh, frh, bsn, o, g, b, str, p, cel, hrp, d, vc), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 4943-3Master Take (Capitol) Crazy, He Calls Me - 3:07(Sidney Keith Russell, Carl Sigman) / arr: Pete Rugolo
CAPITOL 78 & 45898 & F 898 — {Crazy He Calls Me / Them There Eyes}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1603 - P 1604 — Basic Music Library [11 Peggy Lee vocals, 2 of them from a duet single with Mel Torme]   (1950)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13437 — {Lover, Come Back To Me / Crazy, He Calls Me} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
b. 4944-3Master Take (Capitol) A Man Wrote A Song - 3:19(Dave Franklin) / arr: Pete Rugolo
CAPITOL 78 & 4557 769 & 54 769 — {A Man Wrote A Song / Run For The Roundhouse, Nellie}   (1949)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
c. 4945-4Master Take (Capitol) One Day - 2:52(Jerry Colonna) / arr: Pete Rugolo
CAPITOL Jazz CD0777 7 97826 2 8 — MISS PEGGY LEE    (1998)
Tim International Public Domain CD(Germany) 220838 [220839-220843] — A Nightingale Can Sing The Blues ("Document" Series)   (2004)
Weton-Wesgram Public Domain CD(Netherlands) Mom 641 — Peggy Lee ("Masters Of Music" Series)   (2005)


Songs And Personnel

1. "One Day"
2. Pete Rugolo
In his track-by-track annotation for the Capitol set Miss Peggy Lee, Jim Pierson writes: "At the suggestion of famed conductor Pete Rugolo, this previously unissued gem from 1949 has been liberated from the Capitol vaults. Rugolo recorded several sides with Peggy and recalled that she was deeply disappointed that the whimsical One Day was not released."


Musicians

1. Heinie Beau
2. Sources
Jazz bio-discographer and liner note writer Tony Middleton is my source for some of this session's personnel credits, including those pertaining to Heinie Beau.

Since the personnel and instrumentation of these October 6 and 7, 1949 is not listed in any of the official documentation at my reach, I can only speculate about the exact instrument(s) that Beau played on both dates. The most obvious possibility is the clarinet, his primary instrument. He also played the sax, as attested in a few of this discography's earlier dates. Beau should thus be deemed "a person of interest" whenever any alto or tenor playing is heard in the six performances under scrutiny.


Arrangements And Musical Instruments

1. Source
2. "Crazy, He Calls Me"
The arrangements for this session's three performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The library is the original source for the above-indicated arranger credits and for the date's instrumentation. All the specifics musical instruments listed above are heard during Lee's performance of "Crazy, He Calls Me." I became acquainted with these specifics about the performance's instrumentation thanks to research work being conducted by guitarist/music publisher Rob Duboff, and thanks also to the kind assistance of musical arranger/jazz historian Jeff Sultanoff.


Date: October 7, 1949 (Beginning at 1:00 p.m.)
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1494

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Pete Rugolo (con), Pete Rugolo and His Orchestra (acc), Henry J. "Heinie" Beau (r), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 4946-3Master Take (Capitol) Save Your Sorrow For Tomorrow - 2:30(Buddy G. DeSylva, Al Sherman) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 45810 & F 810 — {Save Your Sorrow For Tomorrow / Sugar (That Sugar Baby Of Mine)}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1603 - P 1604 — Basic Music Library [11 Peggy Lee vocals, 2 of them from a duet single with Mel Torme]   (1950)
CAPITOL LP(Japan) Ecp 88169 — Peggy Lee With Dave Barbour   (1974)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
b. 4947-2Master Take (Capitol) Sunshine Cake - 2:25(Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen) / arr: Pete Rugolo
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13280 — {At The Café Rendezvous / Sunshine Cake} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1950)
CAPITOL 78 & 45849 & F 849 — {Sunshine Cake / Goodbye, John}   (1950)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
c. 4948-3Master Take (Capitol) Run For The Roundhouse, Nellie - 3:16(Jack Palmer, Willard Robison) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 4557 769 & 54 769 — {A Man Wrote A Song / Run For The Roundhouse, Nellie}   (1949)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13458 — {Neon Signs / Run For The Roundhouse, Nellie} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)





Photo

Presumably, the above-seen shot is from a recording session. Unfortunately, its actual date is unknown to me, and so are any other fundamentals. The main reason why I have incorporated it under this session is the combination of Dave Barbour's presence and Peggy Lee's physical appearance; the latter suggests to me a date within the second half of 1949.

There is a chance that this photo was published in Metronome magazine. I hope to gain access to that periodical's issues in the future.


Crossreferences

1. "Sunshine Cake"
For an earlier and unissued recording of this song, see session dated May 25, 1949.


Musicians

1. Heinie Beau
2. Sources
Jazz bio-discographer and liner note writer Tony Middleton is my source for some of this session's personnel credits, including those pertaining to Heinie Beau.

Since the personnel and instrumentation of these October 6 and 7, 1949 is not listed in any of the official documentation at my reach, I can only speculate about the exact instrument(s) that Beau played on both dates. The most obvious possibility is the clarinet, his primary instrument. He also played the sax, as attested in a few of this discography's earlier dates. Beau should thus be deemed "a person of interest" whenever any alto or tenor playing is heard in the six performances under scrutiny.


Arrangements

1. Source
The arrangements for this session's three performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The library is the source for the above-indicated arranger credits. In the case of "Save Your Sorrow For Tomorrow," credit is mysteriously given to a "Tommy" for whom no last name is included.


Songs

1. "Sunshine Cake" In The Regional Music Charts
According to Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports for the week ending March 11, 1950, Peggy Lee's version of "Sunshine Cake" reached the #1 position at KROP, in Brawley, California. Other acts in the station's top 10 were Bing Crosby ("the Horse Told Me"), Doris Day ("Save A Sunbeam"), Louis Prima ("Enjoy Yourself"), and the team of Jimmy Wakely & Margaret Whiting ("The Gods Were Angry," "Broken-down Merry-Go-Round").


Date: November 11 & 15, 1949
Location: Capitol Studios, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Sessions #1541, #1542, #1616, #1617

Mel Tormé (ldr), James Conkling, Lee Gillette (pdr), Mel Tormé (pdr, v), Harold "Hal" Mooney (con), The Mel-Tones (Les Baxter, Betty Beveridge, Ginny O'Connor, Bernie Parks), Mel Tormé and The Mel-Tones (acc), Skeets Herfurt aka Arthur Herfurt (cl, as), Jules Jacob[s], Jules Kinsler, Robert "Bob" Lawson (as, ts), Chuck Gentry (bar), Conrad Gozzo, Uan Rasey, George Seaberg, Joe Triscari (t), Joe Howard aka Francis Howard, Ed Kusby aka Edward Kuczborski, Si Zentner (tb), Allan Reuss (g), Phil Stephens (b), Unknown (str), Buddy Neal (p), Ralph Hansell (x, vib), Robert Maxwell (hrp), Irv Cottler (d), Harry Bluestone aka Blostein, Jacques Gasselin, George Kast, Daniel "Dan" Lube, Nick Pisani, Lou Raderman, Mischa Russell, Paul Shure, Felix Slatkin (vn), Paul Robyn (vl), Cy Bernard, Eleanor Slatkin (vc), Peggy Lee (v), Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires {Conlon, Mack McLean, Loulie "Lily" Jean Norman, Charles Parlato, Gloria Wood}, The Mel-Tones (Les Baxter, Loulie-Jean Norman, Ginny O'Connor, Bernie Parks), The Starlighters (Pauline Byrns, Vince Degen, Jerry Duane, Howard Hudson, Tony Paris) (bkv)

a. 5464Master Take (Capitol) We Think The West Coast Is The Best Coast - 6:23(Mel Torme)
b. 5465Master Take (Capitol) Coney Island - 0:35(Mel Torme) / arr: Billy May
Proper Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 45 P 1277 1280 — The Peggy Lee Story   (2002)
Proper Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Box 108 — Miss Wonderful    (2006)
c. 5465 Master Take (Capitol) The Miami Waltz - 1:40(Mel Torme)
d. 5468Master Take (Capitol) Got The Gate On The Golden Gate - 3:33(Mel Torme) / arr: Neal Hefti
Rhino Licensed CS/CDR2/R4 71589 — [Mel Tormé] The Mel Tormé Collection, 1944-1985   (1996)
Reader's Digest Licensed CDRead RC7 012 1 — [Mel Tormé] The Legendary Mel Tormé   (1997)
A&E Biography Licensed CD7243 4 94749 0 1 — [Mel Tormé] A Musical Anthology   (1998)
e. 5470Master Take (Capitol) We Think The West Coast Is The Best Coast (Reprise) - 2:12(Mel Torme)
All titles on: CAPITOL 78-rpm album/EP/12" LPEdd 200 [8 28004-28007]/Kcf 200 (6F 28004-28007)/P 200 — [Mel Tormé] Sings His Own California Suite   (1950)
Discovery/Trend LPDs 910 — [Mel Tormé] Sings His California Suite   (1984)
Jasmine Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) Jascd 365 — [Mel Tormé] California Suite & The Velvet Fog   (2000)


Issues

1. Mel Tormé's California Suite
2. Gordon Jenkins' Manhattan Tower And California (The Golden State)

This session's masters are part of a musical suite composed by Mel Tormé. The suite is over 30 minutes long. Tormé's model and inspiration was a work of the same genre that had been released a few years earlier (and to which the next paragraph will be dedicated).

In September 1945, pianist, composer and arranger Gordon Jenkins recorded a 17-minute homage to New York City. The next year, Decca Records released it on an album titled Manhattan Tower: A Musical Narrative Composed By Gordon Jenkins (catalogue number 723), which divided the suite into four sections distributed over two 78-rpm discs. Jenkins' musical narrative seems to have been reissued in 1949, as either an EP album or a 10" LP, and again around 1954, as a 12" LP (Decca Dl 8011). Those post-78-rpm album versions are actually twofers: they combine Manhattan Tower with California (The Golden State), a similar work that Jenkins had co-written with Tom Adair. (Both pieces mix music with dramatic narration, and each bears the sub-title "A Musical Narrative.") Next, in 1956, a newly recorded and expanded version of the New York suite was released by Jenkins, not on Decca but on Capitol, in EP and LP configurations, under the title Complete Manhattan Tower (catalogue number for the LP: T 766). "New York's My Home" has become the best-known song from Jenkins' homage to the Big Apple.

In Tormé's own words, his California Suite was conceived as an "an alter ego" to Jenkins' Manhattan Tower. As its title implies, the suite celebrates the joys of California and the West Coast. The most noticeable difference between Tormé's and Jenkins' opuses is that Tormé includes no spoken narration; everything is sung, including the expository commentary. Also, some of the singers in Tormé's suite are well-defined dramatis personae (The Extra Girl, The Easterner), whereas those in Manhattan Tower are barely sketched characters of little dramatic import. Thus California Suite qualifies not just as a narrative in song but also as musical drama. Its best-known number is "Poor Little Extra Girl."

Peggy Lee sings the role of The Easterner, a character who functions as the chief antagonist throughout this musical drama. In a New York accent, she constantly extols the superiority of various East Coast locations and professes herself skepticism about the West Coast's alleged virtues. Toward the end of the suite, she comes around, after having heard all the many eulogies to California that are sung by the other characters. Miss Big Apple Dweller ends up acknowledging that the West Coast has, after all, plenty to recommend.

Worth noting: Capitol Records' California Suite must not to be confused with a reprise of the suite that Tormé recorded for Bethlehem Records. Though also titled California Suite and covering the same basic terrain, the second version differs significantly from the Capitol original. Most importantly for the purposes of this discography, Peggy Lee does not participate in that 1957 reprise.

3. Album Configurations
California Suite was originally issued in three configurations: as a 78-rpm set (four discs: 8 28004 to 8 28007), as a 45-rpm set (three discs: 6f 28004 to 6f 28006), and as an LP that was Capitol's first non-classical 12" vinyl.

It should be pointed out that none of these original configurations offers a track listing. This American album's contents are simply presented as one long-running unit, without any song titles. It would not be until British EMI released the suite in the United Kingdom that song titles would be provided for the several segments of the Suite. From then onwards, the titles were incorporated to both American and European reissues.





Photos

Images above: Three suite albums, loosely connected by a variety of details, including the fact that they were originally released in consecutive years (1949, 1950, and 1951). The first is Gordon Jenkins' Manhattan Tower And California, herein seen in a LP edition. Next up is Mel Tormé's California Suite, herein seen in a 2008 CD edition that features the same front cover as the original 1950 release). Finally, there is Ferde Grofé's Death Valley Suite, shown in its original 10" LP edition (Capitol #271). The Jenkins an Tormé releases have received discussion in the paragraphs above. The Grofé album contained a symphonic work that he had first performed in December of 1949, at the request of the California State Centennial Commission.


Personnel

1. "Susan Melton"
2. Mel Tormé
3. Peggy Lee And Mel Tormé: Collaborations
Notice that this is a Mel Tormé session, and that Peggy Lee is not listed by her own name in this date's paperwork. Instead, credit for her role as The Easterner is given to a pseudonym, Susan Melton. The reason why Peggy Lee used this assumed name is unknown. Chances are that she and those involved in the album's production were merely having tongue-in-cheek fun. The name "Melton" is obviously a play on the name of Mel's group (The Mel-Tones) and, by extension, on Tormé's first name.

Lee's adoption of such a pseudonym also suggests that she was not particularly interested in receiving public credit for her contribution, but participated in this project chiefly as a favor. Lee's and Tormé's common manager, Carlos Gastel, was largely responsible for orchestrating her involvement. In the liner notes for the Rhino set The Mel Tormé Collection, 1944-1985, Will Friedwald quotes Tormé himself as saying that "[w]hen we came to the point when we needed the voice of The Easterner, Carlos Gastel thought of Peggy. He went to her and said, Would you do this for Mel? and she said, Sure. She sings it with that sort of mock Eastern accent."

Other collaborations between Lee and Tormé ensued. Shortly after the completion of the California Suite, they met again for a duet session (November 16, 1949) in which a light-hearted song that the pair had co-written was among the attempted numbers. Another duet session took place two years later (July 10, 1951); at that point, they were also co-hosting a summer television show. Later on still, the twosome jointly worked on more television (1960s) and also in concerts (1990s). At the last of those concerts (1995), the two artists seem to have had a falling out, unfortunately. But throughout his long career Tormé consistently made appreciative comments about Lee's talents, both in interviews and in his self-written print (e.g., Tormé's 1994 book My Singing Teachers).

4. The Jud Conlon Rhythmiares
5. The Starlighters
Heard throughout, The Rhythmaires and The Starlighters constitute the Suite's choral voices, sometimes commenting about or adding to the narrative, at other times backing the soloists or amplifying the sounds of The Rhythmaires.

In the case of The Starlighters, the identity of the individuals who sang at this session is difficult to ascertain, due in part to the relatively scant amount of extant information on the matter, in part to the several changes of personnel undergone by the group over its years of activity. The individual names listed above are those who were active members during the second half of 1948 and the first half of 1949. It is thus likely that all five individuals were still part of the group in November of 1949, when the California Suite sessions took place.

