The Peggy Lee Bio-Discography And Videography:
The Pre-Contract Interlude / The Capitol Years, Part 1
by Iván Santiago-Mercado

Generated on Oct 22, 2015

The Peggy Lee Look

Three photographic showcases of Peggy Lee in her mid-twenties. From February of 1943, the first photo was taken a few weeks before Lee handled her notice, informing of her intention to leave The Benny Goodman Orchestra. Undated, the other photos show Lee with her daughter Nicki, and are presumed to have been taken in 1944 and/or 1945.

Peggy Lee's Recording Career, 1940-1945

This page chronicles a short but noteworthy period in the professional career of Peggy Lee: the two years (1944-1945) during which the singer transitioned from a temporary job working for a big band boss to a life-long tenure as a performing solo artist.

Earlier on (1940-1941), there had also been various job transitions, all of them calculated to advance the singer's career. She had begun the decade entertaining a primarily college-aged audience at The Powers Hotel's Coffee Shop in Fargo, North Dakota, where her musical accompaniment had been circumscribed to an organist.  Though considered a local success, the young vocalist had already set higher professional aspirations for herself; a change of scenery was necessary for their fulfillment. The solo gig at the coffee shop was thus followed by work with two bands -- the first regionally known, the second nationally recognized -- in the larger cities of Minneapolis and St. Louis.  Right afterwards, the ambitious singer moved to Hollywood, where she undertook nightclub work both as a solo act and in a joint bill with a music trio.  (This discography's pre-recording page offers detailed coverage of all such steps of Lee's professional career, further going back into the trips and jobs that she took on during the 1930s.)

At last, in mid-August of 1941, the enterprising vocalist hit the big time. Lee became the canary for The Benny Goodman Orchestra, one of the top bands in the music business. Working with an ensemble of such caliber actually meant not only higher expectations but also further, constant moving around. Then, after helping with the completion of the second half of a month-long engagement in Chicago, the brand new canary proceeded to spend the remainder of the year, along with all of the next one, traveling with the orchestra. Stops of varying duration were made in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and many another state. 

Her transient lifestyle came to a halt in late February of 1943, when the band stayed within the Hollywood area for a six-week-long engagement. In March, Peggy Lee married Dave Barbour (Goodman's guitarist) and gave Benny Goodman notice of her intention to leave the ensemble. (Barbour had been fired weeks earlier).  Whether by personal design or at Goodman's request, for the next three months (or so) she still kept fulfilling canary duties, on and off.  But, by June, Lee was about three months pregnant, and her intention to stay home for that reason was conveyed to the press.  Through the second half of the year, Barbour's wife gladly took on the role of housewife and considered herself retired from the singing profession. Away from the daily travails of touring with and performing for a big band, the newlywed gladly envisioned a future in which she would stay at home permanently, doing domestic chores, tending to her husband, and raising children. (Lee's autobiography and her press interviews are the sources for this statement.) Then, in November of 1943, Mrs. Barbour delivered a baby by Caesarean section. After this difficult childbirth, the new mom learned that she could not have more children.

In January of 1944, Peggy Lee Barbour was lured back into the recording studio, this time as a guest vocalist with a jazz ensemble. The Barbours' financial needs factored heavily in her eventual acceptance of the initially declined offer, which what was expected to be an one-time-only return to the recording studio. However, the commercial and critical success of the resulting records brought to Lee quite a few additional offers to not only continue to record but also appear in concerts and on the radio.  Some of those offers were fully declined, while others were accepted, with the common understanding that she was performing only on a non-permanent, every-once-in-a-while basis. 

But such a frame of mind did not last for long.  Any lingering plans of retirement were fully abandoned when Lee decided to sign an exclusive contract with Capitol Records. A momentous event in the artist's career, the signing took place at some point between late 1944 and mid-1945.  It did not lead to an immediate spurt in recording activity, however: the vocalist did not really begin to record in earnest until 1946. The delay was perhaps due, at least in part, to the need to raise her baby. Lee's comeback from her short period of retirement was thus a gradual one. 

The present paragraph (this introduction's last) is dedicated to suggestions, recommendations, and technical explanations. For more general commentary about Peggy Lee's earliest years at Capitol, consult the notes at the end of the page, which also offer an itemization of this page's 14 masters and a tally of Lee's placements in the music polls, during the period in consideration. Viewers looking for CD recommendations should pay attention to items whose titles are typed in boldface.  As for the blue arrowheads that are periodically found through the page, click on them if you want to see a longer list of albums containing any given Peggy Lee performance.

Date: January 7, 1944
Location: C. P. MacGregor Studios, 729 South Western Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Capitol Session #24

The Capitol Jazzmen (ldr), Dave Dexter, Jr. (pdr), Barney Bigard (cl), Les Robinson (as), Eddie Miller (ts), Clarence "Shorty" Sherock (t), Nappy Lamare (g), Hank Wayland (b), Pete Johnson (p), Stanley Wrightsman (cel), Nick Fatool (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 172-2Capitol Master Ain't Goin' No Place - 3:00(Dave Cavanaugh aka Dick Larkin) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
Time-Life Music Licensed CS/LP4 Lgd/Slgd 07 — Peggy Lee ("Legendary Singers" Series)   (1985)
ABM (Audio Book & Music) Public Domain CD(England) Abmmcd 1092 — It's Lovin' Time   (1999)
Columbia River/Allegro Public Domain CDCrg 218010 — Peggy Lee ("Cocktail Hour" Series)   (2000)
b. 174-4Capitol Master That Old Feeling - 2:41(Lew Brown, Sammy Fain) / arr: {Head Arrangement}
Armed Forces Radio & Television Service 16" TranscriptionProgram No. 909 — G.I. Jive [Bunny Berigan, Woody Herman, Earl Hines]   (1945)
CAPITOL 78 & 451609 & F 1609 — {That Old Feeling / In My Solitude (Capitol Jazzmen instrumental)} [reissue series]   (1951)
CAPITOL LPTbo 1970 — [Various Artists] Esquire's World Of Jazz   (1963)
Both titles on: CAPITOL 78 albumSet A-3 (Cap. 10009-10012) (Reissued as Cd-3) — [Various Artists] New American Jazz (Capitol's Criterion Series)   (1944)
USA Government's War Department; Army's V-Disc Series V-Disc354 — {That Old Feeling, Ain't Goin' No Place + 2 Jack Teagarden vocals, all from New American Jazz}   (1945)
CAPITOL 78(England) Cl 13298 — {That Old Feeling / Ain't Goin' No Place [not released as a single in the USA]}    (1950)

The Recording Session(s)

1. Photos
Rehearsal for "Ain't Goin' No Place." All but one of the session musicians are shown. From left to right: Les Robinson and Eddie Miller (saxes), Nick Fatool (drums), Barney Bigard (clarinet), Nappy Lamare (guitar), Peggy Lee (vocal), Pete Johnson (piano), Shorty Sherock (trumpet), and Hank Wayland (bass). Pianist Stanley Wrightsman, which played celeste behind Lee's other vocal ("That Old Feeling"), did not participate in "Ain't Goin' No Place." Hence his absence from these particular photos. As will be reiterated below, Lee had given birth less than two months before the present date.

2. Dave Dexter, Jr. Productions
This was the second of four jazz-oriented dates that producer Dave Dexter, Jr. conceived at Capitol from 1943 to 1947. For each of them, Dexter, Jr. hired cream-of-the-crop ensembles that Capitol variously named The Capitol Jazzmen (1943, 1944), Jack Teagarden's Chicagoans (1943), The International Jazzmen (1945), and The Hollywood Hucksters (1947). The recordings from the dates by the so-called Capitol Jazzmen were originally released in an album titled New American Jazz, which Dexter produced with the avowed purpose of "represent[ing] jazz as of 1944."

Dexter, Jr. wrote extensively about his hiring process for all of these sessions. Interspersed below are quotes taken from his autobiography Playback and from his liner notes for the LP The Capitol Jazzmen 1943-47, on the Swaggie label.

3. The First Dexter Session Session (November 16, 1943)
The debut date of The Capitol Jazzmen took place on November 16, 1943. As Dexter tells it, "[t]he 16-month American Federation of Musicians strike against every US record company ended in November 1943 ... Most of the most celebrated jazzmen were in town, several of them awaiting induction orders from their draft boards as World War II continued. I managed to book time at the spacious MacGregor Studios ... and to telephone some of my favorite musicians, urging them to participate in my proposed New American Jazz album." Peggy Lee's husband Dave Barbour played in that initial session.

4. The Second Session: Enter Peggy Lee
The second date took place almost two months later. "I completed the album in early 1944, following the frenetic Christmas period," explains Dexter, "with an entirely different combo sparked by Peggy Lee's singing and the wild trumpet of Clarence (Shorty) Sherock ... Peggy was hard to get. She had married Benny Goodman's gifted guitarist, Dave Barbour, and had delivered a baby ... by Caesarean surgery on Armistice Day. Barbour, unemployed for the first time in a decade, scurried about Los Angeles seeking work. Peggy was still recuperating when I telephoned her in January. I'm retired, Dave, she purred over the telephone. I don't care to sing anymore. My new life revolves around being a good wife and mother. I couldn't budge her. I then tried to contact Ivie Anderson out of Duke Ellington's band and, failing, was unable to hire former Count Basie trush Helen Humes. So I called Peggy a second time."

Among the various reasons why Dexter wanted to hire Lee was a personal wish to make up for a negative review that he had given her back in 1941, when she was going through her initial, nerve-wracking weeks with The Benny Goodman Orchestra. After listening to her subsequent work, the music critic and record producer had completely changed his opinion of her. By 1944, he was apparently feeling a bit contrite.

