BRIAN 10.4 -- Mac OS

Peggy Lee's Bio-Discography:
Frequently Asked Questions

by Iván Santiago-Mercado

Page generated on May 26, 2020

1. CD Recommendations?

Query: "I became interested in Peggy Lee's singing fairly recently. I would like to pick up some good CDs by her. Which ones would you recommend?"

To a greater or lesser degree, the CDs pictured below meet the following criteria: general approval from fans, fine-to-excellent sound quality, and positive reviews from worthwhile professional critics. I have divided them into two section, each presented in descending chronologically order. Compilations are on display in the first section, original albums in the second row spotlights original albums, including both studio and concert dates. Basic details about each of these CDs can be found right under the pictures.

1. Ultimate Peggy Lee (Universal, 2020; Capitol & Decca tracks)
2. Come Rain Or Come Shine (Starbucks' Hear Music, 2010; mostly Capitol tracks)
3. The Singles Collection (EMI, 2002) (extensive, deluxe 4CD anthology of singles from Capitol, Decca, and other labels; sound quality is variable from track to track, oscillating between satisfactory and middling)
4. The Very Best of Peggy Lee (EMI, 2000; Capitol & Decca tracks) (comprehensive; not to be confused with lesser releases that use the same picture but which do not bear the exact same title)
5. The Best Of Peggy Lee; The Capitol Years, Blues & Jazz Sessions Series (Capitol Jazz, 1997) (per the title, these are Capitol tracks in a bluesy-jazzy vein)
6. A Woman Alone With The Blues (Blue Moon, 1997; Decca tracks)
7. Black Coffee And Other Delights (MCA, 1994; Decca tracks; 2CD set)
8. Collectors Series; The Early Years (Capitol, 1990) (circumscribed to 1940s Capitol hits; very good sound quality)

1. Two Shows Nightly (Collectors' Choice, 2009) (edited live concert; includes numerous bonus tracks, all of them studio masters)
2. Black Coffee With Peggy Lee (Verve, 2004)
3. Beauty And The Beat! (Capitol Jazz, 2003) (sonically preferable to earlier CD editions)
4. Peggy At Basin Street (Collectors' Choice, 2002) (full live concert; its sound quality is flawed in a few spots -- due to the conditions in which the concert was originally recorded -- but still fairly clear overall and thus acceptable)
5. Latin Ala Lee! (S&P, 2003) (stay away from CD editions on other labels, such as the notoriously subpar Hallmark)
6. Sugar 'n' Spice (Capitol Jazz, 2001) (opinions of the quality of the mastering vary widely, actually)
7. Mink Jazz (Capitol Jazz, 1998)
8. Things Are Swingin' (Capitol Jazz, 1998)

The above-shown CDs are suitable for listeners who are beginning to get immersed in the world of Peggy Lee, or who just want to sample it. (Such is especially the case with the compilations. As for the original albums, each differs substantially from the others in its musical approach. Before purchase, a samping of three or four tracks from the given album is advised.) There are certainly other CDs that could also be recommended -- some of them twofers or anthologies, others from the later years of Lee's career -- but which would be better appreciated by a listener with a fuller understanding of Peggy Lee's overall musical output.

2. Audiophile LPs?

Query: "Sound quality is very important to me; you may call me an audiophile. I've purchased quite a few of the high-fidelity LPs that have been gracing the music market, and which oftentimes sport fantastic sonics. However, I buy those pricey items only when the company releasing the record is a reputable one (i.e., a company that, after having paid a fee to the masters' owners, is granted temporary access to those masters, or to legitimate transfers of them). Has any Peggy Lee vinyl been released by such audiophile companies?"

Yes. Over twelve Peggy Lee albums have received audiophile vinyl treatment. Of those, the following ones were issued by legitimate labels. Listed in chronologically ascending order, here they are:

1. Latin Ala Lee! (S & P, 2003)
2. Bewitching-Lee! (S & P, 2003)
3. Is That All There Is? (Pure Pleasure, 2006)
4. Black Coffee With Peggy Lee (Speakers Corner, 2008)
5. I Like Men! (Pure Pleasure, 2009)
6. The Man I Love (Pure Pleasure, 2012)
7. If You Go (De Agostini, 2014)
8. Is That All There Is? (Universal; "Capitol's 75th Anniversary" Series, 2017)
9. Ultimate Peggy Lee (Universal, 2020)

Calirifications. Item #2 is actually a compilation, though one that was first released by Capitol itself, back in the LP era (1962). It compiles Lee hits from the 1940s. Item #9 is also a compilation, this one issued well into the digital era, and featuring tracks originally on two different labels (Capitol, Decca). All other items are original albums. Item #8 might actually use the same mastering as item #3. I should also clarify that, in the particular case of item #7, I have not supplied a full picture of the LP's front cover. Instead, I am representing the item with a sample page from its adjunct magazine.