6. Track-By-Track Personnel Identification
Capitol Records' California Suite documentation does not clarify which individuals performed on which track. Neither does the label's original album. In Mel Tormé: A Chronicle Of His Recordings, Books And Films, George Hulme identifies which tracks are instrumentals and which ones feature any vocal work. Furthermore, he divides the vocal personnel into four main units: The Mel Tones, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, and a so-called Chorus combining the voices of The Rhythmaires and The Starlighters. To make all such identifications, the author relied on his own careful listening of the suite. After having also spent some time listening to the suite, I find myself concurring with Hulme's identification of the tracks sung by Lee. Here is how Hulme identifies the personnel on the tracks that feature Lee:

We Think The West Coast Is The Best Coast: Part 1 (MT and Chorus)
We Think The West Coast Is The Best Coast (MT, PL and Mel-Tones Chorus)
Coney Island (PL)
The Miami Waltz (PL)
We Think The West Coast Is The Best Coast (reprise) (PL, MT & Chorus)

In addition to Lee's voice, "Coney Island" also features unidentified speaking voices, simulating the sounds of fairs and carnivals.

During the reprise of "We Think The West Coast Is The Best Coast," a large number of voices is heard singing the choral parts in unison, and quite a few of them are female ones. It is possible that, for this number, the Chorus was expanded to include The Mel-Tones.

7. Female Vocalists Heard In The Suite
Various female voices are heard throughout Capitol's California Suite (Peggy Lee's, Loulie Jean Norman's, Ginny O'Connor's). As already indicated, the official or original sources do not identify the exact parts sung by each female. Neither does Capitol's in-house documentation. For the purpose of Peggy Lee's discography, those omissions mean that there is no official identification of the segments that are sung by "Susan Melton." Differentiation between her voice and those of the other female vocalists has thus to be made solely by listening. Fortunately, Lee's voice is not difficult to identify. Norman and O'Connor generally sing in harmony with their Mel-Tones male partners, with one important exception: Ginny O'Connor adopts and sings the role of the "Poor Little 'Extra' Girl."


Arrangers

1. Mel Tormé
2. Jud Conlon
3. Billy May
4. Neal Hefti
5. Dick Jones
6. Hal Mooney
7. Paul Villepigue
8. Source
Mel Tormé did the arrangements for the group vocals by The Mel-Tones. All other choral arrangements are by Jud Conlon.

Jack Mirtle's The Music Of Billy May: A Discography is the source for the arranging credits in the cases of "Coney Island" and "Got The Gate On The Golden Gate."

Known to have contributed arrangements for the instrumental parts of California Suite are Dick Jones, Hal Mooney, and Paul Villepigue. With the one exception noted in the paragraph immediately below, there is no knowledge about the authorship or distribution of orchestral arrangements among these gentlemen.

One of the parts arranged by Paul Villepigue is a segment of "We Think The West Coast Is The Best Coast" in which Peggy Lee has one line ("Yeah, what's that?"). The sub-title of the segment in question is "Dreary Days." My thanks to Desne Ahlers for sharing with me this bit of information, gleaned from a personal letter that his father, Paul Villepigue, wrote to his mother.


Session(s) And Dating

Specific session information about these recordings has proven hard to come by. What's more, Billy May discographer Jack Mirtle reports that Capitol's master files for the California Suite contain neither dates nor song titles. Ultimately, convenience rather than accuracy has led me to group the five above-listed performances under one session.

The Capitol Label Discography by Michel Ruppli et al. gives a general November 1949 date to the original masters. (As noted before, those masters were initially released on a 78-rpm album.) Ruppli's text also shows that Capitol created a second, separate entry for the suite's 45-rpm album version, probably because the masters already released on 78-rpm discs had to be remastered (e.g., edited and re-cut) so that they could be suitable for inclusion in the 45-rpm configuration. That second entry, dedicated to the remastering for 45-rpm issue, is dated February 1950.

The earliest of the dates that I have given to these performances (November 11, 1949) is confirmed only for "Got The Gate On The Golden Gate." Rhino's The Mel Tormé Collection, 1944-1985 is my source. Rhino in turn obtained its information through the kind cooperation of the American Federation Of Musicians, Local 47, whose archives are deemed the most reliable for session data. Because "Got The Gate On The Golden Gate" is the only track from California Suite that was included in The Mel Tormé Collection, 1944-1985, Rhino gives no dating information about the suite's other tracks. Since Peggy Lee is one of the voices heard in "Got The Gate On The Golden Gate," it is clear that she was present at this November 11, 1949 session.

My source for the other date given above is the 2008 Fresh Sound CD Mel Tormé Sings His Own California Suite, Complete Edition. Actually, the issue states that the suite was recorded over two days, and corroborates that November 11 was the earliest. Although this CD is a Public Domain issue, its lavish booklet, sound discographical data, detailed biographical essay and rare photos strongly suggest that a knowledgeable insider was involved in the project -- one who might have had access to documentation on which the recording dates were and full session personnel were given.


Masters

1. Master Numbers
My initial acquaintance with the above-shown master numbers happened thanks to authors George Hulme and Jack Mirtle , who found them while they were researching their respective discographies of Mel Tormé and Billy May. The numbers were found in the log sheets for the suite's completed master. (That is to say, they do not come from the session's file, whose location eluded the authors and their assistants).

The more recently published Capitol Label Discography by Ruppli et al. offers additional details. This extensive CD-ROM document shows that, as Hulme had indicated in his Mel Tormé discography, master numbers were assigned not by individual song but by the parts or segments in which the suite was divided for the purpose of issuing it on 78-rpm disc. Hence, for instance, "Coney Island" and "The Miami Waltz" are both parts of 78-rpm master disc #5465.

To further complicate matters, California Suite actually has not one but two sets of master numbers. One set belongs to the 78-rpm master discs, the other set to 45-rpm master discs. Here is the set of numbers attached to the 78-rpm configuration, as listed in the Capitol Label Discography:

Session #1541
November 1949
5463 California Suite, Part 1: Mountain Desert Theme / The Golden West / We Think The West Coast Is The Best Coast, Segment 1
5464 California Suite, Part 2: We Think The West Coast Is The Best Coast, Segment 2
5465 California Suite, Part 3: Coney Island / The Miami Waltz
5466 California Suite, Part 4: They Go To San Diego

Session #1542
November 1949
5667 California Suite, Part 5: Sunday Night In San Francisco
5468 California Suite, Part 6: Got The Gate On The Golden Gate
5469 California Suite, Part 7: Prelude To Poor Little Extra Girl
5470 California Suite, Part 8: Poor Little Extra Girl / We Think The West Coast Is The Best Coast, Reprise / Mountain Desert Theme

[A side note. I believe that Ruppli et. al have used two sources for the details shown above: Capitol's log sheets (which do not give the suite's song titles) and another source (from which the song titles were gathered). EMI in the United Kingdom seems to have been the first company to issue the album in a version that identified the songs by title. Hulme also identified them in his Tormé discography. Thereafter, song titles have appeared in various other sources: Jasmine Cd 365 (an issue which benefitted from Hulme's output), this discography, and some Public Domain issues.]

As already mentioned, a second set of master numbers was assigned to the suite's segments when they were re-cut for release as a 45-rpm album. The Capitol Label Discography presents those numbers as follows:

Session #1616
ca. February, 1950
5471 Pt.1
5472 Pt.2
5473 Pt.3

Session #1617
ca. February 1950
5474 Pt.4
5475 Pt.5
5470 Pt.6

Because I do not own a copy of the suite's 45-rpm album version, and because I do not know which songs are included in each of the 45-rpm masters, I have entered in this discography only the 78-rpm master disc numbers.


Date: November 16, 1949
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1547

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Lou Busch and His Orchestra (acc), Lou Busch (p), Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé (v), The Mellomen {Bob Hamlin, Bill Lee, Thurl Ravenscroft, Max Smith} (bkv)

a. 5217-4Master Take (Capitol) Bless You (For The Good That Is In You) - 2:49(Peggy Lee, Mel Torme)
CAPITOL©EMI Electrola CD(Germany) 94635 9779 2 9 — Essential Peggy Lee   (2006)
b. 5218-3Master Take (Capitol) The Old Master Painter - 2:46(Haven Gillespie, Beasley Smith)
CAPITOL CS/CDC4 5/Cdp 7 93195 — THE EARLY YEARS (CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES, VOLUME 1)   (1990)
CAPITOL©EMI CD(United Kingdom) 0777 7 9 9426 2 6 — [Mel Tormé] Mel Tormé ("The Best Of The Capitol Years" Series)   (1995)
A&E Biography Licensed CD7243 4 94749 0 1 — [Mel Tormé] A Musical Anthology   (1998)
Both titles on: CAPITOL 78 & 4557 791 & 54 791; also F 791 — {The Old Master Painter / Bless You (For The Good That Is In You)}   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1603 - P 1604 — Basic Music Library [11 Peggy Lee vocals, 2 of them from a duet single with Mel Torme]   (1950)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Delta's Xtra Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) 20050501 — Blues In The Night   (2005)





Songs

1. "The Old Master Painter" In The Music Charts
According to Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories, 1890-1954, Peggy Lee's and Mel Tormé's duet version of "The Old Master Painter" made its chart debut during the week of January 7, 1950, and went on to peak at #9. It was Lee's 24th solo Billboard hit and Tormé's 8th. A highly popular song at recording time, five other recordings of "The Old Master Painter" successfully competed on the Billboard charts as well: Frank Sinatra's (#13), Snooky Lanson's (#12), Phil Harris' (#10), Dick Haymes' (#4), and Richard Hayes' (#2).

All six versions are also listed in Cash Box as well. At both of the magazine's main charts, (Disc-Hits Box Score, Poll Of The Nation's Top 10 Juke Box Tunes), "The Old Master Painter" remained at #3 for three straight weeks (starting with the week ending January 28, 1950). It spent a total of 16 weeks in the former (a top 40 chart), 10 weeks in the latter (a top 10 chart).

Cash Box's main charts measured the popularity of songs rather than recordings. Hence the above-given results collectively apply to all six then-current recordings of "The Old Master Painter." A look into Cash Box's regional charts confirms that each of the six versions was popular in different markets. The Lee-Tormé version seems to have gained attention last, as the popularity of the other versions was beginning to dwindle.


Personnel

1. The Mellomen
This edition of The Mellomen featured Thurl Ravenscroft, Max Smith, Bill Lee, and Bob Hamlin. (During her Decca years, Peggy Lee worked with a later edition of the group. That edition still included Ravenscroft, Lee, and Smith, but Hamlin had been replaced by Phil Stephens.)

2. Lou Busch
3. Joe "Fingers" Carr
The Lou Busch who participated in this 1949 session was the same man who would soon become popular as a ragtime, honky tonk pianist, under the pseudonym of Joe "Fingers" Carr. Aural inspection of the piano playing heard through "The Old Master Painter" certainly suggests that the hands tickling the ivory are Carr's.

4. Accompaniment: Dave Barbour Versus Lou Busch
Extant information about this session's accompaniment is conflictive. Lee's session files credit Dave Barbour as the orchestra leader, and do not list Lou Busch. On the other hand, and according to Mel Tormé discographer George Hulme, "[t]he orchestra leader is given as Lou Busch on [Tormé's] Capitol log sheets. The notes for [EMI CD] 077779942626 credit Lou Busch as the orchestra leader but the notes for Capitol [CD] 7 93195-2 mistakenly give the leader as Dave Barbour." In private communication with me, Hulme also made a sensible point about Capitol's occasional practice of listing an accompaniment other than the actual one -- especially when the actual conductor was not a brand name.

Hulme's assertion that Busch directed this date strikes me as probably correct. The Capitol Label Discography, published after Hulme did his research, backs him up. (The text by Ruppli et al. states: "Peggy Lee, Mel Torme [vo] & The Mellomen [vo] with Lou Busch and his Orchestra.") Since there is no prominent guitar in either of this session's two songs, Barbour's participation is highly questionable. Piano is the main instrument. (There also seems to be clarinet, organ, and in "Bless You," perhaps a sax.)

Of course, there is room for the possibility that Barbour was somehow involved, even if not as heavily as Busch, who was actually an in-house producer at Capitol. After all, Barbour and Lee tended to work as a two-person "package" during these years. Although it would have been unusual, Busch could have ceded the direction of one of the tracks to Barbour. The matter needs to be fully settled by consulting more reliable documentation which is not accessible to me, unfortunately -- i.e., the date's AFM reports.


Acknowledgments

1. George Hulme
My thanks to Mr. Hulme for the very helpful and instructive details that he shared with me (about both Capitol and Tormé) during various email exchanges, and for his superior work Mel Tormé: A Chronicle Of His Recordings, Books And Films.


Masters And Arrangements

1. "Crime And Punishment"
Capitol's library of music scores lists an arrangement for a duet by Peggy Lee and Mel Tormé, for a song titled "Crime And Punishment." Presumably, this "Crime And Punishment" was the 1920s number composed by Ferre and Jacobs, the same team responsible for another composition that Peggy Lee recorded for Capitol on June 16, 1950, "The Cannonball Express." As interpreted by artists such as Hoagy Carmichael, "Crime And Punishment" resembles "The Old Master Painter" in its canteen-piano musical atmosphere.

However, no Lee-Tormé master of "Crime And Punishment" is known to exist. Unless it is unlisted in the official paperwork and lost in the vaults, it doesn't seem to have been recorded. For another master whose situation is similar, see session dated September 13, 1950, notes included.


Date: December 2, 1949
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1560

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Dave Barbour (con), The Gualadajara Boys (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 5262-3Master Take (Capitol) When You Speak With Your Eyes - 2:59(Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour, Rene Touzet)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13329 — {When You Speak With Your Eyes / Goodbye, John } [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1950)
CAPITOL©EMI CD(Korea) 8806344820326 — The Very Best Of Peggy Lee; The Capitol Years   (2006)
b. 5263-3Master Take (Capitol) My Small Señor (With The Sonriente Eyes) - 2:52(Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13471 — {Ay, Ay, Chug A Chug / My Small Señor} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
Both titles on: CAPITOL 78 & 45801 & F 801 — {My Small Señor (With The Sonriente Eyes) / When You Speak With Your Eyes}   (1949)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1603 - P 1604 — Basic Music Library [11 Peggy Lee vocals, 2 of them from a duet single with Mel Torme]   (1950)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)








Masters And Studio Chatter

1. "My Small Señor (With The Sonriente Eyes)"
The Capitol set The Singles Collection includes a very brief spoken bit from this session. Right before Lee sings take #3 of "My Small Señor," she is heard practicing her pronunciation of the Spanish word "sonriente," which translates into "smiling" or "flirty." (The bit is 12 seconds long.)


Songs

1. "My Small Señor" In The Regional Music Charts
"My Small Señor" was a strong 1950 regional hit for Peggy Lee. Evidence can be found in two of Cash Box's regional charts, one of them called Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports and the other Poll Of The Nation's Top 10 Juke Box Tunes.

Two radio stations reported that Lee's recording had reached top 10 status: KWKW in Pasadena, California (#4 for the week ending February 11) and WJHP in Jacksonville, Florida (#9 for the week ending February 18).

"My Small Señor" did even better in the jukebox market. It reached the #1 position in three cities: Worcester, Massachusetts (March 4), St. Louis, Missouri (March 11), and Jacksonville, Florida (March 25).

2. "When You Speak With Your Eyes" In The Regional Music Charts
According to Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports, this Peggy Lee recording also enjoyed some regional success. For the week ending February 11, 1950, "When Your Speak With Your Eyes" scored a #6 ranking at WHAM, in Rochester, New York.

