Introduction To
The Peggy Lee Bio-Discography And Videography
by Iván Santiago-Mercado

Page generated on Mar 8, 2017




Inception And Development

The first steps toward the creation of The Peggy Lee Bio-Discography And Videography were taken in late 1999 -- merely a year after this discographer began to use the internet. Not surprisingly, one of my main incentives for the preparation of a Peggy Lee discography was a deep admiration for the singer's artistry. Another motivating factor was my ready access to BRIAN, a discographical program created by Steve Albin in 1994. (It is named after pioneer discographer Brian Rust.)

The discography's first edition (2000) was actually a joint enterprise between the creator of BRIAN and myself. After researching and organizing the data, I would send it to Steve, who would then enter it in the BRIAN database. Later on, as I became confident in my own abilities to handle the database, I began working solo.

After many a successive edition, I am still actively working on the completion of this challenging and rewarding project. Through all these years, I have been fortunate to count with solid support. Steve has remained unfailingly available, answering BRIAN-related queries, listening to suggestions, and offering assistance whenever program users such as myself have faced any technical difficulties. I have also relished the continued encouragement of my fellow fans from the Peggy Lee Bulletin Board.



Acknowledgments

In addition to Steve, there are various gentlemen who have made substantial contributions to this project. Both Jarl Ingves (in Sweden) and Lucas Tuinstra (in the Netherlands) shared with me their own discographical listings for Peggy Lee. Thanks to their kind help, I was able to double-check the accuracy of the data that Steve and I had previously entered, especially in the area of European issues. Kevin Koerper, another friend of mine and fan of Peggy Lee, kindly proofread one of the earlier editions of this discography. I am also very grateful for the expert assistance that I received from Ken Barnes, Jim Pierson, and Peter Stoller as I was constructing or revising pages pertaining to specific labels (Polydor, A&M, et cetera).

There are of course many other individuals -- some of them good friends, some friendly acquaintances, others well-known musicians and researchers, all of them generous souls -- who have supplied various details of relevance to the Peggy Lee sessions: Desne Ahlers, Theo Andriessen, Allen Bardin, Red Bartlett, Max Bennett, Roland Bergevoet, Paul Bladon, Wayne Brasler, Bill Brooks, Mark Cantor, Stella Castellucci, Ed Chaplin, John Connors, Owen Coppin, Michael Cuscuna, Adrian Daff, Dave Dixon, Steve Dodd, Marvin Ekers, Ezequiel (in Buenos Aires), Paul Fonteyn, Will Friedwald, Cy Godfrey, Freeman Gunther, Oddbjörn Hedin, George Hewitt, Roy Holmes, Wesley Horton, Rick Hough, George Hulme, David Jessup, Jason Kurinko, Daniel Langan, Stephen Ley, Matthew Linfoot, Frank Lipsik, E. William Lohnes, Thomas Ludwig, George McGhee, Tony Middleton, Gareth J. Miller, Jeff Mustow, Steve Naylor, William Naylor, Tony Nesbit, Bob Noakes, Michael Pinkowski, Red Robinson, Gordon Sapsed, Linda Shafer, Peter Shorey, Randy Skinner, Dave Smith, Michael Sparke, Julena Stinson, Jeff Sultanof, Mark Takasugi, Yvan Tarbouriech, Ernie Tong, David Torresen, Tom Wagner, Brian Weber, Dave Weiner, Beverly A. West, Michael J. White, Michael Wigg, John A.B. Wright and, last but not least, ever-supportive fellow fan Bob Willits.

I am pleased to add that my work counts with the approval of Holly Foster-Wells, from Peggy Lee Associates, LLC, and that this is the official discography of Peggy Lee.


Print Sources

I would also like to identify the main texts from which this discography has drawn, along with the individuals who either authored them or, otherwise, provided me with such helpful resources. David Torresen sent me basic data (about Lee's Capitol sessions) which he had in turn received from Will Friedwald. Ed Chaplin and Roy Holmes supplied me with pages which I was missing from old issues of Jazz Journal International -- pages that were part of a basic Peggy Lee recordings list, published by that magazine over various issues.