A word on the releasing labels, too. Universal is, of course, the current owner of Peggy Lee's Capitol and Decca masters. The other labels listed above licensed their albums' tracks from Universal. Pure Pleasure, S & P, and Speakers Corner are specialized labels with top-notch reputation among audiophiles. While S & P is now defunct, the other two labels were still active as of my latest update of this paragraph. Similarly enjoying a generally good reputation for the quality of its vinyl pressings, De Agostini is an Italian publishing house which released the album in question (#7) as an adjunct to a pathwork publication (a magazine called Jazz 33 Giri).

In more recent years, as the vinyl market has gone on an uprise, Eurasia has experienced a surge of record companies which specialize on the release of so-called audiophile vinyl. The degree to which the sound quality of such releases qualifies as audiophile varies wildly, not just from one label to another but also within each label. It's important to realize that these companies do not have access to the original masters. Many of their LP releases are suspected to be merely transfers of old CDs onto vinyl. To my knowledge, five Peggy Lee LPs have been issued by such Public Domain companies. Images of their respective covers are pictured below.

10. At Her Best (Vinyl Passion, 2013)
11. If You Go (WaxTime, 2014)
12. Beauty And The Beat! (Vinyl Passion, 2016)
13. Black Coffee And Fever (Dol, 2017)
14. Fever (Not Now Music, 2018)

I do not recommend any of these last five LP releases.

3. Peggy Lee's Original LPs?

Query: "I am visiting this site because I want to take a look at Peggy Lee's original albums, and because I want to know which songs were in them. How can I access that information?"

For the quickest access to the information that interests you, try this page of the official Peggy Lee website.

If, after visiting that page, you are still looking for more minute information about the given album(s), you can either email me with any questions at

or you can take a look at the three pages that this discography dedicates to pictures of Peggy Lee's original LPs (as well as their reissues). One page concentrates on Capitol albums, another on Decca albums, and the remaining one on albums from the later years of Lee's career. (Track listings, personnel information and other details can be found in additional pages, such as the index of LPs, EPs, and 78 albums.)

4. New Peggy Lee Releases?

Query: "What are the newest CD/DVD Peggy Lee releases on the market?"

The official Peggy Lee website features a page specifically built for this topic. Here is the page in question; it lists any Lee releases that are new as long as they are legitimate (i.e., official or properly licensed, not Public Domain).

As for any new Peggy Lee releases not shown in that page, proceed with caution before ordering them. Even the best-known commercial sites, such as Amazon, offer a vast selection of poorly-sounding, shoddily put-together releases (some CDs, some digital downloads). Made by certain low-cut Public Domain outfits that are out for a buck, such releases evince indifference for both the artist's legacy and the listener's discerning ear. (Note that this is not an indictment on every Public Domain companies. On the contrary, I can attest to the fact that some PD labels, such as Fantastic Voyage or Blue Moon, aim at releasing rare music in fine sound. It is just that such companies constitute are not the norm, unfortunately.)

5. Too Much Info, Too Little Time?

Query: "There is so much information here that I'm left overwhelmed and not knowing where to search for the particular bit in which I am interested. What should I do? Help!"

Not a big problem. In addition to emailing me with questions (at ), you have the option of using this website's Search engine. The engine is located near the top of the homepage. Your computer's browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Nestcape, Safari, etc.) should also have a "Find/Seach" feature; if you enter a keyword in it, that feature will take you to any appearance of the keyword (anywhere within the discographical page that you are viewing at the time).

6. Slow Pages?

Query: "My internet connection is slow. Some discographical pages (such as the ones for which you offered links above) are so filled with pictures that the given page takes forever to download. I don't have the patience! Help."