Incidentally, the week ending February 11, 1950 was notably successful for Peggy Lee. Her recordings of "When You Speak With Your Eyes," "My Small Señor," "Sugar," and "The Old Master Painter" were all simultaneously enjoying top ten success in different regional markets (namely, four other radio stations, and also one regional jukebox survey).


Photos

1. Publicity Shot
Contributing to promote Capitol single #801, the above-shown photo of Dave Barbour and Peggy Lee was published on the February 18, 1950 issue of Cash Box magazine. It was accompanied by the following comment: "[v]ery much in a gay Latin mood, thanks to their new click record, My Small Señor, are thrust Peggy Lee and her band leader hubby dave Barbour. The novelty, causing much favorable comment, is being compared to the smash Mañana that the combination of Lee and Barbour created using the same Spanish tempo and engaging accent delivery. Disk, issued just last wee, is already causing great excitement among the nation's Capitol Records' distributors." (The alleged similarities to "Mañana" are overstated.) My apologies for being unable to provide a clearer scan of the photo. (Also seen above: the Capitol 78-rpm single.)

2. The Peggy Lee Look
Images below: Shots of the artist as she looked in 1950. The fourth comes from a magazine issue published in July of that year. The second was part of the publicity for the Paramount film Mr. Music, which premiered in December of 1950 and featured Lee in a cameo. Also publicity photos, the other two are undated. I have given them a 1950 date on the basis of Lee's coiffure and accessories.






1950


Date: March 13, 1950
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1659

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Dave Barbour (con), Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 5639-6Master Take (Capitol) Once Around The Moon - 2:26(Bob Hilliard, Carl Sigman) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 45961 & F 961 — {Cry, Cry, Cry / Once Around The Moon}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1603 - P 1604 — Basic Music Library [11 Peggy Lee vocals, 2 of them from a duet single with Mel Torme]   (1950)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 82680 2 7 — The Best Of The Singles Collection    (2003)
Mastercuts Public Domain CDMcutcd 27 — The Essential Peggy Lee   (2007)
Starbucks Coffee Licensed CD509996 — Come Rain Or Come Shine ("Opus Collection" Series)   (2010)
[unknown label] CDunknown — Peggy Lee ("Female Singers Collection")   
b. 5640-4Master Take (Capitol) Cry, Cry, Cry - 2:49(Wilton Moore aka Vaughn Monroe, Sunny Skylar) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 45961 & F 961 — {Cry, Cry, Cry / Once Around The Moon}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1603 - P 1604 — Basic Music Library [11 Peggy Lee vocals, 2 of them from a duet single with Mel Torme]   (1950)
Mastercuts Public Domain CDMcutcd 27 — The Essential Peggy Lee   (2007)
c. 5667-3Master Take (Capitol) Helpless - 2:22(Roy Wells) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 451161 & F 1161 — {Helpless / Lover Come Back To Me}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1725 - P 1276 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1950)
d. 5668-3Master Take (Capitol) They Can't Take That Away From Me - 2:29(George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin)
CAPITOL Jazz CD0777 7 97826 2 8 — MISS PEGGY LEE    (1998)
Tim International Public Domain CD(Germany) 220838 [220839-220843] — A Nightingale Can Sing The Blues ("Document" Series)   (2004)
Weton-Wesgram Public Domain CDVow 209 — Peggy Lee ("Voices Of The World" Series)   (2005)
All titles on: CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)


Masters And Studio Chatter

1. "Helpless"
The Capitol set The Singles Collection includes a very brief spoken bit (:15) from this date. Peggy Lee is heard saying that "Helpless" is a tune that jumps.


Arrangements

1. Source
With the exception of "They Can't Take That Away From Me," arrangements for this session's performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The library is the source for the above-indicated credits to Heinie Beau.


Date: June 16, 1950
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1782

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 6139-3Master Take (Capitol) The Cannonball Express - 2:19(Clifford F. Ferre, Al Jacobs, Jack K. Pleiss) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 451450 & F 1450 — {The Cannonball Express/ That Ol' Devil (Won't Get Me)}   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1867 - P 1868 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
CAPITOL (10") LP(United Kingdom) Lc 6584 — Capitol Presents ... Peggy Lee   (1953)
b. 6140-5Master Take (Capitol) Show Me The Way To Get Out Of This World - 2:05(Matt Dennis, Les Clark) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 451105 & F 1105 — {Show Me The Way To Get Out Of This World / Happy Music}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1725 - P 1276 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1785 - P 1786 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
c. 6141-4Master Take (Capitol) Happy Music - 2:29(Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour)
CAPITOL 78 & 451105 & F 1105 — {Show Me The Way To Get Out Of This World / Happy Music}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1725 - P 1276 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1785 - P 1786 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
d. 6142-3Master Take (Capitol) Don't Give Me A Ring On The Telephone (Until You Give Me A Ring On My Hand) - 1:37(Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
e. 6148-2Master Take (Capitol) Lover, Come Back To Me - 2:48(Oscar Hammerstein II, Sigmund Romberg)
CAPITOL 78 & 451161 & F 1161 — {Helpless / Lover Come Back To Me}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1725 - P 1276 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1950)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13437 — {Lover, Come Back To Me / Crazy, He Calls Me} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)






Songs

1. "Show Me The Way Out Of This World" In The Music Charts
Peggy Lee's 25th solo hit entered the charts during the week of August 26, 1950 and, according to Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories, 1890-1954, reached a #28 position. No other versions of this Matt Dennis composition are known to have made the charts.


Masters

1. Total Of Masters
2. "Lover, Come Back To Me"
Curiously, this date has a total of five masters, instead of the customary three or four. I am left to wonder if the fifth performance was not originally planned.

I imagine that this lively, exciting rendition of "Lover, Come Back To Me" reflects the manner in which Lee was regularly performing the song in concerts at the time. Perhaps the live rendition had been so enthusiastically received that Barbour and Lee decided to recreate it in the studio.

3. Masters' Sequence
Moreover, the fifth master (#6148) breaks the sequential order of the other masters (#6139 - #6142). The simplest possible explanation for this sequential jump to 6148 is that numbers 6143 to 6147 had already been reserved. The Capitol Label Discography support such an explanation: it shows that numbers 6144 to 6146 were given to an Earl Grant date that was recorded on the same day as Lee's. (As for masters #6143 and #6147, the latter was assigned to a performance from a Paris-recorded session by Guy Luypaerts And His Orchestra. The former was left unused -- or, if it was used, the song that it contained must have been erased).


Arrangements

1. Source
For all but one of this session's five performances, the arrangements are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The one exception is "Lover, Come Back To Me," which might have a head arrangement. In the cases of "Happy Music" and "Don't Give Me A Ring On The Telephone," the library's scores do not identify the arranger.


Date: September 13, 1950
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1907

Peggy Lee (ldr), Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 6589-2Master Take (Capitol) If I Could Steal You From Somebody Else - 1:57(Redd Evans) / arr: Richard "Dick" Hazard
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
b. 6590-5Master Take (Capitol) Life Is So Peculiar - 2:35(Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 451244 & F 1244 — {Life Is So Peculiar / Once In A Lifetime}   (1950)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13416 — {'Deed I Do [not released as a single in the USA] / Life Is So Peculiar}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1725 - P 1276 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1950)
c. 6591-7Master Take (Capitol) Ay, Ay, Chug A Chug - 3:14(Leon Pober) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 451298 & F 1298 — {Ay, Ay, Chug A Chug / Where Are You?}   (1950)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13471 — {Ay, Ay, Chug A Chug / My Small Señor} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1785 - P 1786 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
Sepia Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 1055 — Songs From ... The Jazz Singer {Danny Thomas, Peggy Lee}   (2005)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)


Masters And Issues

1. "If I Could Steal You From Somebody Else"
2. The Lost '40's & 50's Capitol Masters [CD]
"If I Could Steal You From Somebody Else" made its debut in 2008, as part of the excellent 2CD set The Lost '40's & 50's Capitol Masters. Unfortunately, this particular track suffers from a significant problem. The performance cuts a few lines before it ends. It is not known if this is a master tape defect or an error made by the set's master engineer.


Songs And Arrangements

1. "Ay Ay Chug A Chug" In The Regional Music Charts
According to Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports, Peggy Lee's recording of this self-penned novelty grabbed the attention of listeners at WNOR, in Norfolk, Virginia. It ranked #2 during the week ending January 13, 1951, when Guy Mitchell's version of "My Heart Cries For You" held the top spot. For the week of February 10, Peggy Lee's number was placing at #5 in the station's top ten.

2. "The One I Love"
3. "The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else"
4. "If I Could Still You From Somebody Else" And "The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else"
Capitol's library of music scores lists an arrangement of a song titled "The One I Love." The arrangement was made by Richard Hazard for Peggy Lee, but no Lee master of it is listed anywhere, and nothing else is known about the prospective performance. Unless it was left unlisted and is currently lost in the vaults, it might have never been recorded.

Since no performance exists, I can only speculate about the identity of the song in question.

"The One I Love" is the title of a Jurmann-Kahn-Kaper number that was sung by Allan Jones in the 1938 movie Everybody Sing, co-starring Judy Garland. ("The one I love is coming along someday / And I'll have none except the one I love / He may be near or ever so far away / But I'll have none except the one I love ...... And through the night I pray to the moon above / To please be kind and find the one I love.")

This title could also be an abbreviation of the well-known standard "The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else," by Isham Jones and Gus Khan. ("... He means her tender songs for somebody else / And even when I have my arms around him / I know his thoughts are strong for somebody else ...")

Notice that this session features a song whose title is partially similar to "The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else": "If I Could Steal You From Somebody Else." The similarity leads me to ponder if the original plan was to create a two-song medley. Such a possibility could explain why the master of "If I Could Steal You From Somebody Else" cuts abruptly.

Then again, this possibility seems far-fetched because Lee did not record any other medleys during these years. Moreover, I have no knowledge of when the arrangement was made. Given the credit to Hazard, plans to record it could have been made as early as this session and as late as the mid-1960s.

Still, the title similarity could hint, if not at a medley, at an intent to also record "The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else" during this date, which generated three instead of the maximum of four songs.

For another arrangement that, like "The One I Love," resulted in no extant master, see notes under session dated November 16, 1949.

5. Source (Arrangements)
The arrangements for this session's three performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The library is the source for the above-indicated arranger credits.


Date: September 14, 1950
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #1912

Peggy Lee (ldr), Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Unknown (b, str, p, d), Peggy Lee (v), The Jud Conlon Choir (bkv)

a. 6607-7Master Take (Capitol) Where Are You? - 3:01(Jimmy McHugh, Harold Adamson) / arr: Richard "Dick" Hazard
CAPITOL 78 & 451298 & F 1298 — {Ay, Ay, Chug A Chug / Where Are You?}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1785 - P 1786 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
CAPITOL (10") LP(United Kingdom) Lc 6584 — Capitol Presents ... Peggy Lee   (1953)
b. 6608-8Master Take (Capitol) Once In A Lifetime - 2:46(Mel Torme, Robert Wells) / arr: Richard "Dick" Hazard
CAPITOL 78 & 451244 & F 1244 — {Life Is So Peculiar / Once In A Lifetime}   (1950)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1725 - P 1276 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1950)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
c. 6609-3Master Take (Capitol) Something To Remember You By - 2:51(Harold Dietz, Arthur Schwartz) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)





At The Session

1. Stan Kenton
2. Maynard Ferguson
The September 30, 1950 issue of Billboard magazine contains this lighthearted tidbit: Does Stan Kenton play loud? Peggy Lee showed up for a Capitol recording session last week to find all the amplifiers at the diskery's studio had been blown out. Kenton had recorded just prior to that." The tidbit itself bears a September 23 date, thereby making it likely that the Lee session in question is the present one (#1912) or, otherwise, her preceding session (#1907). Kenton's September sessions took place on the 12th (#1904), 13th (#1905), and 14th (#1910).

The last two dates actually featured no playing from Stan Kenton. They did feature his band, though, with his trumpet player, the enticingly loud Maynard Ferguson, leading the pack. Among the eight numbers recorded at those Ferguson dates were "Take The A Train" and "Short Wave" (both on the 13th), "Santa Lucia" and "Pagliacci" (on the 14th).


Photos

To further honor the bandleader and the anecdote provide above, here are Stan Kenton and Peggy Lee caught in the same shot, along with Johnny Mercer and Martha Tilton. The photo is actually from a few years earlier -- New Year's Eve, 1945, or December 31, 1944, or thereabouts. Also seen above is an advertisement promoting various Capitol singles, including one from this Peggy Lee session ("Once In A Lifetime") and another recorded by Nat King Cole in conjunction with Stan Kenton ("Orange Colored Sky," which Lee would eventually tackle as well, on the radio).


Songs And Songwriters

1. "Once In A Lifetime"
2. Ambroise Thomas
The melody of "Once In A Lifetime" is strongly reminiscent of a theme by the French composer Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896), best remembered for his opera Mignon. (My thanks to Michael J. White for first alerting me to the similarity.) See also notes about the song "I Hear The Music Now," under Decca session dated December 16, 1952.


Arrangements

1. Source
The arrangements for this session's three performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The library is the source for each of the above-indicated credits to Heinie Beau and Dick Hazard.


Date: December 26, 1950
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #2008

Peggy Lee (ldr), Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 6916-10Master Take (Capitol) The Mill On The Floss - 2:26(Mack David, Jay Livingston) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 451366 & F 1366 — {Climb Up The Mountain / The Mill On The Floss}   (1951)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13489 — {The Mill On The Floss / Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1867 - P 1868 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
b. 6937-9Master Take (Capitol) Climb Up The Mountain - 2:45(Cole Porter) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 451366 & F 1366 — {Climb Up The Mountain / The Mill On The Floss}   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1867 - P 1868 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
Asv/Living Era Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) Aja 266 — It's A Good Day; 50 Original Mono Recordings, 1941-1951   (2002)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
c. 6938-5Master Take (Capitol) Pick Up Your Marbles And Go Home - 2:37(Steve Nelson, Roy Alfred) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)


Masters

1. Sequential Order
This session's first master bears a number (6916) which is significantly lower than the other two master numbers (6937 and 6938). When I first noticed it, I suspected that a typo accounted for the discrepancy (i.e., #6936 had been inadvertently turned into #6916). But, after double-checking Capitol's files and, more recently, the Capitol Label Discography, I have corroborated that 6916 is indeed the correct number. A look at other Capitol sessions from the last months of 1950 show that the case under discussion is not exceptional: quite a few master numbers from that period are out of sequential order.


Songs

1. "Climb Up The Mountain" In The Regional Music Charts
According to Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports, Peggy Lee's recording of "Climb Up The Mountain" reached top ten status at two radio stations: St. Louis' KXOK (#8 for the week ending January 13, 1951) and Denver's WKYR (#10 for the week ending March 3, 1951; #7 for the week ending March 24, 1951).


Arrangements

1. Source
The arrangements for this session's three performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The library is the source for the credit to Heinie Beau.


Photos

1. The Peggy Lee Look
Images below: Shots of the artist as she looked in 1951. The first is a candid taken at the Cocoanut Grove and published in a January 1951 magazine issue. The second, a publicity agency photo, has a March 12, 1951 date attached to it. The third formed part of the publicity for the show TV's Top Tunes, which aired during the summer of 1951. The fourth was used as the cover of a magazine issue published in August of 1951.