Among the various discographers whose work I have consulted, D. Russell Connor has earned my unqualified admiration. Over his lifetime, he published various updated editions of his impressive Benny Goodman bio-discography -- the latter being a term that he coined. Even a glance at my discography's Goodman Years page should make amply clear that I have primarily relied on his research for that particular section. I also want to express my admiration for the excellent -- and thus inspiring -- work of two men, one in Canada and the other in Great Britain: Billy May's discographer Jack Mirtle and Mel Tormé's discographer George Hulme.

As for authors of various-artists discographies, Walter Bruyninckx deserves special mention, all the more so since certain discographies published after his works have fully appropriated his research without giving much credit. Bruyninckx compiled extensive data in the areas of pre-1980s jazz and swing, and may have been the first to publish volumes exclusively dedicated to jazz and swing vocalists. Then there is Michel Ruppli, who has created an universe of record label discographies (Atlantic, Blue Note, Capitol, Decca, etc), all of them of considerable value for the creation of projects such as this one.

Finally, I must acknowledge the gentlemen who have preceded me in the publication of shorter, more basic versions of a Peggy Lee discography: Gino Falzarano, Brian Henson & Colin Morgan, Arthur Jackson & Andrew Cooper, and foremost among them, Ron Towe.


Objectives

Primarily, my work aims at providing an in-depth account of Peggy Lee's music career. I have classified it as a bio-discography (rather than a discography) because the presentation consists of not only bare discographical data but also ample biographical detail. The latter is naturally expected to supplement or enhance the reader's understanding of the artist's work and, of course, the artist herself.

As the years have gone by and my research pursuits have expanded, a second overarching aim has emerged. This secondary pursuit is predicated on my long-held perception of Peggy Lee as one of Capitol Records' fundamental artists. Much has been said and written about Nat King Cole's and Frank Sinatra's ample qualifications in that area. My work seeks to add the sorely ignored distaff side to the picture. For that purpose, I have woven the history of the songstress' career with the history of the record company. (This interwoven pattern is to be found, first and foremost, in the end notes of the qualifying session pages. Still a work in progress at the time of this writing, only the earliest Capitol pages evince it. Meanwhile, and incidentally, it has been a pleasure to see this same approach adopted in one of the published biographies of Peggy Lee. Here is hoping that the decades to come will continue to reinforce this close connection between label and artist.)

With my two primary aims fully explained above, I shall next move on to "sub-aims" and secondary objectives.

From a purely discographical viewpoint, one of the more ambitious goals of this work is the inclusion of every single Peggy Lee issue known to exist in every configuration, except MP3. Even if the issue in question is the 50th hits anthology by Lee on CD or LP, I am interested in making it part of this project. Note, however, that I am talking about all-Peggy Lee issues, not various-artists compilations that include Lee tracks. (Actually, a very large portion of such compilations has been listed in a miscellaneous page of this work, but that page does not aspire at including every single various-artists item in existence.) As for the MP3 configuration, I have decided to avoid it on account of its generally inferior sound quality, and also due to my awareness of the vast proliferation of illegitimate issues in that format. But I have made a few exceptions, all of them involving files of potential, special interest to fellow Lee fans. Also, in the case of issues which have been available as both MP3 files and on-demand Amazon CDrs, I have chosen to list them, even if their quality typically tends to be sub-par in both configurations. Depending on how MP3 continues to develop, improve, and dominate the music market, the future could change my mind as to this categorical exclusion.

Even more importantly than listing issues, this discographer has attempted to track down every single extant Peggy Lee music performance. By "extant performance," I mean recordings, transcriptions, radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, film soundtrack performances, and live appearances that are known to have been preserved on audio (i.e., 78-rpm single, 45-rpm single, v-disc, transcription disc, EP, LP, cassette tape, reel-to-reel tape, 8-track tape, 4-track tape, compact disc, mini disk) or video (i.e., film reel, VHS, DVD).

On a more general note, I have always envisioned the finished fruit of this project as an annotated work of sufficient depth and accuracy to satisfy music fans, jazz-pop discographers, and academics in general. I have put a fair amount of thought and preparation toward the fulfillment of that vision.

Though the scope of the work might understandably strike some readers as overwhelming, over-ambitious and even excessive, I still hope that its wealth of material will prove more enlightening than frustrating, plodding, or plain boring. I have certainly derived pleasure from researching, organizing, and analyzing the data.