Dexter, Jr. remembered the rest of the phone conversation with Lee as follows: "What does the job pay?, she sweetly inquired. I suggested $100 for two songs, which we would put together on the date, without music. Well, she responded, Dave and I do need the money. If you can get me in and out of the studio in a couple of hours, I'll be there. Thanks for thinking of me ..."

5. At The Session
"She showed up on time," continued Dexter. "Her husband had driven her to the MacGregor studios in a rickety, sputtering, pre-war Ford two-seater. Peggy was chubby, but she was smartly dressed and enthusiastically received by the musicians I had assembled. I invited Peggy to the booth and asked that the old standard Sugar lead the session. It gave Peg 30 or 40 minutes to get the feel of the studio and the musicians. She enjoyed every solo, particularly Eddie Miller's tenor saxing and Pete Johnson's raunchy, two-fisted piano contributions." Indeed, Lee writes in her own autobiography that "Eddie Miller played a classic solo" behind the first of her vocals.

"And then Peggy officially emerged from retirement," Dexter, Jr. proclaimed, "taking over the mike to shout Ain't Goin' No Place, a raucous, up-tempo blues that reminded me of her bawdy vocal on the Goodman Why Don't You Do Right? Columbia smash hit a year or so previously. All of us stood around enjoying the playback and one of the men said aloud what we were all thinking: This chick sounds like a drunken old whore with the hots. Because I wanted to record her singing both hot and sweet, I hired two pianists to back Peggy." Wrightsman, the second pianist, played celeste instead of piano.

"Her moody version of That Old Feeling was a stunning reading. Her sound had become pure angel food. Many radio jocks ... gave it heavy air-play. [It] attracted so much airplay in the US that she was forced to acquire a manager, Carlos Gastel, and go out as a single act ... Peggy Lee could sing like a little girl in a church choir or a husky-voiced, tired old whore."


The notes of Mosaic's Classic Capitol Jazz Sessions state that "[u]nless otherwise noted ... sessions between 1942 and 1949 were made at Radio Recorders." That statement contradicts a comment made by producer Dave Dexter, Jr. in his liner notes for the Swaggie LP. Although he does indeed mention that the third date by The Capitol/International Jazzmen was held at Radio Recorders, he cites a different location for the two earlier dates. In reference to the first one (November 16, 1943), Dexter tells us that he "managed to book time at the spacious C. P. MacGregor Studios (between Mercer, Jo Stafford, Margaret Whiting, Andy Russell and Pied Pipers sessions)."

In his autobiography, the record producer added that the second session took place at MacGregor Studios, too. Still further, an article that Dexter, Jr. wrote for Billboard magazine contains a photo of this session, and its caption identifies the location as C. P. MacGregor Studios. Hence I have confidently entered the location given by the producer, on the rationale that, unlike the makers of the excellent Mosaic box, he was one of the session's actual participants.

Musicians And Instruments

1. The Capitol Jazzmen
The Capitol Jazzmen was the name that Dave Dexter, Jr. gave to the West Coast musicians that he hired for record dates held on November 16, 1943 and January 7, 1944. Both this ensemble and later ones (The International Jazzmen, The Hollywood Hucksters) were apparently put together exclusively for these Capitol sessions; I have found no evidence of activity outside of the recording studio.

The first date (November 16) actually consisted of two sessions. In addition to the session with The Capitol Jazzmen, there was another credited to Jack Teagarden's Chicagoans, which was essentially the same ensemble (with the exception of just one different member) under another name.

2. Jack Teagarden And Peggy Lee
As for the two vocalists that participated in these early New American Jazz dates, neither one was present at the other one's session. They would sing together, however, many years later. For details about their duets, check section XXIV (aka The Paul Whiteman Tribute) of this page.

3. Instruments
Piano, clarinet, trumpet, and alto sax on "Ain't Goin' No Place" only. Stanley Wrightsman's celeste on "That Old Feeling" only.


According to a producer's note included in New American Jazz, "[n]o arrangements were used on the two sessions, in Hollywood, which produced the eight exciting performances contained between these two boards. There was no manuscript; no music stands. Each musician played as he elected to play. Jack Teagarden and Peggy Lee sang as they wanted to sing. No one gave instructions; there were no admonitions."


1. New American Jazz [78 album]
This album consists of four 78 discs:

10009: "Clambake In B-Flat" / "I'm Sorry I Made You Cry" (vocal by Jack Teagarden)
10010: "Casanova's Lament" (vocal by Jack Teagarden) / "In My Solitude")
10111: "Sugar" / "Ain't Goin' No Place" ("blues vocal" by Peggy Lee)
10112 "Someday, Sweetheart" / "That Old Feeling" (vocal by Peggy Lee)

All eight sides are credited to The Capitol Jazzmen. The songs in the first two 78s come from the November 16, 1943 date, whereas the songs in the last two shellac discs are from this January 7, 1944 session.

<>New American Jazz (Set A-3) was only the third album ever released by Capitol. The two previous album releases had been Songs By Johnny Mercer (A-1, featuring Mercer with The Pied Pipers and Jo Stafford) and Christmas Carols, (A-2, by the St. Luke's Choristers.) A well-received and probably good-selling issue, Capitol apparently reissued New American Jazz with a new catalogue number (CD-3) in either 1945 or 1946. (Side note: This is a matter in need of further research. My copy of this album bears catalogue number CD-3 and includes a booklet that identifies itself as A-3. Looking at those two numbers, I am left to wonder about the accuracy of part of the information given right before this parenthetical note: were there really two editions with different catalogue numbers? Or is this an erroneous claim, stemming from confusion about the fact that the album and its booklet carry slightly different numbers (SET A-3, CD-3)? Alternatively, could CD-3 really be a second edition, whose booklet misidentifies itself as SET A-3 when it should be more appropriately called SET CD-3? Be that as it may, the popularity of the album is not in question. In one of the copies that I have seen online, I was able to read the words "second printing November 1944," which suggest that Capitol might have run out of its first 'printing' within the first year of release.)


1. "Ain't Goin' No Place"
2. Dave Cavanaugh, Dave Dexter, Dick Larkin
Swaggie's LP The Capitol Jazzmen 1943-47 credits the writing of the song "Ain't Goin' No Place" to its session's producer, Dave Dexter, Jr. So do some Public Domain CD issues, which probably relied on the information originally given by Swaggie. Such a credit appears to be erroneous. The original 78 album (New American Jazz ) credits Dick Larkin instead, and so do the Mosaic issues, which are Capitol-licensed and generally very well-researched.

"Dick Larkin" was actually one of various pseudonyms used by Dave Cavanaugh. At the time of this session Cavanaugh was a Capitol in-house musician but in later decades he would become a well-known Capitol producer. In fact, he went on to spend nearly a decade as Peggy Lee's producer, and also as her sometime co-writer.

Masters And Takes

1. Non-Lee Masters (Instrumentals)
In addition to Peggy Lee's vocals, this session also produced two instrumentals whose master numbers are 171 ("Sugar") and 173 ("Someday, Sweetheart").

2. Take Numbers
Some sources suggest that this session's masters were completed in one take. The booklet of Mosaic's Classic Capitol Jazz Sessions indicates otherwise. For both vocals and instrumentals, take numbers range from 2 to 4.

3. Credits In Capitol's Files
Various sources indicate that, in Capitols files, masters #172 and #174 are credited to "Peggy Lee with Eddie Miller & The All-Star Jazz."

Date: Possibly June 30, 1944
Location: Possibly Radio Recorders; Alternatively, NBC Studios , Hollywood, Los Angeles
Label: ARA

Bob Crosby (ldr), Bob Crosby (con, v), Bob Crosby And His Orchestra (acc), Sid Bender, Don Brassfield, Robert "Bob" Lawson, Frank Meyers, Clint Neagley (sax), Claude Bowen, Jack Holmes, Jack Mootz, Quig Quigley (t), Walter Benson, Bill Hearn, Warren Smith (tb), Robert "Bob" Bain (g), Edward Gilbert (b), Ernie Hughes (p), Jimmy Felton (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. RR-9756-3Ara Master It's Anybody's Spring - 2:48(Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen)
b. RR-9757-2Ara Master On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe - 2:52(Johnny Mercer, Harry Warren)
ARA 78Rm 114 [Version #2] — {On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe / On The Midnight Train To Memphis [instrumental by The Porky Freeman Trio}    (1945)
Megaphon (Mpo Entertainment) Public Domain CD(France) Mpo 96216 — Peggy Lee ("Les Plus Grandes Voix Du Jazz: Classic American Music" Boxed Set)   
Both titles on: ARA 78Rm 114 [Version #1] — {On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe / It's Anybody's Spring}    (1945)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)


For this session, my primary source of information has been Charles Garrod and Bill Korst's discography of Bob Crosby, published in 1987 by Joyce Record Club, a music collectors' label. (The same data can also be found in certain jazz discographies which obviously copied it from Garrod and Korst's pamphlet.) No other significant sources of information have come to my attention.

Cross-references (Radio, Record Label)

According to a few sources, including Ron Lackmann's The Encyclopedia Of American Radio, Peggy Lee spent various seasons working as the female vocalist of The Bob Crosby Show. Could it be that this session's performances were taken from broadcasts of that radio show? I suspect such to be the case, but I lack any solid evidence to back up my suspicion.

Specifics about Bob Crosby's radio venture are scant and hard to come by. I have managed to locate relevant data for only seven of the show's 40 episodes. Lee actually guested in one of those seven episodes, but the songs that she performed in that episode are not the ones listed above. In the absence of details about the other 33 installments, I am unable to ascertain whether Lee appeared in the series at any other time, let alone how frequently.