1951


Date: February 8, 1951
Location: Capitol Recording Studio, 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #2053

Peggy Lee (ldr), Louis Prima and His Orchestra (acc), Jim Wynn (sax), Peggy Lee (v), Benny Carter, Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 7121-12Master Take (Capitol) Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! - 2:14(Milton Kabak, Louis Prima) / arr: Benny Carter
CAPITOL 78 & 451428 / F 1428 — {Yeah, Yeah, Yeah / Rock Me To Sleep}   (1951)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13489 — {The Mill On The Floss / Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1785 - P 1786 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
b. 7122-4Master Take (Capitol) Rock Me To Sleep - 2:16(Benny Carter, Paul Vandervoort II) / arr: Benny Carter
CAPITOL 78 & 451428 / F 1428 — {Yeah, Yeah, Yeah / Rock Me To Sleep}   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1785 - P 1786 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Disky Licensed CD(Netherlands) Si 903647 /Cb 904361 — Here's Peggy Lee ("The Here's Series," Volume 1)   (2006)
CAPITOL©Telefunken 78(Germany) C 80164 — {Rock Me To Sleep / Come On A-My House [vocal by Kay Starr]} [Different pairing that in USA and UK singles]   
c. 7123-5Master Take (Capitol) That Ol' Devil Won't Get Me - 2:29(Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78 & 451450 & F 1450 — {The Cannonball Express/ That Ol' Devil (Won't Get Me)}   (1951)
Sepia Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 1055 — Songs From ... The Jazz Singer {Danny Thomas, Peggy Lee}   (2005)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
All titles on: Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1867 - P 1868 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)


Songs

1. "Ev'rytime" In The Regional Music Charts
According to Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports, Peggy Lee's version of "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" spent two weeks (March 10 & 17, 1951) in the #7 slot of WCKY's countdown. (WCKY was a radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio). During the week ending April 21, 1951. Lee's recording of "Yeah! Yea! yeah!" also became the 2nd most played number in the jukeboxes of Fertile, Minnesota. (The #1 spot was held by the suitably called Pinetoppers, with their version of "Mockin' Bird Hill.")

2. "Rock Me To Sleep" In The Regional Music Charts
According to the same aforementioned Cash Box chart, Peggy Lee's version of "Rock Me To Sleep" became the 10th most requested song in Birmingham, Alabama's WGSN during the week ending March 31, 1951. Then, for the week ending April 21, 1951, it held the #9 position at WINX, a radio station in Washington, D. C.


Personnel

1. Louis Prima
2. Benny Carter
3. Jim Wynn
There is conflicting data about the backing of this session. Whereas Peggy Lee's Capitol session file identifies the band as "Louis Prima and His Orchestra," The Capitol Label Discography states that "artist file lists backing band as Benny Carter and his orchestra." (Curiously, one of the songs recorded at the date was written by Prima, and another by Carter.)

A third source of information is a review published on the April 6, 1951 issue of Downbeat magazine. The review states that Capitol single #1428 ("Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" / "Rock Me To Sleep") features "backing by a mixed crew headed by Jim Wynn, local saxman & leader." One of Lee's biographers makes mention of a corroborating article, found in the February 14, 1951 issue of Billboard magazine. Capitol "used an all-Negro jazz group, led by Jim Wynn," the Billboard reporter declares, "in an effort to set off her pipings with a rough 'n' ready backdrop."

Since I have no official personnel data for this date, I cannot categorically assert which of these accounts is accurate. For discographical purposes, I have believed the press' claim that Wynn was present. At the present time, my suspicion is that all three men were present, with Carter in charge of the overall proceedings. In my hypothetical scenario, Carter would have ceded leadership position to Prima during "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" only, and Prima would have been present only for that number.

But, until further official documentation comes forward, Prima's involvement in the session cannot be ascertained. (For what is worth, there is proof that Prima and Lee did work together around this time. They did so on the radio: he guested in five episodes of her 1951-1952 radio series. In fact, Prima's five guest turns grant him the distinction of being the solo act to make the highest number of appearances in the year-long show.)

Until further official documentation comes forward, Carter's presence in this session must be deemed tentative as well. It's worth noting that Ed Berger's discography of Benny Carter does not list this Peggy Lee session among those which Carter conducted. This Lee session is, on the other hand, listed in Louis Prima's discography at his official site, where he is declared the date's leader and trumpet player.


Masters

1. "That Ol' Devil Won't Get Me"
2. Double-tracking
In some parts of master #7123, Lee's voice is double-tracked, thereby creating the effect that she is singing and speaking with herself.


Arrangements

1. Source
The arrangements for this session's three performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The library is the source for the above-given credits to Heinie Beau and Benny Carter.





Date: April 5, 1951
Location: probably WMGM Radio Studio, 711 5th Avenue , New York
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #2076

Peggy Lee (ldr), Sid Feller (con), Sid Feller and His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 6283-6Master Take (Capitol) If You Turn Me Down (Dee-own, Down, Down) - 2:20(Peter DeRose, Carl Sigman) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78 & 451544 & F1544 — {If You Turn Me Down / Boulevard Cafe}   (1951)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13592 — {It Never Happen'd To Me / If You Turn Me Down} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1906 - P 1907 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
Sepia Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 1055 — Songs From ... The Jazz Singer {Danny Thomas, Peggy Lee}   (2005)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
b. 6284-6Master Take (Capitol) He's Only Wonderful - 3:14(Sammy Fain, Erwin 'Yip' Harburg) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78 & 451513 & F1513 — {He's Only Wonderful / It Never Happen' To Me}   (1951)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Disky Licensed CD(Netherlands) Si 903647 /Cb 904361 — Here's Peggy Lee ("The Here's Series," Volume 1)   (2006)
c. 6285-5Master Take (Capitol) Boulevard Café - 2:36(Ray Noble) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78 & 451544 & F1544 — {If You Turn Me Down / Boulevard Cafe}   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1906 - P 1907 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio & Television Service 16" Transcription DiscProgram No. 349 — Jukebox U.S.A. [Woody Herman, Herb Jeffries, Artie Shaw, Others]   (1952)
Sepia Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 1055 — Songs From ... The Jazz Singer {Danny Thomas, Peggy Lee}   (2005)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
d. 6286-4Master Take (Capitol) It Never Happen' To Me - 2:26(Joe Elly) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78 & 451513 & F1513 — {He's Only Wonderful / It Never Happen' To Me}   (1951)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13592 — {It Never Happen'd To Me / If You Turn Me Down} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
Sepia Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 1055 — Songs From ... The Jazz Singer {Danny Thomas, Peggy Lee}   (2005)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)


Personnel

1. Sid Feller
In the early 1950s, Sid Feller was the A&R executive in charge of the sessions that Capitol vocalists held in the New York area. The importance of his position can be gleaned from a Billboard article published on April 17, 1954. The article refers to the "loophole" that had been left by " Sid Feller's leaving the firm" and explains a "rotation scheme" that Capitol vice-president Alan Livingston is enacting to solve the matter. The scheme involved monthly New York stays of each of the label's LA-based pop A&R men (Lee Gillette, Dave Dexter, Voyle Gilmore), on a rotation basis. In addition to "see[ing] publishers and mak[ing] records" while in the Big Apple, the three A&R men's prospective duties are identified as follows: "[s]ince Capitol a.&r. men are assigned specific artists, the rotation scheme means that the a.&r. man visiting New York for his month will have a double job. He will pick material for his own artists as well as for artists based here and formerly handled by Eastern staff. in addition, he will select material for other artists to be sent to the Coast."


Songs

1. "If You Turn Me Down" In The Regional Music Charts
According to Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports, Peggy Lee's recording of "If You Turn Me Down" became the 10th most requested song in Detroit, Michigan's WJBK during the week ending June 23, 1951. Then, for the week ending July 21, 1951, it held the #8 position at WAAT, a radio station in Newark, New Jersey.

2. "It Never Happen' To Me" In The Regional Music Charts
According to Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports, this conceptual successor to "Mañana" spent the week ending June 9, 1951 in the #9 position at WHOD, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Arrangements

1. Source
The arrangements for this session's four performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. The library is the source for the arranging credits to Sid Feller that are given above.


Location

The documentation at hand states that New York was the city in which the session too place, but the venue is not identified. WMGM Radio Studio is an educated guess of mine, based on various reports that allude to that studio as the one where Capitol held its pre-1953 New York sessions. The studio had originally belonged to NBC. WMGM took over it in the mid-1940s, but did not start using it regularly until 1948. (Columbia Pictures bought it from MGM in 1956.)

One of the reports that I consulted indicate that Capitol used the 711 5th Avenue studio for at least its jazz-oriented sessions. Other reports state that the record company used the studio for all its sessions. One additional source states that, before the late 1940s, New York's Capitol had been using WMGM's previous studio facilities -- probably Loew's State Theatre, 1540 Broadway. (While at the Loew's Theatre, the station bore the call letters WHN; the change to WMGM happened when the station moved to 711 5th Avenue.)

The above-mentioned reports seem to be somewhat in line with discographical details given by well-researched releases such as Bear Family Records' Ella Mae Morse boxed set Barrelhouse, Boogie And The Blues, in which all her New York sessions from 1942 to 1957 are listed as taking place at MGM. (Bear Family does not provide full address, however. If their data is accurate, then two studios would be at play -- the one at 711 5th Avenue, and the one owned by WMGM before that one. I have doubts about their data's full accuracy, however. My doubts come from the fact that 1953-1957 sessions are listed as having taken place at WMGM studios. Elsewhere, post 1953 sessions by all Capitol artists are listed as taking place at the label's own studio -- at least until 1971.)


Date: May 16, 1951 (5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; First Of Two Sessions)
Location: Capitol Melrose Studios, 5515 Melrose, Hollywood
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #2172

Peggy Lee (ldr), Billy May And His Orchestra (acc), Ed Kusby aka Edward Kuczborski (tb), Vincent Terri (g), Don Whitaker (b), Paul Smith (p), Tommy Romersa (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 7564-15Master Take (Capitol) So Far, So Good - 3:02(Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Jule Styne) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78 & 451586 & F 1586 — {My Magic Heart / So Far, So Good}   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio & Television Service 16" Transcription DiscProgram No. 201 — Jukebox U.S.A. [Perry Como, Tony Martin, Dinah Shore, Others]   (1951)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
b. 7565-9Master Take (Capitol) Tonight You Belong To Me - 3:06(Lee David, Billy Rose) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78 & 451573 & F 1573 — {(When I Dance With You) I Get Ideas / Tonight You Belong To Me}   (1951)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Delta's Xtra Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) 20050501 — Blues In The Night   (2005)
Disky Licensed CD(Netherlands) Si 903647 /Cb 904361 — Here's Peggy Lee ("The Here's Series," Volume 1)   (2006)
Destra Entertainment's Payless Public Domain CD(Australia) 9 317206 0 18335 — Sentimental Journey {Doris Day, Peggy Lee}   (2007)
Both titles on: Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1906 - P 1907 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)


Songs

1. "Tonight You Belong To Me" In The Regional Music Charts
The flip side of Capitol single 1573 found favor at WNOR in Norfolk, Virginia, where it enjoyed a #5 position and a non-consecutive two-week stay within the top ten (weeks ending June 30 and August 4, 1951). Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports is the source for this piece of information.


Arrangements

My two sources for this session's arranging credits are in discrepancy. Capitol's library of music scores gives authorship to Billy May, yet Jack Mirtle's The Music Of Billy May: A Discography identifies Sid Feller instead. Since Mirtle worked closely with Billy May, I suspect that May might have explained that he was only the nominal arranger, and that Feller was the actual arranger. Whichever the case may be, arranging credits for this session must be deemed tentative.


Dating

Peggy Lee's Capitol file erroneously gives May 17 as this session's date. May 16 is the correct date. The error was first pointed out by Billy May discographer Jack Mirtle, after he checked the session's contract report at the American Federation of Musicians.


Date: May 16, 1951 (8:30 p.m.- 12:30 a.m.; Second Of Two Sessions)
Location: Capitol Melrose Studios, 5515 Melrose, Hollywood
Label: CAPITOL

Peggy Lee (ldr), Billy May And His Orchestra (acc), John Hacker, Jules Jacob[s], Jules Kinsler (r), John Graas (frh), Laurindo Almeida, Jose Oliveira (g), Meyer Rubin (b), Don Ferris (p), Kathryn Thompson (hrp), Joe Guerrero (d), Harry Bluestone aka Blostein, Ben Gill, Henry Hill, Lou Raderman, Mischa Russell, Felix Slatkin (vn), Cy Bernard, Eleanor Slatkin (vc), Peggy Lee (v), The Jud Conlon Singers (bkv)

a. 7566-11Master Take (Capitol) (When I Dance With You) I Get Ideas - 2:08(Lenny Sanders, Dorcas Cochran) / arr: Billy May
CAPITOL 78 & 451573 & F 1573 — {(When I Dance With You) I Get Ideas / Tonight You Belong To Me}   (1951)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13609 — {(When I Dance With You) I Get Ideas / Don't Fan The Flame} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
CAPITOL (10") LPH 9101 — [Various Artists] Today's Top Hits By Today's Top Artists, Volume 1   (1951)
b. 7567-2Master Take (Capitol) I Love You But I Don't Like You - 2:29(Henry J. "Heinie" Beau, Peggy Lee) / arr: Harold "Hal" Mooney
CAPITOL 78 & 451749 / F 1749 — {Wandering Swallow / I Love You But I Don't Like You}   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2103 - P 2104 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Delta's Xtra Public Domain CD(United Kingdom) 20050501 — Blues In The Night   (2005)
Disky Licensed CD(Netherlands) Si 903647 /Cb 904361 — Here's Peggy Lee ("The Here's Series," Volume 1)   (2006)
c. 7572-5Master Take (Capitol) My Magic Heart - 2:10(Don Marcotte, Abner Spector) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78 & 451586 & F 1586 — {My Magic Heart / So Far, So Good}   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1906 - P 1907 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
d. 7573-10Master Take (Capitol) Wandering Swallow - 2:52(Harold Stevens, Irving Taylor) / arr: Billy May
CAPITOL 78 & 451749 / F 1749 — {Wandering Swallow / I Love You But I Don't Like You}   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2103 - P 2104 — Basic Music Library [6 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1951)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Disky Licensed CD(Netherlands) Si 903647 /Cb 904361 — Here's Peggy Lee ("The Here's Series," Volume 1)   (2006)
CAPITOL©EMI CD(Korea) 8806344820326 — The Very Best Of Peggy Lee; The Capitol Years   (2006)
Megaphon (Mpo Entertainment) Public Domain CD(France) Mpo 96216 — Peggy Lee ("Les Plus Grandes Voix Du Jazz: Classic American Music" Boxed Set)   





Photos

The July 1951 issue of Capitol News features Peggy Lee on its front cover, which also highlights several numbers from her repertoire. Those include "(When I Dance With You) I Get Ideas" and "My Magic Heart," both from the present date. The former is listed in Capitol advertisement (along with its flip side, "Tonight You Belong To Me") as one of the label's "popular hits" for the month of October 1951.