(I do have plans for the preparation of a condensed, no-frills version of the discography. It will lack notes and will list only the most relevant data, such as song titles, dates, and the single or album on which each song was originally issued. That condensation will only be undertaken after all the available discographical data has been entered, however. For the time being, readers interested in a shortcut to the most basic discographical information are advised to try this index as an alternative, or to email their queries directly to me.)


Present And Future: Work In Progress (A Timeline)

2010
First introduced in the fall of 2010, the current edition of The Peggy Lee Bio-Discography is a particular source of pride. For the first time, all of Lee's studio sessions are fully included and organized to my satisfaction. (The quality of the proofreading is a few notches below my desired aim, however. Because this discography is far from finished, and because I am giving priority to the process of incorporating the data, the tasks of re-reading and proofreading have remained secondary labors. I hope to gradually catch most errors -- and/or unintelligible phrasing -- during my weekly consultation of selected sessions.)

2011
I spent the year 2011 preparing the second part of this discography: a pictorial gallery concentrating on Peggy Lee's album artwork, and more generally dedicated to her musical career. The gallery aims at being as complete as possible. To that end, I covered not only Lee's original albums and reissues for Capitol, Decca and additional labels but also collaborations with other artists (Bing Crosby, Benny Goodman) and ventures into the related worlds of video, film, radio, and television.

2012
In 2012, I continued to develop the aforementioned pictorial pages of the discography. I did so by adding more images, re-writing some of the text, and turning the (45, 78) singles indexes from text-only pages into text with pictorial showcases.

More crucially, I initiated my work on the third, final part of The Peggy Lee Bio-Discography And Videography. This final part centers on Lee's copious work in the realms of radio, television, concert, theatre, and film.

2013
During 2013, I finished and uploaded

1. a page dedicated to Peggy Lee's performances in Jimmy Durante's radio show (information + photos)

2. a page dedicated to her appearances in the world of theatre (information + photos), and an extensive account of her Broadway show Peg (information only).

3. a page featuring pictures of Peggy Lee-related sheet music

4. a page dedicated to Peggy Lee's radio appearances in the Bing Crosby Show, along with a miscellaneous page featuring an overview of Bing Crosby's career on radio.

5. a page about Lee's 10 Snader telescriptions, and a related page dealing with both the Snader and the Camay companies.

Also:

6. Regular updating of the pictorial part of the discography. Pictures of rare or brand new items are still being periodically entered. Old images continue to be substituted when better-looking ones become available.

Furthermore, it was necessary to make time to complete a variety of technical tasks -- some of them a bit challenging yet necessary and thus worthwhile. To wit:

7. I have had to face the cons of having included a sheer, huge and ever-growing number of images in the pictorial discography. The large quantity of images made it necessary for me to re-locate them into newly created subfolders in my computer. The placement of the images inside subfolders in turn required a slight change of every single image's name or html markup, since otherwise they would not be visible online. This process has now been completed.

8. Yet another completed technical project was the reconstruction of this discography's indexes. Many of the song titles were accompanied by bracketed data (for instance: The Birth Of The Blues [TranscriptionCap]) that I no longer deem necessary. Thus I have deletes such brackets from the song index and from other discographical pages.

9. I have also resized and cropped most of this discography's images, so that the pages can download faster.

10. Completion of research for a prospective new page, which will discuss the big band remotes of Peggy Lee with The Benny Goodman Orchestra.

Other technical matters currently in process include a variety of modifications that should further improve viewer's ease. Most notably, I will be redoing the pages through a text editor, with a view to making the written text more manageable to peruse. I might also be adding links to some of the discography's picture indexes, thereby making the location of pictures quicker. Completion of these particular tasks might have to wait a little longer, however, because at the present time I am intent on continuing the creation of pages dealing with Lee's radio, television, and film appearances.

2014
During the first third of this year, the following pages have been completed and the following objectives have been met:

1. A page covering Peggy Lee's radio broadcasts and remotes with Benny Goodman's orchestra.

2. Reconstruction of the page dedicated to British Issues. Previously, the page separated UK issues in various sub-divisions. based on the company which had originally released the issue in the USA (Capitol, Decca, Columbia, etc.). The viewer thus needed to know the original US label before (s)he could find the UK issue of interest. The task should be simpler now: all British issues are found in a single alphabetical list, irrespective of the USA label that first released them.