The 40 episodes in question constitute the 1943-1944 season of the show. This is the only season in which Lee could have appeared with any degree of frequency. (Before the second half of 1943, Lee was tied to The Benny Goodman Orchestra, and would have thus been unable to acceot any long-term offers to perform separately from the band. After the first half of 1944, Crosby's show remained off the air until 1946. By that last year, Lee was certainly making guest appearances in various radio programs but, to my knowledge, Bob Crosby's show was not one of them.) In conclusion, Lachman's claim that Peggy Lee was a cast member of The Bob Crosby Show for several reasons is an overstatement. At best, she might have have appeared in multiple episodes of the 1943-1944 season.

For a more extensive discussion of my radio-as-source hypothesis, and for longer commentary on Bob Crosby's radio show, consult this miscellaneous page. For a few additional details about the short-lived label Ara Records, see the same page.

Dating And Location

Following my only authoritative source (Garrod and Korst), I have assigned the date June 30, 1944 to both masters. That date was imprinted in test pressings of these performances, according to them. The test pressings were once held by the owner of Ara Records, and have been seen by at least one of the authors of Crosby's discography. Both session masters bear the prefix RR, which probably stands for Radio Recorders.

Despite the factual details offered in the preceding paragraph, the exact date and location on which this session's masters were recorded remains tentative. The tentativeness stems from my already shared suspicion that these masters could have been originally culled from radio broadcasts of The Bob Crosby Show (1943-1944 season). NBC Studios is likely to have been the location from which the show was broadcast. Hypothetically, this session's tracks would have been recorded to disc while they were being broadcast, and the discs would have been taken to Radio Recorders for mastering. A lengthier discussion on this speculative subject can be found in the aforementioned miscellaneous page.


1. Duet Vocal
Bob Crosby shares vocal duties with Peggy Lee only on the number "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe."

2. Musicians
With the exceptions of Bob Crosby and Peggy Lee, the personnel entered for this session should be deemed tentative. It is actually a collective personnel. Although the musicians listed were indeed members of Bob Crosby's band during the mid-40s, it is not known if all of them were present when Lee's numbers were performed, nor is it known whether additional, unlisted musicians participated.


1. Non-Lee Masters
Also listed as recorded during this session are masters Rr 9754 (the instrumental "Java Junction") and Rr 9755 ("Come With Me, My Honey," which features a vocal by The Town Criers). Incidentally, those two numbers were released on another Ara 78 rpm disc (catalogue number Rm 103).

2. "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe" And Ara's Master #1137
Oddly, "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe" is listed twice in Garrod and Korst's discography of Bob Crosby, as follows:

- master Rr 9756; June 30, 1944
released on Ara 78 Rm 114

- master Ara #1137; March 4, 1946
released on Ara 78 Rm 114

Looking at the information at hand, it would be reasonable to conclude that these are different Bob Crosby performances of "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe." There would be two main details leading to that conclusion: the recording dates are different, and so are the master numbers.

But the opposite conclusion could be drawn if another above-offered detail were to be taken into consideration: the same 78 rpm disc is listed under both master numbers. Based on this specific claim, it would be reasonable to assume that we are looking at both an issue and a reissued of the same performance of "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe," to which Ara would have re-assigned a master number, probably on March 4, 1946. (The rationale for the -re-assignment could only be speculated: the label's change of ownership, insufficient care in the allocation of master numbers, etc.)

I do not know which of these opposite conclusions is correct. Readers are invited to form their own opinions after reading the additional details that are provided in the next paragraphs Do notice, though, that we are departing from the assumption that there are no mistakes in Garrod and Korst's information. Such an assumption could certainly be wrong.

It's worth adding that Ara masters #1136 and #1138 were also assigned to performances by Bob Crosby, and they were not previously recorded numbers. Hence it is certainly possible that, as proposed in the first of the two conclusions above, master #1137 was a new Crosby master -- a different vocal version of "On The Atchison, Topeka And Santa Fe," which he would have undertaken solo or, at any rate, without Lee.

There is more curiously detail to add to this confusing picture. Ara 78 rpm disc #114 was actually re-released. (This fact will be explained in more detail below, under Issues). We could theorize that different masters from different dates (1944, 1946) were issued in each version of Ara #114, and that such a "fact" accounts for the confusing information presented above. Unfortunately, I have not listed to both Ara #114 discs. Hence I can neither confirm nor deny this possibility. (Verification from any collector who owns copies of both 78s would be appreciated.)

In any case, the chances that we are dealing with two different masters strike me as slim at best. An error in the information is the most logical of the conclusions.

Issues And Collectors' Corner

1. Two Different Issues Of Ara #114 [78]
Ara #114 was released twice, in partially different versions.

The earliest version contains both of this session's masters, featuring Peggy Lee on vocals: her solo "It's Anybody's Spring" and her duet with Bob Crosby, "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe."

The second version of Ara #114 also includes the duet, but its flip side substitutes "It's Anybody's Spring" with an instrumental by The "Porky" Freeman Trio ("On The Night Train To Memphis").

I have seen online photos of the two versions. On the respective labels of the 78 rpm discs, both Peggy Lee and Bob Crosby are credited by name.

I have listened to only one of the two releases, however. Hence confirmation is still needed on the assumption that the exact same take of "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe" is heard in both 78 rpm versions.

The reason for the partial re-release of Ara #114 remains unknown to me. Hypothetical explanations can be advanced, of course. Perhaps a mixup took place at either Ara or its 78 pressing company, resulting in the issuing of two singles under the same catalogue number. Or maybe Ara's release practices were unorthodox: the label might have had a tendency to recycle its masters. As an instance pointing toward this possibility, it's worth noting that "On The Night Train To Memphis" is found not only on Ara #114 but also on Ara #119. Given the short life of the label, a penchant for recycling could be an indication of financial difficulties, or it could point to a relative small total number of masters in the company's vaults.

Here is another (and, in my opinion, likelier) motivation for pulling the original issue from the market: objections to the release of "It's Anybody's Spring." Such objections would have been raised by the parties connected to the movie Road To Utopia, in which this song was featured. Since the film did not premiere until 1946, the issuing of this vocal in 1945 could have elicited a "cease and desist" order from such film industry parties, or even from Decca, the recording company to which Bob Crosby's brother Bing -- the star of the movie -- was exclusively contracted. (For more commentary and speculation on this matter, see my supplementary page about these Ara sides.)

Further complicating matters is the fact that the second version of Ara #114 (i.e., the version with the "Porky" Freeman Trio instrumental) exists in two variants. The differences between the variants are very minor, however. A first difference pertains to font size. One variant uses the same font as the first version of Ara #114. The other variant uses a smaller font. A second difference can be found in the label of these 78 discs -- more specifically, in the typography of the Warren-Mercer title. The large font version gives the song's title as "Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe" (coinciding, once again, with the first version of Ara #114), whereas the small font version calls it "On The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe." Curious readers wanting to see the variant not pictured above should check the chronological 78 index. (Scroll down to the 1945 entries.)

2. Ara 1137: A Third Version Of Ara 114?
Various collectors have also pointed out the rumored existence of a 78 rpm Ara single numbered 1137, containing a Bob Crosby version of "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe." The matter remains a rumor because nobody has ever produced a copy of such a 78. The catalogue number itself raises a flag, because it is much higher than those from the regular Ara 100 series, which make up over 90% of Ara's catalogue.

It seems likely that this rumor originated in someone's misreading of the (certainly confusing) information about Ara 114 that was provided by Garrod and Korst. The authors refer to a master numbered 1137. At some point, a reader must have wrongly thought that 1137 was a catalogue number instead of a master number.

Date: December 27, 1944
Location: C. P. MacGregor Studios, 729 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles
Capitol Session #108

Peggy Lee (ldr), Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Henry J. "Heinie" Beau, Harold Lawson, Maury Stein (cl), Billy May (t), Dave Barbour (g), Artie Shapiro (b), Milt Raskin (p), Nick Fatool (d), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 540-3Capitol Master Baby (Is What He Calls Me) - 2:56(Kay Butler)
CAPITOL 78 albumAd 62 (48012-48015) — [Various Artists] Collector's Items - Top Drawer Jazz Classics (Capitol's Americana Series)   (1948)
CAPITOL Jazz CD0777 7 97826 2 8 — MISS PEGGY LEE    (1998)
ABM (Audio Book & Music) Public Domain CD(England) Abmmcd 1092 — It's Lovin' Time   (1999)
b. 541-2Capitol Master What More Can A Woman Do - 2:43(Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78197 — {What More Can A Woman Do / You Was Right, Baby}   (1945)
USA Government's War Department; Army's V-Disc Series V-Disc484 — {What More Can A Woman Do / You Was Right, Baby /3 vocals by Bing Crosby}   (1945)
Asv/Living Era Public Domain CD(England) Aja 5237 — Why Don't You Do Right?; 25 Early Hits   (1997)
c. 542-3Capitol Master A Cottage For Sale - 2:56(Larry Conley, Willard Robison)
Collectors' Choice Licensed CDCcm 917 2 — THE LOST '40'S & '50'S CAPITOL MASTERS   (2008)
d. 543-2Capitol Master You Was Right, Baby - 2:26(Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78197 — {What More Can A Woman Do / You Was Right, Baby}   (1945)
USA Government's War Department; Army's V-Disc Series V-Disc484 — {What More Can A Woman Do / You Was Right, Baby /3 vocals by Bing Crosby}   (1945)
CAPITOL 7815277 — {It's A Good Day / You Was Right, Baby}    (1948)

The Recording Session (And Johnny Mercer)

1. Photos
The above-shown images are believed to have been taken at this recording session. Most of them are dated December 27, 1944 at Getty Images.