Songs

1. "(When I Dance With You) I Get Ideas" In The Music Charts
This suggestive bolero was adapted from the Argentine tango "Adiós, muchachos." Peggy Lee's version entered Billboard's charts during the week of September 8, 1951 and, according to Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories, 1890-1954, peaked at #8. Lee's competition (all-male, as it had been on various previous occasions) did better than her this time around. RCA's Tony Martin had a sizable hit with his version, which came out before hers, and went on to spend 30 weeks in the chart, peaking at #3. Furthermore, Louis Armstrong's saucy-sounding combination of "(When We Are Dancing) I Get Ideas" and "A Kiss To Build A Dream On" resulted in a double-charting Decca hit, with Satchmo's "Ideas" peaking at #10.

In Cash Box's charts, the combined strength of the versions by Tony Martin, Peggy Lee, and Louis Armstrong resulted in impressive scores. It collected a 36-week total at the Disc-Hits Box Score, where it remained at its #2 peak during the weeks ending October 13 & 20, 1951. The Poll Of The Nation's Top 10 Juke Box Tunes shows it stubbornly spending five consecutive weeks at #3 (September 29 to October 27, 1951) and an 18-week total in that chart. The main impediment for the attainment of the #1 position in both charts was the popularity of Tony Bennett that year, with his versions of "Because Of You" and "Cold, Cold Heart," as well as the other artists who had recorded competing versions of those two songs. Further challenges were posed by the number "It's No Sin," best known as recorded by The Four Aces and Eddy Howard.

Cash Box magazine's regional chart make it evident that, while Tony Martin had the smash, all three versions achieved significant popularity. Peggy Lee's version is listed in the top 10 of ten radio stations, scoring a #4 on several of them, and a #3 at one in particular ( WLIZ in Bridgeport, Connecticut, week ending October 27, 1951).

"I Get Ideas" was Lee's 26th Billboard hit for Capitol Records. It was also her last hit before she moved to Decca Records. (She would, however, return to Capitol five years later, and would henceforth generate more hits for the record label.)

The flip side of Capitol single 1573 also found some listeners' favor in certain radio markets. See notes under previous session.

2. "Wandering Swallow" In The Regional Music Charts
According to Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports, Peggy Lee's recording of "Wandering Swallow" reached the #9 position at WMMW in Meriden, Connecticut and the #6 position at WJMR in New Orleans, Louisiana. Both placements were attained during the week ending September 8, 1951. For the week ending September 29, 1951, it continued to find favor at WJMR, earning the #6 slot.


Arrangements

1. Sources
2. Billy May
3. Harold Mooney
3. Sid Feller
There is partial disagreement among the various sources for this session's arranging credits. The disagreement is over two of the arrangements.

In Capitol's library of music scores, "I Love You But I Don't Like You" is credited to Harold Mooney and "My Magic Heart" is credited to Sid Feller. Those two credits are reversed in Jack Mirtle's The Music Of Billy May: A Discography.

To further complicate matters, an extant arrangement of "I Love You But I Don't Like You" credits neither Mooney nor Feller. The arrangement, kept at Peggy Lee's sheet music library, credits Billy May.

Faced with the need to choose among those options, I have tentatively favored the credits given by Capitol's library. Readers must bear in mind that, should additional date come forth, there might be changes in the future.

All my sources agree that Billy May did the session's other arrangements ("I Get Ideas," "Wandering Swallow").


Date: July 10, 1951
Location: probably WMGM Radio Studio, 711 5th Avenue, New York
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #2202

Peggy Lee (ldr), Sid Feller (con), Sid Feller and His Orchestra (acc), Buck Clayton, Bernie Privin (t), Warren Covington, Lou McGarity, Buddy Morrow (tb), Barry Galbraith (g), Joe Shulman (b), Joe Lewis (p), William Exiner (d), Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé (v)

a. 7294Master Take (Capitol) Don't Fan The Flame - 2:26(Harold H. Dickinson, Jr., John M. "Jack" Elliot) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13609 — {(When I Dance With You) I Get Ideas / Don't Fan The Flame} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1951)
CAPITOL©EMI CD(United Kingdom) 0777 7 9 9426 2 6 — [Mel Tormé] Mel Tormé ("The Best Of The Capitol Years" Series)   (1995)
Disky Licensed CD(Netherlands) 88573 — [Mel Tormé] Mel Tormé ("A Touch Of Class" Series)   (1998)
b. 7295Master Take (Capitol) Telling Me Yes, Telling Me No - 3:03(Frank Barbaro, John M. "Jack" Elliot, Larry Shayne aka Ray Joseph) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78(Philippines) 1712 (Phil 3) — {Telling Me Yes, Telling Me No / The One For Me (Mel Tormé solo)}   (1951)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
Both titles on: CAPITOL 78 & 451738 & F 1738 — {Don't Fan The Flame / Telling Me Yes, Telling Me No}   (1951)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 1961 - P 1962 — Basic Music Library [6 Mel Tormé vocals, 2 of them with Peggy Lee]   (1951)


Personnel

1. Peggy Lee with Mel Tormé
This was one of two Capitol sessions in which singers Peggy Lee and Mel Tormé got together to record duets. For the other one, see session dated November 16, 1949. See also November 11, 1949 session.

2. Producer (Dave Cavanaugh?)
3. Engineer (Frank Abbey?)
For the sources of these tentatively entered names, see Location notes below (second paragraph).


Songs And Songwriters

1. "Telling Me Yes, Telling Me No"
Some sources give this song's titles nas "Telling Me Yes, Telling Me No" whereas others claim it to be "Telling Me Yes And Telling Me No." To judge from an internet listing, the sheet music may offer a third alternative, "Telling Me Yes - Telling Me No."

A listening of Lee's and Tormé's vocal supports the use of comma, and the exclusion of the conjunction. The third edition of The Catalogue Of Copyright Entries presents that same spelling.


Location

The documentation at hand pinpoints New York as the city in which the present session took place. Unfortunately, the name of the venue is not given.

My identification of WMGM Radio Studio as said venue is an educated guess. Capitol is known to have held most of its pre-1953 New York sessions there. It was leased space. (In 1953, the label acquired its own Manhattan studio, at 151 West 46th Street.)

A few words about the studio's history. Located at 711 5th Avenue in Manhattan, it had once belonged to NBC. WMGM took over the premises in the mid-1940s, and began to officially use the audio in September 1948.

At the time in which this New York session took place, Capitol was making a concert effort to increase its presence in Manhattan. Between July and September of this year, its sales department moved from Hollywood to Gotham. Several Hollywood acts were encouraged to hold sessions in New York, too, while visiting. The June 30, 1951 issue of Billboard magazine elaborates on the matter:

"As part of the West Coast diskery's announced program to emphasize its Eastern operation, Capitol Records has set a heavy recording schedule here and enlarged its local engineering staff. At least 10 of the label's top artists will all be waxed here by Eastern a. and r. chief Dave Cavanaugh in dates skedded for July 4. Set for waxing in the East are Dean Martin, Jan Garber Ork, Mel Tormé , Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly, the Martin and Lewis team, Peggy Lee, Pee Wee Hunt and two newly signed artists being held under wraps. Local engineering staff took on two additional men and named Frank Abbey to handle the dials on waxing sessions. Abbey replaces Clair Krepps, who resigned recently."


Date: December 17, 1951
Location: probably WMGM Radio Studio, 711 5th Avenue, New York
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #2226

Peggy Lee (ldr), Sid Feller and His Orchestra (acc), Peggy Lee (v), Other Individuals Unknown (unk)

a. 7773-11Master Take (Capitol) I Love The Way You're Breaking My Heart - 3:03(Louis Alter, Milton Drake)
CAPITOL CD72435 27564 2 1 — RARE GEMS AND HIDDEN TREASURES [aka Capitol's Collectors Series, Vol. 2]   (2000)
b. 7774-9Master Take (Capitol) Shame On You - 2:33(Donnell C. "Spade" Cooley) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78 & 451926 & F 1926 — {Shame On You / Would You Dance With A Stranger?}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2327 - P 2328 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
Sepia Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 1055 — Songs From ... The Jazz Singer {Danny Thomas, Peggy Lee}   (2005)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
c. 7775-10Master Take (Capitol) Would You Dance With A Stranger? - 2:13(Giovanni D'Anzi, Ray Miller) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78 & 451926 & F 1926 — {Shame On You / Would You Dance With A Stranger?}   (1952)
CAPITOL 78(United Kingdom) Cl 13685 — {While We're Young / Would You Dance With A Stranger?} [Different pairing than in USA singles]   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2327 - P 2328 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)





Photos

Two of this session's numbers have noteworthy cinematic connections. "I Love The Way You're Breaking My Heart" remained a very obscure Peggy Lee recording until it was picked for the soundtrack of the 2006 HBO movie Bernard And Doris. Upon hearing it, many movie watchers sought out her recording. Back in 1985, the British film Dance With A Stranger used the song "Would You Dance With A Stranger?" as the theme of its soundtrack. The film's star, Miranda Richardson, sings it on the movie. British singer Mari Wilson then recorded the song for commercial release, in a version that is evidently a copy of Peggy Lee's original recording, both vocally and musically.


Songwriters

1. "Would You Dance With A Stranger?"
2. Alfredo Bracchi
Capitol single #1926 credits "Would You Dance With A Stranger?" to Ray Miller and Giovanni D'Anzi only. ASCAP credits a third person, lyricist Alfredo Bracchi. I assume that Bracchi, known for his partnership with D'Anzi in Italy, was responsible for an original set of Italian lyrics, and thus has no claim to the version with English lyrics.


Songs

1. "It Feels So Good"
2. "I Love The Way You Are Breaking My Heart"
I am told that a Capitol master inventory lists master #7773 as "It Feels So Good," which is merely one of the lines in the song, not its official title.


Arrangements

1. Source
Arrangements for two of this session's three performances are extant in Capitol's library of music scores and are credited to Sid Feller. The library has no arrangement of "I Love The Way You Are Breaking My Heart."


Location

The documentation at hand states that New York was the city in which the session too place, but does not indicate the exact venue. The identification of WMGM Radio Studio is an educated guess; Capitol is said to have held its pre-1953 New York sessions there. (In 1953, Capitol acquired its own studio in Manhattan, at 151 West 46th Street.) WMGM had taken over the studio at 711 5th Avenue in the mid-1940s, officially beginning to use it in September 1948, although they might have informally held sessions there at an earlier time. (The studio had previously belonged to NBC.)


Date: February 18, 1952
Location: probably WMGM Radio Studio, 711 5th Avenue, New York
Label: CAPITOL
Capitol Session #2240

Peggy Lee (ldr), Sid Feller and His Orchestra (acc), Unknown (t, g, b, p, d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 9426-16Master Take (Capitol) Goin' On A Hayride - 2:01(Ralph Blane) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL 78 & 452025 & F 2025 — {Ev'rytime / Goin' On A Hayride}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2327 - P 2328 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
Sepia Collectors' Label CD(United Kingdom) 1055 — Songs From ... The Jazz Singer {Danny Thomas, Peggy Lee}   (2005)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
b. 9427-9Master Take (Capitol) Ev'rytime - 3:03(Tony Iavello, Mel Leven)
CAPITOL 78 & 452025 & F 2025 — {Ev'rytime / Goin' On A Hayride}   (1952)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" Transcription DiscP 2327 - P 2328 — Basic Music Library [4 Peggy Lee vocals]   (1952)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Disky Licensed CD(Netherlands) Si 903647 /Cb 904361 — Here's Peggy Lee ("The Here's Series," Volume 1)   (2006)
c. 9428-6Master Take (Capitol) Let's Call It A Day - 2:56(Lew Brown, Ray Henderson) / arr: Sid Feller
CAPITOL's Starline reel/LPT 1366 — All Aglow Again!    (1960)
CAPITOL EP(United Kingdom/France) Eap 4 1366 — All Aglow Again!   (1960)
CAPITOL©EMI's Pathé Marconi CS/LP(France Pm 156 554 4/1) & (UK Eg 26 0605 4/1) — All Aglow Again! ("Retrospect" & "Nostalgia" Reissue Series)   (1985)
d. 9429-5Master Take (Capitol) Oh, Baby, Come Home - 2:56(Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour)
CAPITOL CD72435 27564 2 1 — RARE GEMS AND HIDDEN TREASURES [aka Capitol's Collectors Series, Vol. 2]   (2000)
e. 9430-5Master Take (Capitol) Whee, Baby - 2:23(Alice Larson, Peggy Lee)
CAPITOL's Starline reel/LPT 1366 — All Aglow Again!    (1960)
CAPITOL©EMI's Pathé Marconi CS/LP(France Pm 156 554 4/1) & (UK Eg 26 0605 4/1) — All Aglow Again! ("Retrospect" & "Nostalgia" Reissue Series)   (1985)
CAPITOL Jazz CD0777 7 97826 2 8 — MISS PEGGY LEE    (1998)
f. 9431-7Master Take (Capitol) Louisville Lou - 2:20(Milton Ager, Jack Yellen)
CAPITOL's Starline reel/LPT 1366 — All Aglow Again!    (1960)
CAPITOL©EMI's Pathé Marconi CS/LP(France Pm 156 554 4/1) & (UK Eg 26 0605 4/1) — All Aglow Again! ("Retrospect" & "Nostalgia" Reissue Series)   (1985)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 921 2 — ALL AGLOW AGAIN!   (2008)
World Record Club Licensed reel/LP(United Kingdom) Tt/T 606 — All Aglow Again!   


Masters

1. Contractual Obligations
The relatively high number of masters recorded during this session could be an indication that Peggy Lee was trying to fulfill a contractual quota before her imminent departure from Capitol Records.


Songs

1. "Ev'rytime" In The Regional Music Charts
According to Cash Box's Disc Jockey's Regional Record Reports, Peggy Lee's version of "Ev'rytime" became the 7th most requested song in Tampa, Florida's WFLA during the week ending May 3, 1952. Then, for the week ending May 10, 1952, it held the #10 position at WHEE, a radio station in Boston, Massachusetts.


Issues And Dating

1. All Aglow Again!
Capitol issued two of this session's six masters on a single. The other four masters were left unissued until 1960, when three of those were curiously picked up for inclusion in the album All Aglow Again!. That twelve-track album compiles numbers from Lee's singles sessions, all of them falling within her 1957-1959 period except for the ones from this 1952 date and "Mañana," which goes back to 1947.

2. The Singles Collection [CD] At The Grammys
Four of the six songs from this session were included in The Singles Collection, a 4CD set that was nominated for two Grammys in 2004. One of the nominations, for Best Historical Album, was bestowed on producers Cy Godfrey and Steve Woof. The other nomination, for Best Album Notes, went to music writer Will Friedwald. The winner in both categories was Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey.

3. Songs From The Jazz Singer [CD]
4. "Goin' On A Hayride" [Song]
Sepia's CD Songs From The Jazz Singer inadvertently assigns the recording date December 17, 1951 to both "Shame On You" and "Goin' On A Hayride." That date belongs to "Shame On You" only.


Arrangements

From this session, only two arrangements are extant in Capitol's library of music scores: "Goin' On A Hayride" and "Let's Call It A Day." Sid Feller is credited as the arranger of both.


Location

The documentation at hand states that New York was the city in which the session too place, but does not indicate the exact venue. The identification of WMGM Radio Studio is an educated guess; Capitol is said to have held its pre-1953 New York sessions there. (In 1953, Capitol acquired its own studio in Manhattan, at 151 West 46th Street.) WMGM had taken over the studio at 711 5th Avenue in the mid-1940s, officially beginning to use it in September 1948, although they might have informally held sessions there at an earlier time. (The studio had previously belonged to NBC.)