3. Periodic updating of the pictorial parts of the discography. Images of rare or brand new items continue to be entered on a regular basis. Old images are still being substituted with better-quality ones, whenever they become available to me.

4. A page about Peggy Lee's work as co-hostess of the radio show Rhapsody In Rhythm.

5. A page about Peggy Lee's work as co-hostess of the radio show The Summer Electric Hour.

6. A page about Peggy Lee's work as the hostess on the 1948-1949 Thursday editions of the radio show The Chesterfield Supper Club.

During the months of July and August 2014, I was also able to complete

7. A page about Peggy Lee's work as the hostess of The Peggy Lee Rexall Show, in which I also included an overview of her career in radio.

8. A page detailing the fifth and last radio series that Peggy Lee hosted, The Peggy Lee Show (aka Club 88).

Periods of this year were also spent revising old text that I had redacted too quickly for its good, or which simply required rewriting due to the additional learning that I had acquired in the intervening years. This modus operandi applied, in particular, to

9. the page called The Benny Goodman Years, which now also has a very large amount of relevant photos added to its text.


2015
A year of substantial progress but limited completion, as itemized below.

1.  The first half of the year was partially spent on researching and itemizing Peggy Lee's guest appearances for radio and television, including the AFR network.  Through the year, the construction of these pages advanced considerably, but their finalization had to be postponed.  

2.  During the second half of the year,  modifications and additions to already completed pages took up a fair amount of my time.  Part of the reason was the sudden surge of a large amount of information.  I gained access to periodicals from the 1940 that were previously unavailable to me.   From  supplementary information and relevant images were culled, then added to numerous sessions and notes.

3.  A few of this discography's so-called miscellaneous pages had long been in need of revision and rewriting.  The most notable case was the page dedicated to a Disney session.  Modifications were also made to a miscellaneous page about an Ara Records session.  

4.  I continued an ongoing mini-project that involves the incorporation of photos to each page of the sessionography.  The bulk of the chosen photos fall under the categories of session pictures and portraits of the singer, all of them contemporaneous with the recording sessions found in the given page.  (Images of albums, record singles and other items will also be occasionally included.)  By year's end, the following session pages had undergone this pictorial process:

-- 1941-1943
-- 1944-1945 
-- 1946-1947
-- MacGregor Transcriptions (1945)
-- Capitol Transcriptions (1946-1949)

5.  Three pages were newly created:
 
 -- a list containing all the numbers that Peggy Lee ever recorded, arranged in chronological order.
-- a  general page about media and live performances.  The page's radiographical section was completed (its overview actually being years-old material, moved from another page). Other sections will probably be done late this year.
-- a brief writeup about Peggy Lee's participation as a vocalist-host on The New Borden Summer Show.

6.  A few substantial entries were added to the television and concert pages that are currently under construction.  The bulk of the prospective work on those pages remains to be completed, however.

2016
Much of the year was spent in the expansion and enhancement of numerous pages already in existence. The expansion involved the addition of historically-based annotation and pertinent photography.


2017
This year started with the implementing of a large amount of modifications on the discography's Club 88 page, thanks to the uncovering of new information about that show.

At the time of this writing, modifications to the Decca Records discographical page were also under way. Miscellaneous pages about Capitol's record club and its stereo recording history remain under construction as well. Later this year, I will hopefully return to working on more relevant and still unfinished parts of the discography:  Lee's radio, television, concert, and film appearances. 


Errors, Educated Guesses And Corrections

Among the advantages of publishing this project on the internet is the opportunity that the worldwide web affords for instant feedback, as well as the potential to make additions or catch and correct mistakes before they are made part of a more definitive context (i.e., a published book).

The existence of errors in a project of this scope should not come off as a surprise -- all the more so when you take into consideration that only one person is both retrieving the data and redacting the text. Because the present discography is still an ongoing project, I often find myself having to make a decision as to whether I may continue with the entry of data or whether I should pause instead, to do a proofreading of recently written text. I make such pauses periodically -- not often enough. In my present mode, I am far more interested in entering the significant amount of information that is still awaiting. Hence you will definitely find misspellings and other very basic errors in these pages. Some of the errors will be caught during further "proofreading pauses." Other errors will have to wait until after all the data has been entered and I proceed to make a careful, top-to-bottom proofreading (as well as some rewriting).