2. In Peggy Lee's Own Words
Peggy Lee's aforementioned vocals with The Capitol Jazzmen (recorded on January 7, 1944) had been very well received, earning radio airplay and positive reviews. As Lee told radio broadcaster Fred Hall, "that was a success, so they asked us to record more ...[...]... I was just beginning to write songs then as a hobby when I was taking care of my house." At the instigation of Barbour's friend Carlos Gastel (an artists' manager at Capitol Records), Barbour and Lee played for Johnny Mercer a few of the songs that the couple had been writing as a pastime. "And Johnny heard some of those things and liked them," Lee continued, "and he gave me some good, helpful criticism, like Try this or Try that, and I just never will forget him for the many things he did for me. And he was instrumental in my being a songwriter." Also at the direct instigation of Gastel, the Barbours reasoned that it would be okay to just record two or three additional songs for the Capitol label. As Lee explained, "Then when they talked us into recording, we didn't have any material, so Johnny said, Do those things I heard -- those are great. So we did them, and they were hits ... [...] ... What More Can A Woman Do? and You Was Right, Baby..."

3. Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer has been sometimes identified as the man who brought Lee into the Capitol fold. (Alan Livingston is among those who have bestowed this credit on Mercer. Livingston was the company's main A&R man during the second half of the 1940s, and would go on to preside over the company.) In reality, credit should be shared by Mercer with both Dave Dexter, Jr. (see notes under January 7, 1944 session) and Carlos Gastel (see notes at the bottom of this page). Be as it may, the above-quoted remarks make abundantly clear that Mercer's guidance proved invaluable to Lee during her first years at Capitol. As a budding lyricist, she treasured the songwriting advice that he gave her, and considered him the model to which a songwriter like herself should aspire.

Musicians And Instruments

1. Brass And Reeds
My two main sources for this session show disagreement on the matter of the instruments with which Harold Lawson and Maurice Stein are credited. In Peggy Lee's Capitol session files, both Lawson and Stein are listed as playing clarinet (along with Heinie Beau). In Jack Mirtle's The Music Of Billy May: A Discography, only Beau is credited with clarinet playing. Lawson is listed on trumpet (along with May) whereas Stein is credited with tenor sax playing.

In my listening of all four performances from the session, I consistently hear various clarinets in unison. (The combination of guitar with a clarinet section is actually characteristic of the Lee-Barbour sessions from the 1940s.) Only very, very briefly, during the intro of "You Was Right, Baby," do I hear any brass -- a trumpet. I am thus putting more trust in the claims made on Capitol's session files. (In the photos that have been belatedly found and added to this session, I believe that I am seeing four woodwind instruments, three of them definitely looking like clarinets. The identify of the fourth instrument is a bit harder for me to ascertain; it looks like a bass clarinet to me.)

I consider Mirtle's discography an excellent source. He consulted the American Federation of Musicians contracts, which are justly deemed the most reliable source for session personnel. He also spoke extensively with Billy May. In this case, however, perhaps the contracts did not specify instruments, which would have led to an educated assumption on May's and/or Mirtle's part. Or the contracts might simply list Lawson and Stein under the instruments for which they were best known.

2. Vocal Chorus
The session's musicians are presumed to have supplied the all-male chorus heard toward the closing of "You Was Right, Baby."

3. Maury Stein Or Maurie Styne?
The 78 album Collector's Items - Top Drawer Jazz Classics lists the session personnel in the label of each 78 platter. Whereas Maury Stein is the name given most everywhere else, "Maurie Styne" is the variant found in that 78 rpm platter. (Stein was the brother of songwriter Jules Styne. Besides being a woodwind instrumentalist, he was also the proprietor of Stein On Vine, a musical instrument shop and repair store.)

Arrangers And Arrangements

1. Sources
2. Heinie Beau
3. Dave Barbour
I have three sources for this date's arranging credits, and they are not in agreement.

According to Jack Mirtle in his discography of Billy May, this session used head arrangements. In making this assertion, Mirtle might have followed both his ear and the opinion of Billy May, with whom Mirtle consulted extensively.

However, these performances are not identified as head arrangements in Capitol's Peggy Lee session files. Instead, the files credit both Dave Barbour and Heinie Beau for the arrangements, without specifying which man is responsible for which arrangement.

In Capitol's library of music scores, the man who receives credit for both "What More Can A Woman Do?" and "You Was Right, Baby" is Beau, not Barbour. I am thus giving credit to Heinie Beau for those two arrangements.

Capitol's library does not have copies of the arrangements for the other performances from this session. Were we to fully trust the details supplied by the Peggy Lee session file, credit would have to be given to Dave Barbour. If, on the other hand, we were to rely on the details given in the Billy May discography, then one or both of these performances could have head arrangements.

For the time being, and until more information comes forward, I am abstaining from crediting Barbour.

4. "You Was Right, Baby"
5. Cecil L. Stover
An arrangement for the song "You Was Right, Baby" is extant in Peggy Lee's sheet music library. Its arranger is Cecil L. Stover, its date unknown. I have not consulted the material in Lee's library, but I do not have reason to believe that Stover's arrangement is the same one heard in this session.


1. Collectors' Items [78 album]
The title of this 1948 Capitol album points to the fact that most of its songs had been recorded years earlier, yet left unissued until then. In addition to Peggy Lee (represented by her "Baby" from the present session), the other seven acts featured in the set are Benny Carter ("I Can't Get Started"), Sonny Greer ("Bug In A Rug"), The Hollywood Hucksters ("I Apologize"), Eddie Miller ("Just One More Chance"), Red Nichols ("Your Everything"), Rex Stewart's Big Eight ("T'Ain't Like That") and Stan Kenton. Besides Peggy Lee, the only other female heard in the record is Anita O'Day. Working here in her capacity as Stan Kenton's canary, O'Day sings "Travelin' Man," a number that the band recorded on January 5, 1945 -- that is to say, merely a few days after Lee's "Baby (Is What He Calls Me)." In this 78 album of Collectors' Items, Peggy Lee's "Baby" can be found in disc #48014, whose flip side features the aforementioned Rex Stewart performance.

Date: July 30, 1945
Location: Los Angeles
Capitol Session #182

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Dave Barbour And His Orchestra (acc), Unknown (sax, cl, b, p), Dave Barbour (g), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 739-3Capitol Master Waiting For The Train To Come In - 3:04(Martin Block, Sunny Skylar) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78218 — {Waiting For The Train To Come In / I'm Glad I Waited For You}   (1945)
Columbia River/Allegro Public Domain CDCrg 218010 — Peggy Lee ("Cocktail Hour" Series)   (2000)
Rajon ?Public Domain CD(Australia) Rmgr 0423 — Mañana; The Best Of Peggy Lee   (2001)
Rajon ?Public Domain CD(Australia) 2029 — It's A Good Day ("Sounds Of The 20th Century" Series)   (2002)
Naxos Public Domain CD(England) 8.120642 — It's A Good Day; Original Recordings, 1941-1950   (2002)
b. 739-_Capitol Alternate Waiting For The Train To Come In - 3:04(Martin Block, Sunny Skylar) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" TranscriptionP 477 - P 478 — Basic Music Library [Peggy Lee, Johnny Mercer, Bob Crosby]   (1945)
Armed Forces Radio & Television Service 16" TranscriptionProgram No. 144 — Jill's Juke Box [Dick Haymes,, Frank Sinatra, Others]   (1945)
Armed Forces Radio & Television Service 16" TranscriptionProgram No. 1300 — G.I. Jive [Nat King Cole, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller]   (1946)
c. 740-3Capitol Master I'm Glad I Waited For You - 2:36(Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau
CAPITOL 78218 — {Waiting For The Train To Come In / I'm Glad I Waited For You}   (1945)
Armed Forces Radio Service 16" TranscriptionP 477 - P 478 — Basic Music Library [Peggy Lee, Johnny Mercer, Bob Crosby]   (1945)
Armed Forces Radio & Television Service 16" TranscriptionProgram No. 1297 — G.I. Jive [Count Basie, Woody Herman, Harry James]   (1946)

The Recording Session, The Recording Contract, And Johnny Mercer

In the informative and well-written liner notes of the Capitol CD The Early Years, Robin Callot mentions that Peggy Lee was tense during this session. Fortunately, Capitol co-owner Johnny Mercer was present at the date and had a calming influence on Lee. Callot states that Mercer "urg[ed] her to relax her voice and just bend the notes." Judging from the resulting masters, the advice was taken to heart.

Although I can only speculate on the matter, I would like to propose that Peggy Lee was tense at the session because she was taking on a new role: that of an artist freshly signed by a company.

The date on which Lee signed an exclusive contract with Capitol Records is not known to me. (Peggy Lee's first discographer, Ron Towe, gives the date as 1944, but the source or basis for his statement is also unknown to me.) I am inclined to think that the contract was signed in the first half of 1945, and that this date on July the 30th was her first one under contract. In my speculative scenario, her tension or anxiety would have arisen from realizing that the burden of responsibility was now fully on her shoulders. Starting then and there, she would belong to a record company that naturally expected her to turn the songs assigned to her into commercial hits.

(Of course, tension or nervousness could have been elicited by any number of other reasons, and none of them might ever be known to us. My scenario is, once again, a purely speculative one. Having reiterated this point, I would also like to make clear that Lee was, by this time, well-experienced in the fundamentals of studio recording. Therefore, the process itself would have not made her particularly tense. In addition to her many recording dates with The Benny Goodman Orchestra and the sessions previously listed in this chronological page, Lee had waxed over 15 numbers with Barbour and his group early in 1945 for the radio transcription company MacGregor.)

Notice also that this is the earliest of Lee's Capitol sessions in which the repertoire consists exclusively of commercial songs of the day. In other words, these were not numbers written by or for her, not were they the type of tried-and-true standards that she had tackled in the earlier Capitol and MacGregor sessions. Given such a difference in the brand of repertoire attempted at this session, I am further moved to speculation about a newly acquired status in Lee's career. "Plug numbers" were being assigned to her, as they would have been for any artist under the company's directive.