"Crime And Punishment" And "The One I Love"

Capitol's library of music scores lists arrangements, both made for Peggy Lee, of these two songs. However, there are no extant masters in either case. For more details, see notes under sessions dated November 16, 1949 and September 13, 1950.





GENERAL NOTES

Capitol Records And Peggy Lee, 1948-1952

The Record Ban (1948)

The time period under discussion opened and closed with events that had a significant impact in the music career of Peggy Lee: a musicians' ban that prevented recording activity for nearly a year (1948) and the artist's departure from Capitol, the company at which she had been recording for eight consecutive years (1944-1952).

Imposed by the American Federation of Musicians primarily as a protest against 1947 legislation that freed music labels and radio broadcast companies from having to pay record royalties to the union, the ban went into effect on January 1, 1948. (This was actually the second time that AFM had gone on strike during the years covered by this sessionography. For details about the first time, see this page, section XIII.) According to music historian David Ewen, the 1948 record ban forbade the participation of AFM musicians in any commercial sessions, and sought the payment of a royalty "to be used for the benefit of unemployed members." Ewen adds that, "[t]o meet this new crisis, the major record companies had spent the preceding six months on a feverish twenty-four-hour-a-day recording schedule to create a huge stockpile ... to satisfy the market until a new compromise was finally arrived at fifteen months later." Serving as a clear example of this heightened schedule is Lee's own recording activity at Capitol during the last two months of 1947: between November 12 and December 26, she recorded 32 masters over 10 sessions. (The three earliest sessions were specifically intended for the making of her very first solo album, and might have thus been set up independently of Capitol's strike-preempting requests.)

It should be clarified that the obligation to honor the ban applied only to instrumentalists -- i.e., to the 216,000 musicians who were members of the American Federation of Musicians at the time (or, in a different estimate found in the January 24, 1948 issue of Billboard, 225,000 members).  Vocalists were exempt from the ban's regulations because they were not part of AFM's membership.  Hence most singers continued to go into the studios.  Their record companies circumvented the absence of accompanying musicians in a variety of ways.  Both Columbia and Decca initially resorted to an a cappella strategy:  vocal groups were enlisted not only to back up the singers but also to hum the melodies.  Columbia's Frank Sinatra (with The Jeff Alexander Choir) and Decca's Dick Haymes (with The Song Spinners) were among the acts who recorded in this manner, and who went on to  have hits from such sessions.  

Recording and importing the work of foreign artists (British, in particular) was a more drastic course of action, which was nonetheless contemplated and possibly exercised by MGM and Columbia, among others.  For its part, RCA Victor cautiously abstained from taking any drastic measures, though not necessarily out of sympathy with the union.  Victor probably feared arousing the wrath of the dozens of labor unions with which (besides AFM) the label's parent company happened to be tangled. 

Among the additional options available to labels both large and small, there was the possibility of hiring from the small poll of American musicians who were non-unionized by either choice or circumstance.  (Playing of the harmonica, for instance, does not seem to have qualified for AFM membership until 1950.  Before that year, the American Guild of Variety Artists -- AGVA -- was  the qualifying union for musicians who at the time were closely associated with the world of showbiz performance or variety entertainment -- e.g., harmonica and zither players, accordionists and xylophonists.)

As the ban dragged on and impatience grew among record label executives, the dividing line between a non-unionized player and an "union musician on the down low" was occasionally blurred.  Such was widely suspected to be the case at Mercury Records. Then there was Decca, whose 1948 artists were sometimes backed by "brand new" bands or ensembles.  Case in point: the so-called Sunshine Serenaders, a country-oriented band which accompanied Bob Eberly at a New York-held Decca session, and whose unidentified, unknown members might or might have not been unionized. 

At Capitol, A&R men Jim Conkling and Alan Livingston used not only a few of the aforementioned strategies but also a more technical one:  overdubbing. In late April of 1948, Conkling traveled to the French Riviera and to other European locations; Livingston went to Paris toward the year's end.  There, Livingston recorded foreign bands whose music he then dubbed to vocals recorded by Capitol's artists such as Margaret Whiting.  In these travels, at least one European act (French organist Marcel Laurence) was also signed by Conkling and recorded by Livingston.  Londontown and Mexico City  received similar visits from Livingston and/or other Capitol representatives as well. Yet another alternative to which Capitol resorted was the purchase of already recorded but unreleased masters, owned by the given artist.  In January of 1948, Capitol signed Jan Garber to a contract despite the fact that the ban prevented him from any recording activity in the immediate future.  This signing was clearly triggered by the bandleader's possession of self-owned, unissued masters that were made part of the negotiations.  In 1947, Capitol had also purchased a set of masters that Les Paul had recorded at his home studio, with the original intention of broadcasting in his radio show.  

Peggy Lee was among the very few vocalists who, out of solidarity with the musicians, abstained from any studio recording during the entire period. In the March 13, 1948 issue of The Cash Box, an article about the latest update on the record ban includes the following blind item: "[r]ecently, Capitol Records issued a recording order to one of their artists. At present, nothing has developed since their order." No clues are given as t the identity of the Capitol artist in question. Given the huge success that her recording of "Mañana" experienced during the first quarter of 1948, Peggy Lee could have been the unnamed artist in question.

The ban lasted nearly a full year. A settlement was formally signed on December 13, 1948. On the very next day, Peggy Lee was back in the recording studio. (Her vocals seem to have been recorded on that day, but the backing music may have been pre-recorded abroad. See session dated December 14, 1948, at the top of this page.)


Technological Innovations (1948-1949)

During the post-ban period, Capitol distinguished itself for innovative, forward thinking in the realm of recording technology. While the ban was still in place, the company had bought and installed an Ampex tape recorder. In December 1948, Capitol became the first label to do its masters on magnetic tape on a regular basis. (Decca might have recorded the odd session on tape as early as 1947, but Capitol made it a consistent practice before any other record company.)

Capitol did not content itself with using just one recording method, but actually recorded many of its masters on all three available procedures to them ("live" to 78-rpm disc, onto 16" transcription disc, and on Ampex tape). It did so from 1949 to about 1952, when it permanently settled on tape. (In succeeding years, the entire music industry would make of magnetic tape the standard choice for both studio and concert recordings.)

In 1949, Capitol also became the first label to release records in all three speeds: 78 rpm, 45 rpm, and the then-emerging 33.3 rpm. The label's first 45-rpm singles came out on April 4, the first LP records on September 5. Capitol's South Pacific "cast" album served as an early instance of multiple-configuration marketing. (Further details about that album can be found in this page, under the sessions dated March 11 and April 18, 1949; also session dated November 11, 1949.)

Another significant event from this period was Capitol's acquisition of its own recording studio. Previously, the company had been leasing space. From April 1942 to February of 1945, the primary location had been MacGregor Studios. Following a transitional period that included some session work at the Paramount studios, Radio Recorders became Capitol's studio of choice from the second half of 1945 to 1947. In 1948, Capitol negotiated the purchase of KHJ Radio Studio on Melrose Avenue. The label renamed the facilities Melrose Capitol Studios, and officially opened them in March of 1949. A description of the space at Melrose can be found in Charles Granata's excellent book Sessions With Sinatra, which is my main source for these paragraphs about Capitol's advancement in the realm of technology. (That description will also be quoted in the Photos sub-section immediately below.)

In the same book, mention is also made of another area for which Capitol was earning a good reputation at the time: audio equipment. The company made a point of acquiring state-of-the art microphones, speakers and, as previously mentioned, tape machines.


Photos

Above: Two street views of Capitol's Melrose Studios. Following a negotiation period whose tail end had been reported on the December 18, 1948 issue of Billboard magazine, Capitol formally began working at these recording facilities on January 10, 1949. (As has been already explained elsewhere, Capitol had previously leased space from a couple of recording studios.  It should also be clarified that the space at this Melrose address held only recording studios; Capitol's executive offices and pressing plants were at other locations.)  The control booth at Capitol Melrose's Studio C can be seen in one of these images. The man in the plaid shirt is Lee Gillette, who was in charge of producing the Hollywood sessions of many a popular singer during the second half of the 1940s, Peggy Lee included. Sitting next to him is record engineer John Palladino, who worked with Capitol from the company's days at Radio Recorders until his full retirement in 1982. (For another photo featuring Palladino and Gillette, see end notes for the previous sessionographical page. John Palladino and John Kraus were Capitol's best-known staff engineers. Both were officially hired around March of 1949, in tandem with the acquisition of Capitol Melrose.)

The last image is a long distance shot of the 56th Street corner of 1740 Broadway, site of the Victory Building (aka New York Mutual Life Insurance Building). Located in the building's first floor, these were Capitol's National Sales And Promotions Offices, opened in July of 1951. The photo was taken at some point with the inaugural months (July 1 to early September 1951); the three adjacent Capitol Melrose photos are also believed to date from the early 1950s.

For Capitol's personnel, the occupation of 1740 Broadway held both local and nationwide significance. At the local level, the ever-growing label's need for larger office space was being met. The label's executive and local distribution offices were moving from 250 West 57th Street, a space that they had been occupying since May of 1947, and which they had outgrown. (Previous to that date, the executive offices had been on Fifth Avenue, at 1 East 57th Street. The earliest Manhattan office address of which I am aware is for a sales branch at 629 Tenth Avenue, in place by 1943. Incidentally, none of these office spaces should be confused with Capitol's New York recording studios. The label's Manhattan studio space was on the first floor of 151 West 46th Street. It operated from 1953 to around 1971.)

Even more significantly, Capitol's opening of 1740 Broadway involved the cross-country migration of one of its most important departmental branches -- its sales branch. According to an announcement made in the June 30, 1951 issue of Billboard magazine, the branch's relocation was motivated by the fact that "approximately 80 per cent of its sales exist in the East." The new location would thus allow their sale department to "keep pulse of changing market trends." Hence the opening signaled a reorientation of the company's business model, too. In addition to the relocation of the sales branch, some of the key executive personnel was reshuffled and promoted. Dave Dexter, who will be discussed at more length below, was promoted to full-time A&R man. Also, in January of this year, founder Glenn Wallichs took over the role of main A&R supervisor (a post vacated by Jim Conkling, another employees to be discussed at length below), while session musician and label stalwart Dave Cavanaugh had been appointed Director of Eastern Repertoire; he would later become Peggy Lee's trusted album producer. (A man named Walter Rivers had solely held that position since his release from the Marine Corps in 1945 and, as such, had being in charge of recording Peggy Lee and all the other West Coast Capitol acts who had come to New York over those six years. In May of 1951, it was belatedly announced that he was leaving his position at Capitol for a job in his hometown, Savannah, Georgia, as customer liaison for the Southern States Iron Roofing Company.)

Below: A brief, selective tour of Capitol Melrose's recording facilities, courtesy of still images from Capitol's self-promotional 1952 film Wanna Buy A Record?.  (The film also doubles as a tutorial on the basics of the recording process.  Details from the tutorial and specifics about the scenes captured by these images will be given in the next paragraphs. The present paragraph will concentrate on general data about this address, at 5515 Melrose.)  By 1952, Capitol had been occupying 5515 Melrose for over four years.  (From late 1940 to late 1948, the location had served as one of LA's top radio spots:  back then, it had belonged to KHJ, flagship station of the Mutual network.)  During Capitol's occupation, the two-story building housed five studios, out of which three were consigned to recording and dubbing.  Remarks about those three main rooms can be found in Charles Granata's book Sessions With Sinatra.  "Studio A was on the upper story," engineer John Palladino told Granata, "and was the original radio theater with audience and stage facilities.  Downstairs there were two smaller studios and the control room.  For a long time, Studio C was the key studio and was perfect for smaller groups ... Studio A ... was better suited for larger orchestras."  During another interview (conducted by profiling reporter Stephen K. Peeples), Palladino further offered anecdotal data about Frank Sinatra's sessions, in particular:  "[h]e ... would come in with an entourage. You never knew how many. But when they came into Studio A at Melrose, they’d sit in the (theater) seats like a studio audience, so it was perfect for them there.”  Similarly, during an interview set up by his stepdaughter Nori Muster, Capitol's marketing and promotion manager Don Hassler remembered the studio as capable to seat "a couple hundred people." 

Below, continued:  Studio A is showcased in the first row of stills. An entrance door is seen in two of the stills. (The men near the door are bandleader Billy May and comedian Mel Blanc, who play the main actors in the promotional Wanna Buy A Record? short.)  The pitch-dark expanse in the first still is filled with rows of seats.  This studio was thus capable of holding a large audience -- as it probably did during its pre-Capitol days, when the building was owned by the aforementioned Mutual network, and KHJ's radio shows were broadcast from there.  The room's visibly large dimensions confirm Hassler's and Palladino's aforementioned assessments of its suitability to hold a large orchestra, such as the one led here by Dick Stabile (third and fourth images).  The solo artist being backed by Stabile is Dean Martin  (fourth image), who is in the process of rehearsing and recording the number "Oh Marie" (April 8, 1952).  

Below, continued:  At another one of these studios (C), country singer Jimmy Wakely can be seen (fifth image) recording his future single "My Heart Has Plenty Of Room" (April 11, 1952) and accompanying himself on guitar as part of a quintet (sixth image).  That last image further gives us a peak at this country date's engineer or record mixer -- in a white shirt, at the bottom left corner.  The engineer is seen again in the seventh image, this time inside the control booth, along with country A&R man Ken Nelson.  They are sitting near the mixing console board, which controlled the volume level, tone color and dynamics of the microphones being used by Wakely and company.  Behind them, magnetic tape machines are recording Wakely's performance.  (As for the men standing, they are the film's visitors, Billy May and Mel Blanc, in the company of their host, Capitol VP Alan Livingston.)  The eighth image captures another couple of engineers at an adjacent control room, where they are busy transferring Wakely's performance from the aforementioned tapes to a lacquer record. (That lacquer master would in turn be used to make various metal master duplicates, and from those duplicates Capitol record plants would press the thousands of copies sent out to commercial stores.)  

Below, continued:  The final image grants us just a glimpse of Studio D, one of the smaller rooms, in which The Lancers, a vocal harmony quartet, is  singing the song "Lil Liza Jane." (Identification of the group was made possible thanks to fellow researcher Adrian Daff, who recognized three of this quartet's regular, better known members. From left to right, they are Dick Burr, Corky Lindgren and Bob Porter. The fourth individual, a blonde man, is not  known to have been a regular member of this group. He does look, however, like Bernie Parks, one of the regular members of another vocal group, The Mel-Tones.) This image shows one half of the front door, in which the identifying words Studio "D" can be viewed, in uppercase.  Not fully seen in this particular image is the door's other half, on whose front the words positively no admittance when red light is on are engraved.  (Lest there is any doubt of their relevance, those words are also in uppercase.)   Capitol would remain in these premises until  early 1956, when the company vacated them in order to move to their brand new Capitol Tower.  A few years later, former owner KHJ re-occupied this location.







