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Profile of Peggy Lee

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Profile of Peggy Lee

Photo of Peggy Lee taken during the 1950's

Getty Images

Born:

May 26, 1920

Birthplace:

Jamestown, North Dakota

Died:

January 21, 2002, in Los Angeles, California

Also Known As:

Her full name was Norma Dolores Egstrom, an American actress, blues, jazz and pop singer and songwriter. The director of a radio station in North Dakota where she worked gave her the name Peggy Lee.

Type of Music:

Peggy Lee was open to many different music genres including, blues, jazz, pop and even folk. She wrote songs and film music. Some of the music she wrote for films include "Johnny Guitar," "About Mrs. Leslie," "The Bullfighter and the Lady," "The Rawhide Years," "Tom Thumb" and the lyrics for several songs including "He’s a Tramp" in Disney's "Lady and the Tramp."

Influence:

In her youth Peggy Lee joined her school's glee club and the church choir. She also sang in nightclubs. In 1941, she replaced Helen Forrest as a singer in Benny Goodman's band. This proved to be a turning point in her singing career. While in the band they produced several hits like "I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good," "Blues in the Night," "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place," "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Why Don’t You Do Right?" She left the band in 1943 and married Dave Barbour, a guitarist. Peggy Lee would later on sign with Capitol Records.

Notable Works:

Among the songs she co-wrote are "I Don’t Know Enough About You," "Mañana," "It's a Good Day," "New York City Blues," "Then Was Then" and "I’m Gonna Go Fishin." Among her many hits are "Waitin’ for the Train to Come In," "The Old Master Painter," "For Every Man There’s A Woman," Watermelon Weather," "Lover," "Fever," "The Man I Love" and "Is That All There Is?" (won a Grammy in 1969).

Interesting Facts:

  • It has been mentioned that Peggy Lee was a battered child, her stepmother reportedly beat her for 11 years.
  • She collaborated with other notable artists like Quincy Jones, Cy Coleman and Duke Ellington.
  • Some of her successful albums include "Black Coffee" (1953) and "Beauty and the Beat."
  • She also appeared in several movies including "The Jazz Singer" (1953) and "Pete Kelly’s Blues" (1955, Academy Award nomination)).
  • In Disney's "Lady and the Tramp," Peggy Lee provided the voice of Peg and the Siamese cats, she also co-wrote several songs for the said movie including "He's A Tramp."
  • Peggy Lee was married four times.
  • Awards/Accolades:

  • Peggy Lee was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999.
  • Received The Lifetime Achievement Award from NARAS.
  • She received The Presidents Award from the Songwriters Guild of America.
  • Received the Pied Piper Award from ASCAP.
  • Received the Living Legacy Award from the Women's International Center.
  • Music Sample:

    Watch Peggy Lee as she performs the song "Fever."

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