These is something else that a newly signed exclusivity contract could explain. I am referring to an uncharacteristically inaccurate statement found in the liner notes of the aforementioned CD. Robin Callot refers to this July 30, 1945 as Peggy Lee's first session for Capitol. Since Lee had already done two dates for the label (January 7 and December 27, 1944, the second date presumably under either her own name, or The Barbours' name), the reference to a debut date would seem to be an error on the part of the liner annotator. I wonder, however, if the erroneous assertion stems from company paperwork consulted by Callot. Some of Capitol's paperwork could conceivably omit Lee's name as a headliner; The Capitol Jazzmen and Dave Barbour could have been given that position in the earlier -- pre-contract? -- dates. (The Capitol paperwork that I consulted does include the earlier dates under Lee, but Callot could have had access to a different set of papers. In any case, this paragraph is meant mostly as a musing.)

Even if the above-described matter were eventually revealed to have been Callot's own error alone (an arguably minor one, in an otherwise finely crafted set of notes), and even if Lee were proven to have been tense at the session for reasons other than the ones about which I have speculated, I will probably maintain my current line of thinking. Hopefully, official data will turn up in time, specifying the precise date (or at least the year) on which Peggy Lee first entered into an exclusive contract with Capitol Records.

Personnel (At A Split Session)

Three masters were recorded during this session. One of them, master #738, is not mentioned above because the artist who recorded it was not Peggy Lee, but Margaret Whiting. Accompanied by the Paul Weston Orchestra, she did "It Might As Well Be Spring." It would be logical to assume that some or even all of the musicians who accompanied Whiting also accompanied Lee, but I do not have proof that such was the case. At the present time, the identity of the session's musicians is unknown to me.


The above-shown solo photos are Capitol publicity shots, probably taken after Peggy Lee was already under contract with the label. They date from either 1945 or 1946. The first graced the front covers of two magazines, one published in October of 1945, the other in February of 1947. Over the ensuing years, numerous additional uses have been found for this photograph, which must rank as Lee's most disseminated image from her first period as a Capitol artist (1944-1952).

Comparatively rare, the other photo can be found at Getty Images, where it bears what looks like approximate dating (January 1, 1944). I believe such a date to be off the mark by at least one year, but do not have any hard evidence to back up my belief. (For what is worth, a shot from the same photographic session was published in a magazine issued in October of 1946. Elsewhere, there are also photos in which Lee happens to be wearing the same dress --though, I hasten to clarify, they do seem to be from the same photo session -- and which bear an October 22, 1945 date.)

The picture with Johnny Mercer is definitely from early 1944. It was featured in a magazine published in March of that year.


1. "Waiting For The Train To Come In" And The Music Charts
According to Joel Whitburn's estimates in his book Pop Memories, 1890-1954, "Waiting For The Train To Come In" was Peggy Lee's first chart hit as a solo artist. (As a canary with The Benny Goodman Orchestra, ten of Lee's vocals had made the Billboard charts, including one that reached the #1 position.)

Whitburn's estimates may or may not be off the mark. Various articles from this period state that substantial radio airplay was given to Lee's earlier vocals with The Capitol Jazzmen (see session dated January 7, 1944). Similar comments can be found about "What More Can A Woman Do" and "You Was Right, Baby" (see session dated December 27, 1944), too. However, none of those numbers are listed in Whitburn's text -- nor, for that matter, in any other music chart texts at my reach.

"Waiting For The Train To Come In" entered the charts during the week of November 10, 1945 and stayed for 14 weeks. It peaked at #4. There were two competing versions, both of which peaked a little lower than Lee's. With a vocal by Kitty Kallen, a version by Columbia's Harry James spent six weeks in the chart and reached #6. The third charting version, credited to Decca's Johnny Long & his Orchestra, stayed for ten weeks and climbed to #7; it featured a vocal by Dick Robertson.

2. "I'm Glad I Waited For You" In The Charts
The flip side of Capitol #218 also charted. "I'm Glad I Waited For You" appeared on the chart during the week of March 30, 1946, and peaked at #24. No competing versions are listed in Whitburn's text, but Helen Forrest's recording for Decca makes an appearance in Edward Foote Gardner's Popular Songs Of The Twentieth Century: A Charted History. "I'm Glad I Waited For You" was also sung by Alfred Drake in the soundtrack of the 1946 movie Tars And Spars.


1. Source
The arrangements for this session's two songs are extant in Capitol's library of music scores. Both are credited to Heinie Beau.

Masters And Alternate Takes

1. "Waiting For The Train To Come In"
As shown above, Capitol has released two takes of "Waiting For The Train To Come In." Various details, some pertaining to the vocal and some to the instrumental parts, clearly differentiate the master from the alternate take. For instance, two of the session's musicians (the guitarist and the clarinetist) treat the alternate's instrumental break differently from the master's. The same verdict applies to the vocalist's treatment of the song's final lines. In the alternate take, Lee delivers them as follows:

I'm waiting for the train to come in
I'm waiting for the train to come in

In the master take, she adds the word "just":

I'm waiting for the train to come in
Just waiting
I'm waiting for the train to come in

I have not listened to every single Peggy Lee issue that contains her Capitol rendition of "Waiting For The Train To Come In." Aural verification (either from my ears or from those of other fans) has taken place for the small group of issues that are listed under master 739-3. As for the CDs and LPs currently listed under the alternate take, here is a list of those which have been verified:

Time Life Music CS/LP: 4 Lgd/Slgd 07 — Peggy Lee ("Legendary Singers" Series) (1985)
CAPITOL CS/CD: C4 5/Cdp 7 93195 — The Early Years (Capitol Collectors Series, Volume 1) (1990)
Asv/Living Era CD: (England) Aja 5237 — Why Don't You Do Right?; 25 Early Hits (1997)
CAPITOL CD: 0777 7 97826 2 8 (97827-97830) — Miss Peggy Lee (1998)
CAPITOL CD: 7243 4 97308 2 3 — The Best Of Miss Peggy Lee (1998)
Reader's Digest CS/CD: Rf7/Krf 140 [Emi 72434 99216] — The Legendary Peggy Lee: Her Greatest Hits & Finest Performances (1999)
Castle/Pie CD: (England) Piesd 045 — Mañana [also part of Ladies Of Jazz: Ella, Billie, Peggy #904, a 3CD set] (1999)
CAPITOL©EMI Special Markets CD: Gsc 15453/7243 4 96336 2 9 — Peggy Lee ("36 All-Time Greatest Hits" Series) (1999)
Gallerie/Music Collection CD: (England) Gale 442 — A Portrait Of Peggy Lee (1999)
Going-For-A-Song CD: (England) Gfs 241 — The Fever Of Peggy Lee (1999)
Movieplay/Intermusic's Goldies CD: (Portugal) Gld 25438 — Golden Earrings (2001)
Disky CD: (The Netherlands) 905191 — Peggy Lee ("Golden Greats" Series) (2002)
Asv/Living Era CD: (England) Aja 266 — It's A Good Day; 50 Original Mono Recordings, 1941-1951 (2002)
CAPITOL©EMI CD: 7243 5 39756 2 3 — The Singles Collection (2002)
Proper CD: (England) Intro Cd 2003 — I Get Ideas ("A Proper Introduction" Series) (2004)
Disky CD: (The Netherlands) Si 903647 /Cb 904361 — Here's Peggy Lee ("The Here's Series," Volume 1) (2006)
History CD: (Germany) 20.3046 Hi — Everything I Love ("The Great Vocalists Of Jazz & Entertainment" Series) (1999)
Tim International CD: (Germany) 205422 304 — That Old Feeling ... You Go To My Head (2001)
Proper CD: (England) 45 P 1277 1280 — The Peggy Lee Story (2002)
Tim International CD: (Germany) 220838 [220839-220843] — A Nightingale Can Sing The Blues ("Document" Series) (2004)
Weton-Wesgram CD: (The Netherlands) Mom 641 — Peggy Lee ("Masters Of Music" Series) (2005)
Proper CD: (England) Box 108 — Miss Wonderful (2006)
Music Club CD: (England) Mccd 619 — Black Coffee; The Best Of Peggy Lee (2007)
Big3 CD: Bt 3039 — Peggy Lee ("The Absolutely Essential CD Collection" Series) (2011)

The remainder of Peggy Lee CDs and LPs containing her Capitol recording of "Waiting For The Train To Come In" have been somewhat arbitrarily placed under the alternate. The reasons behind this collective placement are simple: the discographer needed to make an educated guess, and the alternate is (paradoxically) the most widely disseminated of the two takes, by far. (That having been said, there is a fair chance that the master is the version heard in the listed transcription discs.) I'd appreciate receiving confirmation and corrections from owners of copies of these issues.


My thanks to jacksonivy, a fellow board member at the Peggy Lee Bulletin Board ( for alerting me and all other members to the existence of the alternate take of "Waiting For The Train To Come In."