Worldwide Expansion (1948)

The late 1940s was also the period in which Capitol Records went international. Between October and December of 1948, Glenn Wallichs signed contracts with Germany's Telefunken and the United Kingdom's Decca. (Then under E. R. "Ted" Lewis, British Decca released its own records under the Decca rubric, but used the Brunswick rubric for its European re-releases of American Decca recordings.) Approved on October 25, the contract with Lewis meant that, after five years since the inception of the American label, Capitol Records would finally be marketed and officially distributed in British land. Earlier in the year, Capitol had also reached a contractual agreement with Artículos Domésticos (a Mexican pressing plant) and with Eduardo Baptista Covarrubias, who had founded Panamericana de Discos in the previous year and would found Musart Records toward the end of this one. (Capitol's dealings south of the border actually dated back to mid-1946, when Glenn Wallichs had scheduled a trip there, in the company of Artists Manager Carlos Gastel. At that point, the goal had been to set up a record distribution center in Mexican land.) All these 1948 contracts were for the manufacturing and release of Capitol product abroad -- in Europe, Africa, and parts of Spanish-speaking America. The agreements also called for exchanges of masters with all the firms involved (except for Decca, whose contract was restricted to manufacturing and distribution). A Canadian Capitol branch would be established, too, one year later.

Once again, Peggy Lee's recording of "Mañana" played a pioneering role in Capitol's expansion. Overseas, the company's deal with Decca was inaugurated with the release of CL 13001, the very first Capitol 78-rpm disc issued on British land. It consisted of "Mañana" backed with another vocal that Peggy Lee had recorded, "All Dressed Up With A Broken Heart." The same singer also partook in the third Capitol-Decca UK release:: CL 31003, a Benny Goodman 78-rpm platter consisting of a vocal sung by guitarist Al Hendrickson ("On A Slow Boat To China," the more recent hit overseas) and a vocal sung by Peggy Lee ("For Every Man There's A Woman," an earlier USA hit). As for the Panamericana and Telefunken deals, I do not know which Capitol masters were chosen to inaugurate their respective catalogues, but it is reasonable to expect the inclusion of Peggy Lee's "Mañana" among the earliest releases from those companies, too.


Financial Success (1948)

Operationally, Capitol had significantly grown, too. For the year 1948, Capitol "released 400 singles and 44 albums ... and reaped sale of $16, 900," Dave Dexter, Jr. would report in a company retrospective written for the September 16, 1957 issue of Billboard magazine. This was also the year in which the record company issued its first stock dividend (20 cents).

According to Geoffrey Wheeler in his book Jazz by Mail, by 1951 Capitol had issued a total of 630 singles and 140 albums. And in 1952, adds Wheeler, the label would experience “a 35% increase in earnings on a 10% sale increase over the previous year,” thanks to net sales amounting to $14,738,341 and net earnings totaling $1,144,993.

Such tallies evince major incremental spurts when compared to those from earlier years, such as 1944 (39 singles, 6 albums) and 1945 (48 singles, 14 albums).


Chart Success (1948-1951)

Peggy Lee's recording of "Mañana" ushered Capitol's greatest period of commercial success. As reported by Variety in November of 1948, "the company has consistently led with hits since the first of the year. It began with [Peggy Lee's|Mañana in January, King Cole's Nature Boy immediately thereafter, then latched onto Margaret Whiting's Tree In the Meadow and Pee Wee Hunt's 12th Street Rag during early summer to run up a total gross sale of $13,117,000, by far its biggest year to date (same' period last year returned $253,151). Net income, after all charges, presumably including estimated taxes, pyramided earning of $2.66 a share for 432,680 holders of pieces of the company's common stock. First nine months of '47 the per-share earning was 45 cents." A few months earlier, in May, the same periodical had moreover stated that "[o]rders on Miss Lee's platter are biggest Capitol has ever had on a single release— 1,500,000 copies."

Capitol's chart success would continue unabated within the ensuing three-year period, in which Nat King Cole and Les Paul would firmly establish themselves as the roster's biggest moneymakers. (Paul, with Mary Ford: "How High the Moon," "Mockingbird Hill," and "The World is Waiting For The Sunrise," all from 1951; "Tennessee Waltz," from 1950. Cole: "Nature Boy," 1948; "Mona Lisa," 1950; "Too Young," 1951. According to an article written by Terry Barnes as part of a Billboard celebration of Capitol's 50th anniversary, Cole was "responsible for a quarter of Capitol's income in its first decade.") Forays into the sub-genres of country and spirituals would pay handsomely for label veterans Margaret Whiting and Jo Stafford, especially when undertaken in the company of male duet partners -- in particular, Whiting's and country star Jimmy Wakely's "Slippin' Around," as well as Stafford's and Hollywood-Broadway star Gordon MacRae's "Whispering Hope." (Other numbers sung by the same pairings did fine, too, though a few-notches-below these). The one remaining Capitol top seller from the 1949-1951 period was Yogi Yorgesson with the holiday novelty "Yingle Bells" (1949). In 1951, another novelty, Mel Blanc's "I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat" would generate fine top ten chart action and considerable business on Capitol's behalf, too. And another duet pairing, Kay Starr and Tennessee Ernie Ford, would start to make substantial dents on the early 1950s charts as well -- both together and separately. Vocally adept at handling catchy country and novelty material, the versatile Starr and Ford would go on to rank among Capitol's top sellers for the years that followed Lee's departure from the company's roster.


Financial Downturn (1949-1951)

Capitol's height of success in 1948 was followed by a financial comedown in 1949. Although the catalogue production continued its upward trajectory (20 more singles and 31 more albums than the previous year), the $11,500,000 total earnings for 1949 meant that the company had made $5,400,000 less than in the preceding twelve months. Total earnings went up in 1950 ($12,300; 140 albums, 630 singles) and again in 1951 ($13,400,000), but the nearly $17,000 peak of 1948 would remain far from reach. The year 1951 saw a reduction in the total production of issues (43 less albums and 10 less singles that in the decade's first year), too. On a different but perhaps related note, the year 1951 was also notable for the establishment of a more overtly commercial enterprise. On April 16, Capitol formed its Custom Division, which was in the business of producing albums upon request, for a fee. (Company promos and charity discs were manufactured by this division as well.)





Photos

Above: A few of the executives at the helm of Capitol Records during the 1948-1952 period. Jim Conkling (first photo, undated; probably late 1950s or early 1960s) was the first man to hold the title of vice-president in charge of the label's Artist & Repertoire Department.  He had begun his Capitol tenure as an A&R assistant manager in 1944, assuming the vice-presidential position some time in the late 1940s. The erstwhile member of the Navy and college trumpet player would leave Capitol's vice-presidency effective January 31, 1951 (though apparently still staying until March) with a view to serving as to Columbia Records' president (informally at first, officially starting in February of 1952). An even better opportunity presumably led to his resignation five years later.  In 1957, he became one of the four founders of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences as well as the producer -- in his capacity as NARAS' chairman -- of the very first Grammy Awards show. Conkling remained married to Donna King (of the King Sisters, a Capitol act)  for 55 years (starting in 1943), and heavily partook in the King family's devotion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

Above, continued: Alan Livingston (second photo, ca. 1952) succeeded Conkling to the vice-presidential position at the company. The music-related highlights from Livingston's pre-Capitol years include his taking of brass music lessons (saxophone, clarinet ) as a youth and his co-leadership of a college orchestra with his piano-playing brother Jay (the composer behind such mass-appealing hits as "Buttons And Bows," "Silver Bells," "Que Sera, Sera," "To Each His Own," and "Mona Lisa"). Professionally, there was his graduation from college with a degree in economics, war duty (infantry), and one or two years as an ad man, specializing in wine products.  His first workday at Capitol Records was on January 2, 1946, serving as assistant to Jim Conkling, who might have hired the unexperienced, not-particularly qualified young man partially out of military comradeship. Tasked with helping to create, write, and producie a children's library for the label, he would achieve major notoriety in October of that year, when a character and album that he conceived proved a huge marketing, financial, and popular success for Capitol. He followed up Bozo At The Circus with more Bozo the Clown albums, and also with other well-received storytelling Capitol record series.  In February 1950, Livingston's satisfactory work as Conkling's assistant and continued success in the children's market further paid off: he was named one of the label's vice-presidents. Next, after the departure of his immediate boss' in January of 1951, the thirty-three-year-old became the natural heir to Conkling's A&R vice-presidential chair. Livingston actually enjoyed two periods as a Capitol executive, which were separated by his tenure as an NBC vice-president in charge of the network's film programming.  The second Capitol period began in 1960, when the former VP was hired as the label's president and went on to re-orient the company toward more of an overt rock music vein. In time, he would ascent to the company's most senior, prestigious position:  chairman of the board.  Livingston's first wife was actress and singer Betty Hutton, who had been a Capitol act for most of the 1940s before, their legal union (1955).  His second wife was actress Nancy Olson, who shared the screen with Bing Crosby in Mr. Music, a movie that also happened to feature Peggy Lee on a cameo.

Above, continued: (The huge biographical literature about Frank Sinatra might be missing an untold chapter about the effects that executive rivalry/competitiveness had in his career.  Right after assuming the position of Columbia president, one of Conkling's very first assignments was to drop Sinatra, who was hired by Capitol's Livingston within a year of this firing.)

Above, continued: The panel of men seen in the third photo are Capitol's chief A&R producers in and around 1952.  From left to right, they are Dave Dexter, Jr. (Capitol's most jazz-oriented producer, with whom Peggy Lee had worked in 1944, and who by 1967 rated as the employee with the longest tenure at Capitol), Voyle Gilmore (then one of this table's freshest faces, who would become better-known for his work on 1950s dates with Les Paul & Mary Ford, Louis Prima & Keely Smith, Frank Sinatra, The Kingston Trio, The Four Freshmen, and others; he had started as one of the label's sales managers in the LA area, ascending from that position to A&R man in 1952), Leland Gillette (as already mentioned, the producer behind most of the mid-to-late Capitol LA sessions featuring popular artists such as Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, and Tennessee Ernie Ford, among many others), and Bill Miller (the other relatively fresh face at the table, insofar as he had just been named A&R man; his Capitol tenure had begun in 1945, when he had been hired as a manager and subsequently promoted to head of the label's Recording Department; working with the likes of Ray Anthony, June Christy, The Four Freshmen, and Gordon MacRae, he remained a record producer through the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s, taking over the directorship of the company's International A&R wing around 1966; this executive should not be confused with the pianist of the same name). It could thus be said that this four-party panel was evenly divided between the old guard and the new guard. They were by no means the only men holding
A&R jobs at Capitol, however. According to an early 1951 article, Lou Busch and Pete Rugolo formed part of the West Coast contingent as well. Meanwhile, working under Gillette on the country field, Ken Nelson held offices in Hollywood, and D. Kilpatrick in Nashville. The classical music wing was commanded by Dick Jones, the children records' division by Alan Livingston with his assistant, Francis Scott. And in these first months of 1951, the recently appointed Dave Cavanaugh was consigned to the company's New York offices - along with Walter Rivers, the man who he was slated to replace.

Below: various Capitol executives hold court at conference rooms in both LA (first photo, from 1949) and NY (second photo, from1952).  The LA group counts with the presence of founders Mercer and Wallichs (both at the left side of the photo).  Standing is Paul Weston, the man who, by this time, firmly held the most senior musical director position at the label.  Sitting in the middle is Capitol's National Sales Chief Floyd Bitttaker, who had been with the company since its inception (back then under the title of sales manager).  Seen at the far right on both photos is William C. Fowler, a long-term Wallichs associate who had joined the label in 1944 and proceeded to serve as a jack of all trades: treasurer, head of manufacturing, head of personnel, head of the purchases division, general advisor.  By the early 1950s, he was naturally among the men who held top vice-presidential titles in the company. In 1951, he moved to the brand new offices in New York, to become its head, and to continue to handle sales both domestically and internationally.  The other men captured in the NY shot are Livingston, Wallichs, Daniel Bonbright (fourth from right; Secretary and General Counsel ), and Lloyd Dunn (fifth from right; Chief of Merchandising, Sales, Promotion and Advertising in the West Coast). 





Commercialization And Quality Control (1948-1951)

A less savory aspect of this period pertains to Capitol's catalogue. By this point in time, the label's A&R men were pushing a steady diet of low-grade, brand new ditties on its artists. The company's predilection for commercial material is understandable, of course. Capitol was, after all, a business. But, in hindsight, the label's reputation would have benefitted more from maintaining the approach that had served them so well in the previous years (1946-1947): a balanced ratio between the everlasting American songbook standards and the new commercial tunes whose impact tended to be ephemeral. Instead, the standards were relegated, for the most part, to the radio transcription format.

Lee's above-discussed sessions certainly evince this push toward non-traditional fare. Even the few superior numbers that grace this discographical page were actually brand new at the time. They came mostly from then-current, in-vogue Broadway shows, whose songs all record companies were eager to cover. Incidentally, such numbers were not easily accessible to every singer in the label. According to Lee's label mate Kay Starr, Capitol had a pecking order which granted its senior artists precedence when it came to song choice. (Among the female singers who were members of Capitol's roster, such an order would have favored Margaret Whiting and Jo Stafford in particular.) In Lee's case, the lesser material that she recorded during this period enjoyed the advantage of her interpretative gifts -- e.g., her sense of humor, care for lyrics reading, and innate musicality -- which elevated most of it to a considerable degree.

Throughout this late 1940s and early 1950s Capitol period, Peggy Lee also continued to record self-penned compositions, adjusting her material to suit the music trends of the times. Although not as frequently as had happened from 1946 to the first half of 1948, she still had a fair share of 1949-1951 chart climbers, too, including a #2 single and a couple of top 10 hits.

For commentary about the reasons why Peggy Lee departed from Capitol Records in 1952, see notes at the bottom of this discography's Decca Records page.


Popular Decline Of Vintage Female Singing (1950s)

As suggested by the previous paragraphs, the Capitol world of the early 1950s provided a fertile ground for duet partnerships, in particular. During this post-war period, Capitol's vintage pop female singers sold well and topped the music charts mostly when they shared the spotlight with male singers.  When on their own, subtle voices and low-key melodies generally took a backseat to belters and to musical sounds that ranged from offbeat to newfangled or even gimmicky.  

One of the musical trends that garnered increasing attention over these years involved the setting of lyrics (often banal or inferior ones) to established melodies, borrowed from foreign countries and legendary operatic or classical music (e.g., "Misirlou," of Eastern Mediterranean-Greek background, and Johann Strauss II's waltz "Du und Du," both recorded by former Capitol artist Martha Tilton with English lyrics in 1951). By equipping herself with a suggestive, sensual tango-flavored novelty ("When I Dance With You, I Get Ideas") Peggy Lee would still reach the top 10 in the music world of 1951, but her case was among the few exceptions to the rule.  Then there was Kay Starr, Capitol's most notable solo chart breaker from this period.  Her success also relied on an appeal to novel sounds (e.g., "The Wheel Of Fortune") and a reconfiguration of her own pipes. She moved away from her softly bluesy Capitol vocalizations of the late 1940s to the loud, full-voiced sound that led to comparisons with the similarly reconfigured style of Mercury and Columbia's Frankie Laine, among others.  Patti Page, another fine Mercury-Columbia artist who would however become primarily known for gimmicky material (e.g., "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?"), ruled the contemporary singles charts along with Frankie Mr. Steel Tonsils Laine, Crying Johnnie Ray, and a few other vocalists in similar molds. 

Jukeboxes, and the upbeat atmosphere that they might have encouraged, played a role in the preference for loud and catchy music. According to Alan Livingston, then Capitol's vice president for Artists & repertoire, jukebox sales accounted for 15% of a single's sale (1952). But the jukebox's role in making a hit out of a tune could not be underestimated. "Coin machines have themselves become an American institution at home in the family drug store, restaurant, and drive-in, as well as the cocktail lounge ... [T]he expression great for the boxes indicates the esteem the music business has for the coin machines ... To the artist, the publisher, the writer -- and the record company again -- they are essential in making the big hits." Although Livingston tried to downplay the notion that jukeboxes favored "a raucous sound mounted on a driving beat," a look at the hits from this time period supports the notion.