Of more immediate concern are factual errors. I fully believe in the old adage that two pairs of eyes see better than one (one pair). My hope is to receive factual corrections and supplementary input from fellow fans and general readers, so that the process of completing this discography can be further accelerated. So: if you see something say something (that is to say, email me when you catch any detail that amy strike you as possibly wrong).

Another adage worth bearing in mind is that a reporter as good as its sources. I happen to count with some very good and reliable sources for certain areas of this discography, and less good or more questionable sources in other areas. I am certainly aware of optimal additional material to which I do not currently have easy access. For instance, my access to trade papers and magazines such as Variety or Downbeat as very limited at the present time. Back when I was just starting to prepare this discography (more than a decade ago), I actually consulted a fair share of such periodicals, but a more thorough and minute research of such sources is becoming increasingly necessary. Such an undertaking would require spending very large amounts of time inside various libraries. It is my hope to be up to the task in the future, after I have completed entering all information from more readily available sources.

A more obvious point that I nonetheless want to make is that there is also a learning process at play -- my own. As someone who is not in the music business and who had no ties whatsoever to such business during his initial years of discographical preparation, much of my musical education is being carried out as I work within the confines of this discography. As any other student (and human being), I am bound to make mistakes, miscalculations, off-the-mark assumptions, etc., etc. Fortunately, and as suggested at the outset of this section, the fact that this discography is an online text (and one still in progress) allows for welcome feedback and eventual, easy correction of errors.

I would be remiss if I failed to point out two specific discographical areas in which mistakes are a likelier occurrence than elsewhere. One area is that of issues (i.e., CDs, LPs, cassettes, etc.). Naturally, I have not listened to every single one of the hundreds of issues listed in this discography -- many of which happen to be digital releases in the Public Domain. While entering the track listing of some of those Public Domain CDs, occasionally I have had to resort to educated guesses. For instance, the received track listing of a given compact disc might indicate that "I Don't Know Enough About You" is included. If I do not own a copy of the CD in question, I am faced with the need to pick which performance of "I Don't Know Enough About You" is likeliest to be in it: the original Capitol recording, the Decca recording, other versions recorded much later, or one of the various versions from radio and television broadcasts that can also be found in certain LPs, cassettes, and CDs. In such cases, my estimates are based on a variety of factors, such as whether the CD's other tracks are studio recordings or broadcast performances, whether the company releasing the CD has ties to another one which has released CDs with similar track listings, etc., etc.

(On a related matter, do note that my main source of information for non-owned Public Domain CDs is the internet, where reliability varies from one site to another. I give preference to large online vendors, but even some of their information can be off the mark -- most notably, release dates, which do not always refer to the earliest pressing of the given CD. As much as I appreciate and inhabit it, the internet does not rank among the bona fide "reliable sources" to which I was referring earlier. It is a fantastic source, but its reliability often needs to be backed with other sources.)

There is one more area where factual errors might occur to a greater degree than I would prefer: alternate takes. The official documentation at my reach can be somewhat lax when it comes to mentioning the release of such alternates. In a handful of cases, I have discovered that the documentation is faulty. A master might be identified as the take heard in a certain issue, but actual listening of the issue has shown it to contain an alternate. Assessing such cases is made all the more difficult when the performance under scrutiny was originally released on 78-rpm single, because I do not own copies of such discs. Fortunately, some fellow listeners at the Peggy Lee Bulletin Board (www.peggylee.com) do own selected discs, and have kindly shared a few findings in this area (e.g., alternate takes found only on singles). Beside those which are already listen herein, I doubt that Peggy Lee's discography counts with many more issued alternate takes still to be found. But, if you are aware of any, I hope that you will contact me to let me know. Thank you in advance.


Contact Addresses

We welcome queries. For anything pertaining to Peggy Lee data, please contact me at ivansantiagomercado@earthlink.net. For questions and comments about BRIAN (the free computer database used to create this online discography), please contact webmaster Steve Albin at steve@jazzdiscography.com. For links to other online discographies created with BRIAN, please visit the JazzDiscography web page.