Date: December 26, 1945
Location: Radio Recorders, 7000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles
Capitol Session #230

Peggy Lee (ldr), Lee Gillette (pdr), Dave Barbour All-Stars (acc), Unknown (sax, cl, b, p), Dave Barbour (g), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 886-3Capitol Master I Can See It Your Way, Baby - 2:58(Inez James, Sidney Miller) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau and/or Billy May
CAPITOL 78236 — {I Can See It Your Way, Baby / I Don't Know Enough About You}   (1946)
ABM (Audio Book & Music) Public Domain CD(England) Abmmcd 1092 — It's Lovin' Time   (1999)
Hallmark Public Domain CD(England) Halmcd 1320 — It's Lovin' Time [Reissue of ABM 1092]   (2001)
CAPITOL©EMI CD7243 5 39756 2 3 — THE SINGLES COLLECTION   (2002)
b. 887-2Capitol Master I Don't Know Enough About You - 3:23(Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau and/or Billy May
CAPITOL 78236 — {I Can See It Your Way, Baby / I Don't Know Enough About You}   (1946)
CAPITOL double EP/(10") LPEbf/H 151 (rel. 6/52) — Rendezvous With Peggy Lee   (1949)
CAPITOL 78 & 451667 & F 1667 — {I Don't Know Enough About You / I Can't Give You Anything But Love} [reissue series]   (1951)
c. 887-_Alternate Take I Don't Know Enough About You - 3:17(Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee) / arr: Henry J. "Heinie" Beau and/or Billy May
CAPITOL LPT 151 — Rendezvous With Peggy Lee   (1955)
CAPITOL reel/8T/CS/LPX/8xt/4xt/Dkao 377 — Peggy Lee's Greatest! (Duophonic Series)   (1969)
CAPITOL©EMI's Pathé Marconi CS/LP(France) Pm 154 773 4/1 (also Pm 407) — Rendez-Vous With Peggy Lee ("Retrospect" Reissue Series)   (1984)

The Recording Session

1. Photos
At Getty Images, the above-seen pictures have been given the date December 27, 1945. The date on which these photos were actually taken could indeed be December 27, but December 26 is a strong possibility as well. (A good number of the commercial pictures that I have checked online happen to have incorrect or approximate dates.)


1. "I Don't Know Enough About You" In The Music Charts
According to Joel Whitburn, "I Don't Know Enough About You" was Peggy Lee's third chart hit as a solo artist. After making its debut during the week of May 25, 1946, Lee's recording went on to peak at #7 and to stay in the charts for 6 weeks. Whitburn's tally is likely to rely primarily on Billboard magazine. "[T]he song was so popular with radio listeners that it stayed on the Hit Parade radio show for a record 17 weeks," adds Robin Callot in the liner notes of the Capitol CD The Early Years.

Peggy Lee's self-penned tune also enjoyed competing versions from men who had happened to record other songs in duets with her, or who would eventually record such duets with Lee. At Columbia, old boss Benny Goodman re-enlisted Lee's erstwhile partner Art Lund as his orchestra's vocalist, and their version reached #12. At Decca, her score (#7) was tied bt the very popular Mills Brothers, with whom she sang two record masters in 1954, after having moved to their label.


1. Dave Barbour's All-Stars
Except for Dave Barbour, the identities of this session's musicians are unknown. Capitol's decision to name the ensemble "Dave Barbour's All-Stars" could be an indication that some of them were well-known musicians. (Then again, the name could be merely an attention-grabbing moniker.)

It's also worth pointing out that this session is close in time to Lee's MacGregor transcription sessions (listed in a separate page of this discography), whose personnel is as follows: Heinie Beau (cl), Herbert Haymer (ts), Billy May (t), Dave Barbour (g), Phil Stephens (b), Buddy Cole (p), Tommy Romersa (d). During this period, Barbour and Lee steadily worked with most of those excellent musicians.

2. Billy May
Jack Mirtle's discography of Billy May lists May as possibly playing trumpet during the session; I am not certain that a trumpet is heard in this date's masters.

Arrangements And Arrangers

1. Heinie Beau
2. Billy May
My two sources for this session's arrangements are in conflict. Capitol's library of music scores identifies Heinie Beau as the arranger of both numbers. Jack Mirtle's The Music Of Billy May: A Discography credits Billy May as the session's arranger, without specifying whether he's responsible for both arrangements, or just one. Faced with this problematic discrepancy, I am giving tentative credit to both arrangers, and hoping that clearer information will eventually come forward.


1. Radio Recorders
2. MacGregor Studios
My source for this session's location is the Capitol Label Discography, by Michel Ruppli, Bill Daniels, and Ed Novitsky, with Michael Cuscuna.

No location is listed in Peggy Lee's session file, which is my primary source. The likeliest site for most of Lee's Capitol-LA studio sessions from 1945 to October 1947 is indeed Radio Recorders, but I have abstained from entering it in any session where the file does not give it. The possibility remains that, for one reason or another, some of the sessions had to be held elsewhere.

During Capitol's earlier years, MacGregor Studios had been the recording studio of choice. Margaret Whiting tells an interesting story about one of the reasons why Capitol stopped using it. She says that the owner, "feeling flush with Capitol's success and the money it had given him" had the walls repainted. "When the engineers came back, the sound wasn't the same." For more details about the association between Capitol and MacGregor, see this discography's MacGregor Transcriptions page.

Masters And Alternate Takes

1. "I Don't Know Enough About You"
Upon first listening, the master and the alternate take of "I Don't Know Enough About You" might sound identical. However, repeated listening can reveal quite a few small divergences in both the music and the vocal. Among the most readily noticeable differences is Lee's pronunciation of the last syllable of the word 'baby,' from the fifth line ("And baby, what can I do?"). Lee's approach to that syllable is huskier in the alternate, more girlish in the master. Another audible difference occurs toward the end of the song, in the spoken lines "I guess I'd better get out the encyclopedia / And brush up on from shmer to shmoo." In the master, Lee lightly elongates the vowel of the word 'shmer,' and then does a very quick pause before uttering the next word. In the alternate, 'shmer to shmoo' is uttered without much of a pause. Furthermore, each take's instrumental intro has a few unique details; for instance, guitarist Dave Barbour begins with a resonant chord stroke in the alternate, but not in the master.

Of the entire list of issues entered under these two takes of "I Don't Know Enough About You," I have listened to all the LPs and CDs that contain the alternate, and to a portion of the LPs and CDs under the master take. (The reason why I have not listened to the other portion is simple: I do not have copies of many of those issues -- especially Public Domain ones. Neither do I have a way to access copies at the present time.) Hence I have had to make an educated guess as to whether certain issues contain the master or the alternate. Given the relative rarity of the alternate take, I have tentatively placed all unheard Public Domain issues under the master take. I'd appreciate receiving corrections and assistance from any fellow fans who have copies of those PD items.

Out of the dozens of issues placed under the master take, here is, then, a list of those to which I have actually listened:

CAPITOL 78: 236 — {I Don't Know Enough About You / I Can See It Your Way, Baby} (1946)
CAPITOL (10") LP: H 151 — Rendezvous With Peggy Lee (1952)
CAPITOL LP: (D)T 1743 — Bewitching-Lee! ("The Star Line" Series) (1962)
CAPITOL LP: (Japan) Ecs 65039/65040 - Peggy Lee ("Golden Double 32" Series) (ca. 1976)
CAPITOL CS/CD: C4 5/Cdp 7 93195 — The Early Years (Capitol Collectors Series, Volume 1) (1990)
CAPITOL CD: 0777 7 97826 2 8 (97827-97830) — Miss Peggy Lee (1998)
CAPITOL CD: 7243 4 97308 2 3 — The Best Of Miss Peggy Lee (1998)
EMI Special Markets CD: Gsc 15453/7243 4 96336 2 9 — Peggy Lee ("36 All-Time Greatest Hits" Series) (1999)
EMI CD: 7243 5 39756 2 3 — The Singles Collection (2002)
Dcc CD: Dzs 179 / 7243 5 23863 2 1 — Bewitching-Lee! (1999)
Reader's Digest CS/CD: Rf7/Krf 140 [Emi 72434 99216] — The Legendary Peggy Lee: Her Greatest Hits & Finest Performances (1999)
Movieplay / Goldies CD: (Portugal) Gld 25438 — Golden Earrings (2001)
North Star CD: Ns163/73435 40699 2 5 — The Marvelous Miss Lee (2002)
S&P audiophile LP/CD: Sp 502/Spr 709 [Emi 7243 5 84239 2 1] — Bewitching-Lee! (2003)
[Public Domain issues]
Asv / Living Era CD: (England) Aja 5237 — Why Don't You Do Right?; 25 Early Hits (1997)
History CD: (Germany) 20.3046 Hi — Everything I Love ("The Great Vocalists Of Jazz & Entertainment" Series) (1999)
Gallerie / Music Collection CD: (England) Gale 442 — A Portrait Of Peggy Lee (1999)
Castle / Pie CD: (England) Piesd 045 — Mañana [also part of Ladies Of Jazz: Ella, Billie, Peggy #904, a 3CD set] (1999)
Going-For-A-Song CD: (England) Gfs 241 — The Fever Of Peggy Lee (1999)
Columbia River/Allegro CD: Crg 218010 — Peggy Lee ("Cocktail Hour" Series) (2000)
Planet Media and Entertainment CD: (England) Plm 1027 — Let There Be Love (2000)
Naxos CD: (England) 8.120642 — It's A Good Day; Original Recordings, 1941-1950 (2002)
Proper CD: (England) 45 P 1277 1280 — The Peggy Lee Story (2002)
Tim International CD: (Germany) 220838 [220839-220843] — A Nightingale Can Sing The Blues ("Document" Series) (2004)
Weton-Wesgram CD: (The Netherlands) Mom 641 — Peggy Lee ("Masters Of Music" Series) (2005)
Proper CD: (England) Box 108 — Miss Wonderful (2006)
Red & Blue CD: (The Netherlands) Red 2007 — The Red Collection (2007)
Big 3 CD: Bt 3039 - Peggy Lee ("Absolutely Essential 3 CD Collection" Series) (2011)

Among the issues to which I have not listened, I am particularly interested in finding out whether the following ones truly contain the master, not the alternate:

CAPITOL double EP: Ebf 151 — Rendezvous With Peggy Lee (1949)
CAPITOL 78 & 45: 1667 / F 1667 — {I Don't Know Enough About You / I Can't Give You Anything But Love} [reissue series] (1951)


My thanks to Ken Hawkins, a fellow member of the Peggy Lee Bulletin Board (, for first noticing and pointing out the existence of the alternate take of "I Don't Know Enough About You."