In 1952, the following was written by Lloyd W. Dunn, another one of Capitol's vice presidents: "Every Thursday, Capitol's repertoire department plays the proposed current releases for the sales and promotion executives. It's a joint meeting with no holds barred and no feelings hurt -- much. One of the comments most often heard from the sales force is it's pretty - but how will it sound on the boxes? Full many are the lovely intros, with fluttering flutes and throbbing cellos that the sales department urges the repertoire boys to cut out in order to start with the chorus, for the [juke]box trade. (In fact one embittered member of repertoire has threatened to start in the middle of the chorus with forty-eight open trumpets, guaranteed to be heard over clattering customers and clattering dishes. It might be a smash -- who knows?)"

This overall state of affairs did not go unnoticed at the time. After all, it was applicable to the rosters of most large record labels operating in the 1950s. The May 7, 1951 issue of Cash Box magazine dedicated a full page to an article bearing the title What's Happened To Female Singers?.  Although it circumscribes itself to the first half of that year, it is still worth quoting at some length:  

"... Except for Patti Page, the girls seem to have taken a back seat in the pop record picture.  Is it that proper material isn't being written for them?  Are the A&R departments funneling all the likely tunes to male singers?  Is the buying public more easily induced to buy recordings made by the boy singers? ... Not to minimize what the girls have done, several of them have made the top ten teamed with male singers ... But the fact remains that in four months of recording this year, only two girls have attained hits of major proportions as singles [i.e., Patti Page and newly emerging Columbia find Rosemary Clooney].  Obviously this can't be the result of any one cause.  But some of the factors must include poor material available for the female singers, lack of proper promotion, and a neglect on the part of A&R men of the girls' needs.  The record companies themselves, from a study of the ads thay've been placing since the beginning of the year, have been pushing the male singers as opposed to the girls.  Some ads, listing record firms' top disks, don't have even one by a female singer.  Others have been devoting occasional space to the girls but nowhere in the proportion males get.  Except for the ads which the female singers take themselves, or have [been] taken for them by publishers whose songs they've recorded, the promotional pickings for the girls have been mighty slim."  

{Quote from The Cash Box, continued} "Some record people claim there's a very simple answer to this problem.  They say the female market buys records and they're mostly interested in male singers.  In a sense this is true.  Females do buy the majority of records.  But how would this explain the great selling disks the girls have made[?] ... Obviously there is a market for female singers -- and a big one if we can believe sales statistics in the past.  Perhaps the record companies and their distributors have been neglecting a very important market -- the one that will buy the girls' disks ... There are millions of boys now in army, navy, marine, coast guard and air force installations throughout the country.  In their spare moments they're hungry for all sorts of entertainment.  The nearest form of musical diversion available to them is the juke box -- the one located right in camp or the nearby tavern or dance hall.  These boys want to hear music whenever they can.  And what's more, they want to hear female singers ... Whatever's the trouble, it can be remedied.  The important thing is that there's a market for our great girl singers.  And we've gone through a drought long enough.  Let's get them to work turning out those best sellers." {End of Cash Box's quote}


Peggy Lee And Capitol Records, 1948-1952




Popularity: Peggy In The Polls (1948-1952)

Peggy Lee and Capitol Records started the year 1948 on a high note. By the last week of January, Variety was reporting that, with "12 platters in the big sales brackets or coming up into the top ranks, [the] first month of the new year is biggest diskery has ever had." Out of those twelve, Variety indicated that Peggy Lee's Golden Earrings was "in the top slot," and Mañana was "rising rapidly." The periodical's own main countdown (a tabulation of listeners' requests received by over fifty disc jockeys from across the nation) showed that, by the end of January, Lee was scoring with not two but three numbers, all of them within the top 21: the previously mentioned titles and also I'll Dance At Your Wedding. By the March issue, "Mañana" was occupying the #1 slot during its 9th week, while "Golden Earrings", still in the top 10 during its 18th week, was at #8.

Billboard showed even more successful scores. On one particular week (February 14, 1948), she held the distinction of having three numbers within the top 15 of the magazine's Most-Played Juke Box Records ("Golden Earrings" at #4, "Mañana" at #7, "I'll Dance at Your wedding" at #14) and two back-to-back singles within the top 5 of its Best-Selling Popular Retail Records chart (Capitol 15022 at #3, Capitol 15009 at #4). For that same week, the same trio of songs also showed up within the top 21 of the competing magazine Cash Box.

Thanks to the triple punch of "Mañana," "Golden Earrings," and the album Rendezvous With Peggy Lee, our singer also grabbed very high spots in various year-end Billboard charts. She topped, for instance, the female ranks of the magazine's Collegiate Winners 1948 poll. Further details can be found in the next two paragraphs.

Lee's debut solo album was ranked as Capitol's second Top Selling Popular Album of the year, bested only by labelmate Stan Kenton's A Presentation of Progressive Jazz. Kenton's offering was actually the year's top album across all record labels; Lee's was the 14th. Spots #2 to #13 were filled by albums from Decca, RCA, and MGM. Aside from a couple of group and ensemble items, all these albums were by bandleaders and male singers -- with Al Jolson managing to place a grand total of three albums in the chart, all of them so-called Souvenir Albums, including the one at #2. The only other female acts in this album list's top 20 were Dorothy Shay (#16) and Lee's labelmate Nellie Lutcher (#19).

"Mañana" was the top number in a couple of Billboard charts: The Year's Top Disc Jockey Records (where "Golden Earrings" placed at #19) and the listing of Company Labels With The Year's Most Played Records On Disc Jockey Shows (where "Golden Earrings" ranked at #7 among Capitol's most played records). In the overall list known as The Year's Top Tunes, "Mañana" landed at #8; "Now Is The Hour" grabbed the top position. In The Year's Top Female Vocalists On Disc Jockey Shows, the success of "Mañana" and "Golden Earrings" earned Lee 385 points, which took her to the #2 position. Also enjoying two records during this year, Margaret Whiting topped that chart with 413 points and Doris Day could be found at #3 with 380 points. Meanwhile, in The Year's Top Selling Female Vocalists Over Retail Counters, Peggy Lee ranked at #1 thanks to the same two hits (344 points), with Doris Day at #2 (212 points; two hits), and Margaret Whiting at #3 (216 points; one hit). "Mañana" even allowed Lee and husband Dave Barbour to be included at #9 among The Year's Top Songwriters and at #11 among The Year's Top Publishers. The song also made it to #12 in The Year's Top Sheet Music Sellers chart and to #2 in the listing of Company Labels With The Year's Best Selling Popular Retail Records. (Capitol comfortably occupied that list's top three positions, thanks to its ownership of the only three records that earned over 200 points: Pee Wee Hunt's "Twelfth Street Rag" had 271 points, Lee's "Mañana" 240 points, and Whiting's "A Tree In The Meadow" 216 points. "Golden Earrings" also made the list, with 104 points.)

Naturally, other periodicals' concurrent polls evinced Peggy Lee's popularity, too. In the category of female vocalist, she was the winner of the Third Annual Poll Of The Automatic Music Industry, conducted by Cash Box. The 42,754 votes sent on Lee's behalf guaranteed her the top position over Margaret Whiting (39,709), Doris Day (38,255), Sarah Vaughan (34,812), and previous top hitter Jo Stafford (27, 180).

Without a hit of the magnitude of "Mañana," the ensuing year found Lee dropping from #2 to #4 in Billboard's Disc Jockey Chart For Solo female Vocalists. The sweet triumvirate of Doris Day, Jo Stafford, and Dinah Shore were ahead of her. Ranking directly below Lee in the chart were Sarah Vaughan, Margaret Whiting, and Kay Starr. Furthermore, Lee once again managed to grab a spot (#11) amidst the 15 slots of the disc jockey's Favorite Female Band Vocalist, despite the fact that she had been been billed as a solo songstress for over five years.

Cash Box's 1949 annual poll places Lee at a lower slot than Billboard's survey of the same year. This magazine's poll finds Lee at #8, just one slot above Sarah Vaughan but well below Day (#1), Whiting (#2), and Stafford (#4).

Billboard does not seem to have published gender-based polls for the years 1950 and 1951.  As it appears on its January 13, 1951 issue, The Billboard's Fifth Annual Music-Records Recapitulations Of Top Tunes, Records And Artists offers only unisex top 10 artist lists, based on votes "cumulated from weekly dealer and operator reports thruout the year."  In The Year's Top Popular Artists, Gordon Jenkins occupies the top spot of the two sub-lists (Retail Sales, Jukebox Plays).  The only female solo act to make the list is Kay Starr, at #10 in Retail Sales only.  The news were even more dire when the results of the Sixth annual survey were published:  no female solo Capitol singer made the top 30 countdown.  Those who made were under contract with Mercury (Patti Page), Columbia (Rosemary Clooney), RCA (Dinah Shore), and MGM (Debbie Reynolds).  Capitol could find plenty of solace, however, at the very top of the charts, which were occupied by Nat King Cole's rendition of "Too Young" (Retail Sales) and the Les Paul-Mary Ford re-interpretation of "How High The Moon (Jukebox Plays).

Topped by Kay Starr, Cash Box's 1950 poll finds Lee at #9, and the other aforementioned singers at #3 (Day), #6 (Stafford), #7 (Whiting) and #13 (Vaughan). In 1951, Lee takes a tumble to #16. Both Day and Whiting drop just one spot. Upward movement is experienced by other two singers: Stafford (#5), and Vaughan (#9). In 1952, Lee regains her foothold into the top 10, placing at #9. Stafford does even better, climbing to the #3 position. Less fortunate are Vaughan, who drops to #17, and Whiting, who does not make the list (a top 20). The previous year's winner, Patti Page, tops the poll again, though on this second time around a tie forces her to share honors with Rosemary Clooney.

At Downbeat, Lee had reached her apex during the two years that had preceded those covered by this discographical page (i.e. 1946, when she topped the list, and 1947, when she held strong at #2). From 1948 to 1952, Lee's name placed lower but still remained within the top 10. A more detailed inspection of her placement during those years follows.

In 1948's end-of-the-year Downbeat poll, Peggy Lee's name can be found at the #4 slot, with 495 votes. Previous #4 holder Ella Fitzgerald was at #7 on this year. Below Fitzgerald were erstwhile chart-toppers Jo Stafford (#8) and Billie Holiday (#10). Ahead of Peggy Lee by only 16 more votes was Doris Day, who had made her chart debut the previous year at #10. Dinah Shore occupied the #2 slot, climbing from her previous year's #7 position. The top spot was kept by Sarah Vaughan, who remained at the peak of this poll from 1947 to 1952.

In the 1949 Downbeat poll, Ella Fitzgerald climbed back all the way to #2, a position in which she was comfortably ensconced until 1952, bested only by Sarah Vaughan. Dropping a few notches in 1949 were not only Peggy Lee (from #4 to #8) but also Anita O'Day (from #5 to #9) and Dinah Shore (from #2 to #10). Ahead of them were Doris Day (holding steady at #3), Kay Starr, Fran Warren and, climbing back, Billie Holiday and Jo Stafford.

In 1950, Peggy Lee was the only one of the "formerly-dropping" singers who climbed the charts. Lee went up from the #8 to the #6, a position that she continued to keep in 1951.

In 1952, Peggy Lee fell down two notches, going back to the same position that she had had in 1949 (#8). Behind her but still in the top 10 were Jo Stafford and Billie Holiday. Among those ahead of them: Rosemary Clooney (#3), Patti Page, Kay Starr, Doris Day, and June Christy (#7).

During her upcoming years on Decca, Peggy Lee's name would rise in this Downbeat countdown once more.


Photos

Above, top: Peggy Lee honored.  From Billboard's Second Annual Juke Box Operator Poll (published on January 22, 1949), two of these images highlight the previous year's rankings in the category of Top Female Vocalists On The Nation's Juke Boxes.  "It was a bonanza year for Peggy Lee," declares the caption under the small photo of the singer, "who not only tops the juke box lovelies but also copped virtually every other female singing honor for 1948."  Probably also from 1948, the larger photo bears no date but comes with a helpful caption.  The object in Lee's fingertips is identified as a Gold Record Pin, "awarded for one of her best-selling records."

Above, continued: Referring to Cash Box's Third Annual Jukebox Poll (published on December 11, 1948), two of these images show an ad probably placed by Lee's management agency after her victory in the category of Best Female Vocalist Of 1948. Published on the March 19, 1949, the first photo shows Lee receiving this 1948 award, though the trophy is erroneously described as being awarded for the year 1949.

Below: A showcase of men who conducted Peggy Lee's sessions after her professional relationship with Barbour took on a dwindling path.  Responsible for most of the Capitol dates recorded in New York during the late 1940s and early 1950s, Sid Feller is herein seen first, in an early 1960s shot. The central picture is roundly occupied by Billy May, with whom Lee had a lasting professional relationship that both predated and followed the period under discussion. Finally, there is Pete Rugolo, in a shot that has been estimated to date from late 1946; his known session work with Lee dates from 1949.





Statistics: Total Number Of Peggy Lee Capitol Masters (1948-1952)

This discographical page shows a total of 74 masters, all of them recorded for Capitol Records between late 1948 and early 1952. Only one master is listed in Capitol's files as rejected: "Sunshine Cake," from May 25, 1949 (re-recorded on October 7, 1949). All other 73 masters have been commercially issued during the digital era. Five of the 74 masters are actually guest vocals done (under a pseudonym) for another singer's project; see session dated November 11, 1949. There are also various duet vocals, one with Dean Martin (December 14, 1948), the other four with Mel Tormé (November 16, 1949 and July 10, 1951).


Lee's Capitol Record Contracts (1944-1952)

Peggy Lee's previous contract with Capitol Records happened to expire on the same month in which the record ban was lifted. It might have been a four-year contract (December 1944 - December 1948).

The duration of the newly signed contract is unknown as well. Judging from informal commentary pertaining to other company acts, three- or four-year commitments were common. If Lee's contract also ran for four years, (i.e., until December of 1952), then she must have asked Capitol for a fairly early release from her contract. Of course, lack of concrete data equally allows for the possibility of shorter commitments.

Peggy Lee's split from Capitol Records was reported in two consecutively published Variety issues (April 2 and April 3, 1952). To quote the jargon from one of the reports, Lee had "ankled the diskery" on Friday, March the 28th. I do not know if that date accurately reflects the point at which the Capitol contract was terminated, or if the date was conveniently chosen (either by Variety or by Lee's management agency) for publicity purposes: on the following week (specifically, Thursday, April 3, 1952), the artist's first session for another label (Decca Records) was scheduled to take place.

For the events that led to the split between Lee and Capitol, see the General Notes at the end of the Decca page. For yet another, more precise catalyst leading to the artist's switch of record labels, see also this bio-discography's essay about her recording of the song Lover, section IV.


Photos

Below: Peggy Lee in color. The songstress as she appeared in the pages of one 1948 magazine (first image) and the front cover of another (second image).  Specifics about the third image remain unknown to me; I believe it to date from either late 1949 or 1950.





Sessions Reported: 24

Performances Reported: 74

Unique Songs Reported: 73

Unique Issues Reported: 213