Understandable. I'm in the process of rectifying this matter. For starters, I have reduced the size and footprint of the majority of the pictures shown in the present discography. The picture pages should take less time to download. Other steps will be taken in the future, as time permits.

7. Completion Of The Discography?

Query: "Is this discography finished?"

No. It's still being built. The 1,061 master takes that Peggy Lee recorded for various music labels have been entered, along with a few other performances of interest. As for the hundreds of additional numbers that she sang on radio, television, and onstage, I am still in the process of listing them on separate pages, specifically dedicated to such material. Several other projects are keeping me busy as well -- most notably, my prospective inclusion of at least one image or photo within each and all session entries.

Once I have concluded the above-described projects, there will be a couple of additional "across-the-board" tasks to accomplish. One of them will be a careful re-reading of the written text. (Hitherto, my time has been consumed by data entry, often at the expense of any extensive proof-reading. Hence the current reader should be prepared to come across a fair share of misspellings, errors stemming from my computer's Auto-Correct feature, and sentences in need of rewriting.) The second prospective task will involve a re-modeling of the entire site, in an effort to modernize it, and make it accessible to mobile devices. (In its current, outdated state, this discographical site is stylistically modeled after print books, rather than online text.)

8. Discussion Of Peggy's Life And Career?

Query: "I'd like to share my enthusiasm for Peggy Lee's artistry, and to be able to talk about her with other fans. Where should I go, in the internet?"

The best site for enthusiastic and substantial discussion of the singer is the bulletin board of the official Peggy Lee website. For more casual expressions of enthusiasm (such as "she's great!" or "she gives me Fever!"), you also have the option of posting in Peggy Lee's official Facebook page.

9. Peggy Lee's Broadway Show?

Query: "How about Peggy Lee's Broadway show Peg? Any information about it here?"

Yes. This discography dedicates one full, extensive page to the show.

Also, in the second half of this page, you will find many specifics about the show, including a listing of the songs that Lee performed in it.

10. Fever?

Query: "I'm searching for details about the song Fever, which was a big hit for Peggy Lee. Do you have any specifics to share?"

I have dedicated quite a bit of space and commentary to this iconic number, which Peggy Lee recorded on May 19, 1958. If interested in that particular studio session, you can read details about it in this chronologically arranged page. (Scroll down until you reach the date May 19, 1958.) Even more extensive information about the recording and the song itself can be found in this Fever write-up.

11. Is That All There Is?

Query: "I'm looking for specifics about the number Is That All There Is?, which Peggy Lee popularized. Any insights on the Lee recording or the song itself?"

I have reserved quite a bit of space and commentary for that song, recorded by Peggy Lee on January 24 & 29, 1969. You will find a fair amount of data about the studio session(s) and the song here. (Scroll down that chronologically arranged page until you reach the session dated January 24 & 29, 1969.) More to the point, this page offers a full write-up about the song in question.

12. Other Topics Of Interest

Query: Below are a few additional topics that have elicited repeated questions addressed to me. I am providing links to the discographical pages on which each of those topics receive discussion.

A. Bing Crosby (Peggy Lee's work with): radio (photos of CDs & LPs featuring this the duo's work on the radio); radio (chronicle of each radio broadcast); studio (photos of album releases).

B. Concert on film, featuring an "older Peggy"(aka The Quintessential Peggy Lee): section III.

C. Man I Love (album with Frank Sinatra): April 1957 sessions, near the top of the page.

D. Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The (Amazon streaming series): scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page.

E. Miss Piggy (muppet or marionette): scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page.

F. Music videos in black & white (aka Snader Telescriptions): sessions and photos; extensive information about the enterprise.

G. "Similau" (song featured on Samsung phone commercial): February 8, 1949 session, located not too far from the top of the page.

13. The Centennial

Query: "I just heard that the year 2020 marks Peggy Lee's centennial. Are there any tributes, celebrations or releases planned during this year?

Yes, quite a few. Information about them will be gradually showing up at her official website. Note also that Ultimate Peggy Lee (the issue pictured at the top of this page) is a centennial compilation, devised with a view to turn it into her standard, official one-single disc for decades to come. (It is also the first out of several music releases being considered for the centennial. The labels' decisions to release further material will probably be affected by this anthology's commercial success, or lack thereof.)