Date: Between Late 1945 And Early February of 1946
Location: Probably Radio Recorders, Hollywood

Don Otis (pdr), The Charles Wolcott Orchestra (acc), Other Individuals Unknown (unk), Peggy Lee (v)

a. 2-3Disney Master* Two Silhouettes - 2:48(Ray Gilbert, Charles F. Wolcott)
DISNEY 78none shown — {Two Silhouettes / All The Cats Join In [instrumental by The Charles Wolcott Orchestra]}   (1946)
ABM (Audio Book & Music) Public Domain CD(England) Abmmcd 1092 — It's Lovin' Time   (1999)
Columbia River/Allegro Public Domain CDCrg 218010 — Peggy Lee ("Cocktail Hour" Series)   (2000)
Hallmark Public Domain CD(England) Halmcd 1320 — It's Lovin' Time [Reissue of ABM 1092]   (2001)
Naxos Public Domain CD(England) 8.120642 — It's A Good Day; Original Recordings, 1941-1950   (2002)
b. 3-2Disney Master* Johnny Fedora & Alice Blue Bonnet - 2:38(Ray Gilbert, Allie Wrubel)
DISNEY 78none shown — {Johnny Fedora Fedora And Alice Blue Bonnet / Without You [sung by Anita Boyer]}   (1946)
CBC Collectors' Label CD(Canada) Fa 002 — [Various Artists] Hold On To Your Hat!; More Golden Gems From Adrian's Music On Fresh Air   (2001)

Cross-references (Film)

This session's songs were written for the 1946 animated Disney film Make Mine Music. However, these Peggy Lee vocals are not soundtrack versions. Nor are they commercial re-interpretations, either. Instead, Lee's versions are strictly promotional records, meant for radio airplay only. (Other artists had recorded the movie soundtrack versions long before this session took place. The same soundtrack artists were allowed -- perhaps expected -- to record commercial re-interpretations for the record labels to which they were contracted. But, I reiterate, Peggy Lee was not one of the soundtrack artists. To find out more about this and other matters pertaining to Make Mine Music, consult this miscellaneous page of the Peggy Lee discography.)

Issues And Master Numbers

1. Make Mine Music [78s]
Three 78 rpm discs bearing the legend From Walt Disney's Make Mine Music are known to exist. Peggy Lee sings in two of them. Extensive details about the discs are given in section II of this page.

Personnel And Record Companies

1. Charles Wolcott And Disney Films
The aforementioned 78 rpm discs feature accompaniment by Charles Wolcott And His Orchestra. Disney's musical director from 1944 to 1948, Wolcott is credited with composing the overall score of the movie Make Mike Music.

2. Musicians
Aside from Wolcott, the identity of the musicians is unknown. According to an article found in the February 16, 1946 issue of Billboard magazine, an "11-man ork fronted by Charles Woolcott [sic; Wolcott]" participated in these promotional sides.

3. Benny Goodman
Record collectors and fans of Benny Goodman have debated whether he is or isn't the clarinetist heard in Peggy Lee's version of "Two Silhouettes." The debate has as its basis the fact that Goodman was involved in the recording of the movie soundtrack. The movie features not one but two performances from him ("All The Cats Join In," "After You've Gone"), and he was actually one of the very first music acts hired, going for the soundtrack. (He first went into the recording studio on June 12, 1944.) However, on the matter of his possible playing in "Two Silhouettes," no solid evidence in favor of Goodman's presence has been advanced so far, and I for one find the possibility unlikely. Had the clarinetist been asked to participate, he would have probably requested top billing, and Disney would have been keen on publicizing the matter of his involvement in these promotional records.

4. Don Otis And Capitol Records
All three promotional 78s carry the statement "recording supervised by Don Otis." In the February 16, 1946 issue of Billboard magazine, it was announced that "Don Otis, KMPC disc jockey and former program director, will take over duties as program director for Capitol Records' newly formed e.t. division effective March 1. He will work under Lee Gillette, Capitol exec. in building music library transcriptions. He had been with KMPC for years, and KFAC, 14 years."

5. Capitol And Decca As Possible Manufacturing Companies
There is no manufacturer's identification in the 78 discs under discussion. Visual inspection has led one collector to speculate that Capitol pressed them. Decca is alternatively proposed by another collector, who relies on his inspection of one of the three discs.

The Recording Session (Date, Location, Cross-references)

1. Sources
The exact date(s) and location on which Peggy Lee recorded these promotional versions of "Two Silhouettes" and "Johnny Fedora And Alice Blue Bonnet" remain unknown. None of my sources contain such specifics.

2. Location
My identification of the recording location relies on an inspection of one of the 78 rpm discs, conducted by fellow collector Eric Graf. (I do not have copies of these items. Graf had access to a copy of the disc that features "Two Silhouettes" and "All The Cats Join In.") The identification of Radio Recorders is based on his examination trailoff grooves of the disc, where he saw the studio distinctive typeface, used for the matrix number stamps.

3. Dating
The above-show recording span can be confidently on the basis of a contemporaneous article published by Billboard magazine. For details, consult the aforementioned miscellaneous page, beginning with the page's third section.

4. Dating, continued: ABM Records ("Two Silhouettes")
5. Dating, continued: Sheet Music ("Two Silhouettes")
In the CD It's Lovin' Time, Peggy Lee's version of "Two Silhouettes" is dated 1945. The source for this dating is not clarified. In the absence of a clarification, there seems to be little likelihood that the date is based on solid evidence. The compact disc was released by Audio Book & Music company, a British label founded by former BMG chief John Cooper in 1996. The year 1945 could just be a (fine) estimate on ABM's part. It could also be an educated guess based, for instance, on the fact that the sheet music of "Two Silhouettes" bears a 1945 copyright date.

6. Masters
The placement of these two Peggy Lee masters under one date (as opposed to two sessions) should be deemed tentative, though likely to be correct. The placement is predicated on a number of reasonable but not infallible assumptions, beginning with the conjecture that Lee would have been hired to record both songs on the same day, under one session. Notice that Charles Wolcott and his orchestra play on all four numbers (i.e., the two Lee sides + the two non-Lee sides). Furthermore, the four master numbers are sequential or consecutive. That fact strengthens the hypothesis that all four numbers come from the same recording session.


1. ASCAP additions for "Johnny Fedora And Alice Blue Bonnet"
The songwriters credited in this discography are those listed on the label of the promotional 78s. In the particular case of "Johnny Fedora And Alice Blue Bonnet," ASCAP credits three additional songwriters: Victor Schoen, Albert E. Sack and Wolcott himself). Presumably, the ASCAP credits correspond to the soundtrack versions and/or to the commercially released versions, but not to Peggy Lee's promotional interpretations. As a matter of fact, Vic Schoen is known to have scored the "Johnny Fedora And Alice Blue Bonnet" segment of the Disney movie; hence the ASCAP credit could be for the score, rather than for the writing of the song's music and lyrics. (Schoen was the regular arranger and conductor of the act who sings the number in the movie soundtrack, The Andrews Sisters. The ASCAP credit could also be for the Sisters' commercially issued version.)

2. Allie Wrubel
Allie Wrubel's last name is misspelled as "Wruble" in the label of the "Johnny Fedora And Alice Blue Bonnet" disc.

3. Ray Gilbert
Disney-associated lyricist Ray Gilbert penned all but one of the six songs included in the three promotional 78 rpm discs; the exception is the movie's titular number, credited to Ken Darby and Eliot Daniel. (Some sources credit Charles Wolcott as well.)


1. Recommended Issues
This session's performances have yet to appear in an issue that can be fully recommended. (The sound quality of the few CDs that contain these songs is, at best, adequate.)


A Transitional Period. Peggy Lee As A Capitol Recording Artist.

The time span covered by this discographical page constitutes a period of transition in Peggy Lee's evolution as a recording star.  These two  years (1944-1945) followed her days as Benny Goodman's canary (August 1941 - ca. June 1943) and preceded her full-time commitment to a career as a solo act.

Both personally and professionally, 1943 was an eventful year for Lee.  In March, she married guitarist Dave Barbour and informed The Benny Goodman Orchestra that she intended to leave the band.  Later on, after having formally announced her intention to retire from professional singing (ca. June 1943), the former vocalist became a housewife and gave birth by Caesarean section (November 1943).  The delivery was a difficult one that put Lee's own life at risk.  A hysterectomy made it impossible for her to ever conceive more children. 

During that second half of 1943, the newlywed might have not done much (or any) professional singing, but the memory of her voice still lingered on.  She had left the music industry while riding high on the success of her version of "Why Don't You Do Right?", which would remain in currency for many months afterwards. Although Peggy Lee and The Benny Goodman Orchestra had recorded this number way back in time (July 1942), Columbia would not release Lee's version of this song until the very end of the year 1942.  "Why Don't You Do Right?" began to climb the charts in January of 1943, and went on to spend nearly five months inside Billboard's Top 30.  

Halfway through the year, as its chart popularity was winding down, Lee's vocal gained renewed attention.  The renewal in popularity happened because when she and the orchestra were seen performing the number in the movie Stage Door Canteen.   Having debuted in June of 1943, that film would prove very popular with audiences over the next few months.  

On the strength of that hit recording and film appearance, Peggy Lee received various movie and record offers in 1943.  She declined all of them.  She was pregnant at the time.  Although she was dedicating some of her spare time to the hobby of writing songs, Norma Deloris Barbour envisioned herself as fully retired from the business of singing.  She foresaw a wife's and mother's life ahead of her.

In January of 1944, less than two months after the birth of her baby, various factors coaxed Mrs. Dave Barbour back into the recording studio.  One of those factors was the couple's financial needs.  Lee explained in her autobiography that, once the married couple had made the decision to settle in LA, "David had to get a California union card.  He could earn only a pittance until he played in LA [for] a certain period of time." Barbour himself insisted that his wife's retirement was an unwise decision, arguing that Lee's talents should not go to waste, and that she was bound to regret her decision later in life.  (In the autobiography, the singer also intimated that her husband's insistence might have been partially triggered by Carlos Gastel, a notable artists' manager who was one of Barbour's drinking buddies.  Elsewhere, she added that Gastel directly and persistently approached her with offers.)  

The singer ended up accepting offers for occasional, no-strings-attached vocal work.  Producer and music critic Dave Dexter, Jr. made the first of the accepted offers.  On January 7, 1944, Lee recorded two sides with The Capitol Jazzmen, a group that Dexter had put together for the purpose of studio recording.  (Two months earlier, the producer had also hired Barbour as guitarist for a similar date.)  

Dexter made those sides for a company that was, back then, new.  Founded in April 1942, Capitol would promptly become a big record label -- and, for many years, the only major in the West Coast.  (Columbia, Decca, and RCA Victor had their respective headquarters in New York.)  The venture of forming this novel company had been jointly undertaken by Buddy DeSylva (an executive producer at Paramount Pictures and songwriter by trade, who provided a good chunk of the label's financial backing, and functioned as chairman of the board), Johnny Mercer (another songwriter, who would serve not only as the  nominal president but also, during the company's early days, as de facto A&R man) and Glenn Wallichs (owner of the Music City record store at 1507 Vine Street, and the label's executive president). 

Peggy Lee reminisces in her autobiography that "those fellows were conducting business upstairs over Sy's tailor shop on Vine, just below Sunset." (She calls Sy Devore "the leading tailor of the day.")  In 1947, Capitol's offices were moved to the second floor of Wallichs' music store, and Wallichs took over the title of president.  In an interview conducted by Fred Hall, Peggy Lee gave praise to both Wallichs and Mercer:  "dear Glen was really -- I compare him in my mind a bit to Walt Disney.  He had the same leadership quality.  Such great character and enthusiasm ... Glen really was the man [at the top of Capitol], and of course Johnny always contributed in so many ways -- artistically of course, and creatively in his own writing, as well as helping others."  Along with Nat King Cole and Ella Mae Morse, Mercer himself was among the Capitol artists whose singles had already proved successful by early 1944, when Peggy Lee had her date with The Capitol Jazzmen. 

Issued on an album that Dave Dexter, Jr. ambitiously titled New American Jazz, the sides which resulted from that date were very well received.  "What a thrill," wrote Lee, "to turn the radio on to D.J's Al Jarvis or Gene Norman and hear That Old Feeling and Ain't Goin' No Place.  Suddenly I was also meeting people such as DeSylva, Wallichs and Mercer."  The positive reception of the Dexter sides probably triggered Capitol's interest in making Peggy Lee -- retired or not -- part of its roster.  "At one of those meetings over Sy Devore's record shop," continues Lee, "it was decided that David and I would record for Capitol, which brought up the subject of material."  Gastel had listened to a couple of songs that Barbour and Lee had co-written as a pastime, and told the couple that they should play them for Mercer.  They did.  Mercer's reaction:  "why don't you record those?"  On December 27, 1944, Lee followed Mercer's suggestion.  Released on a 78, the two self-penned songs  ("What More Can A Woman Do?" and "You Was Right, Baby") were positively received, and probably did a lot to encourage Lee's ultimate decision to completely abandon any plans of retirement or semi-retirement.
Peggy Lee must have signed an exclusive Capitol contract later in 1944 or, more likely, some time within the first seven months of 1945.  The exact date remains unknown.  Talks had clearly started before the December 1944 session -- or so I gather from the comment by Lee that I quoted in the previous paragraph.  My educated (though very tentative) guess is that the signing took place around the time of the July 30, 1945 session, during which which she recorded brand new songs of the day.  Since those were numbers which song pluggers had probably sent to all competing record labels, Lee's recording of them suggests that, by this point, she was carrying out the directives of an official employer (Capitol).  

Adding to the impression that by mid-1945 Lee was a newly signed Capitol artist is  contemporaneous promotion, made by the company on her behalf.  Lee's photo graces the cover of the June 1, 1945 issue of Downbeat magazine, in which there is also mention of her just released single, "What More Can A Woman Do"/ "You Was Right, Baby". (Curiously, those two numbers had been recorded on December 27, 1944 but Capitol did not release them until four or five months later -- i.e., in April 1945.  Their belated release could also points to the possibility that Lee did not sign a contract until April of 1945.)    

Dave Barbour's friend Carlos Gastel was probably heavily involved in the process of signing Lee.  When his services were fully enlisted by the Barbours, Gastel was already managing quite a few Capitol acts, and he would go on to manage even more artists from the label's roster:  Nat King Cole, Stan Kenton and June Christy, Woody Herman, Mel Tormé, et cetera.  Gastel was also the person who put Lee in contact with Tom Rockwell and his managing agency, General Artists Corporation.

An incrementally successful upstart, the record label that Peggy Lee was joining had been showing plenty of promise.  She happened to join at a good time.  The aforementioned Dave Dexter, Jr., who would raise to the title of executive producer at the label, gave the following account of the label's financial success in its early years: "[w]ith the end of  World War II, Capitol had accelerated its annual sales from a modest $200,000 in 1942 to $750,000 in 1943, then $2,250,000 in 1944 on up to a truly impressive $5,100,000 in 1945.  That year, Capitol marketed 14 albums and 48 singles."  He adds that the company "led all labels in [radio] airplay" for years, too. 

As will be chronicled in the chrono-discographical pages that follow this one, Peggy Lee rapidly became a chart-hitting artist for Capitol Records, oftentimes (not always) in partnership with husband Dave Barbour.  Lee had success with both the pop numbers of the era and the compositions that the married couple continued to compose.  She actually recorded for Capitol on a continuous string from the mid-1940s to February of 1952, by which time she was no longer working in partnership with her husband.  Two months after her February 1952 session for Capitol, the artist started recording for Decca, where she stayed for five years.  Then, in April of 1957, she returned to Capitol again, and continued to record for the label until April of 1972.  Given the fact that she spent roughly 22 years recording for this particular company, Peggy Lee qualifies as one of its longer-lasting vocal acts, along with Nat King Cole, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Gordon MacRae, and Nancy Wilson.  A Capitol artist par excellence.   

Popularity:  Peggy In The Polls

Peggy Lee's temporary retirement from a singing career did not affect her standing as a popular vocalist.  On the contrary, at the end of her retirement year (1943) she reached the #2 position of Downbeat's Band, Female poll.

In 1944, Lee gradually came back from retirement, and was newly billed as a solo artist.  Thus her name was entered in a different Downbeat poll which was simply called Female.  She placed at #10 in that poll.  (The appearance of her name at all strikes me as somewhat surprising, since the singer had been barely active throughout the year.  Visibility might have stemmed from the radio airplay received by her guest vocals for the album New American Jazz, and from that album's sales.)  In the poll, Lee had received 80 votes.  Preceding her at #9 with 83 and #8 with 98 votes were her Capitol labelmates Martha Tilton and Ella Mae Morse.  The upper echelon consisted of Mildred Bailey (#5), Billie Holiday, Jo Stafford, Helen Forrest and, at the very top with 1245 votes, Dinah Shore.  

In 1945, Peggy Lee shot up to the #4 position, with 410 votes.  Previous top holder Dinah Shore dropped to #3, with a total of 472 votes.  Dropping also was Helen Forrest; with 308 votes, she had fallen from #2 to #5.  Taking Forrest's former position, thanks to 705 votes, was Billie Holiday.  Finally, with 838 votes on her behalf, the year's top female act was Jo Stafford, up two slots in the poll. 

Statistics: Total Number Of Masters

This discographical page lists a total of 14 masters recorded by Peggy Lee during her transitional period from Columbia to Capitol Records.  Also included here are two alternate takes, which Capitol has commercially released on numerous issues.

Ten of those masters were officially made for Capitol.  In the earliest of them (January 7, 1944), Lee functioned as a guest vocalist.  In later ones, she recorded with the musical backing of her husband, guitarist Dave Barbour, and received star billing.  

As for the remaining four masters, two were released by Ara Records, and feature Lee as guest vocalist.  Made with a name orchestra, she fulfills in them the same "big band canary" role that she had held during her earlier days at Columbia Records.  The other two masters are promotional records tied to the film company Disney, and may also bear a loose connection to Capitol Records.  

Of these 14 titles, the Disney masters are the only ones still awaiting a proper release.  "Two Silhouettes" and "Johnny Fedora And Alice Blue Bonnet" have actually appeared on Public Domain CDs (though barely so), but they still need to be issued in better sound quality by a legitimate, non-Public Domain record company.  Pleasantly mellow and musical performances, both are very deserving of a quality digital release.


The pictures at the top of this closing section are from the first half of 1945. The one in the center was used for the cover of a magazine published on June 1, 1945. At Getty Images, the other two images bear April 6, 1945 dates.

The pictures at the bottom of this page are also from 1945. Like those above, the first photo is believed to be from April (or thereabouts). At Getty Images, the second image bears a November 3 date. Lastly, here is another shot from the above-discussed December 26 recording session; it has been reproduced often during the digital area.

Sessions Reported: 6

Performances Reported: 16

Unique Songs Reported: 14

Unique Issues Reported: 160