Home » blog » Happy Birthday, Peggy Lee

Happy Birthday, Peggy Lee

This Day in Music notes that today would have been Peggy Lee’s 95th birthday.

Wikipedia says that Lee — Norma Deloris Egstrom – was a singer, songwriter, composer and actress. She was born in Jamestown, North Dakota and rose to the heights: She was a vocalist for Benny Goodman’s big band, a composer and radio host.

It sounds like a hard life:

Her mother died when Lee was just four years old.[3] Afterward, her father married Min Schaumber, who treated her with great cruelty while her alcoholic father did little to stop it.[4] Later, she developed her musical talent and took several part-time jobs so that she could be away from home.

The profile describes her rise, which reached a high point when Lee – appearing at The Buttery Room in Chicago, was noticed by Goodman’s finance. She brought Goodman to see her perform, and Lee was invited to replace Helen Forrest. She performed with the Goodman band for two years.

Lee was a tremendous talent. She had hit records and became a radio co-host – along with Perry Como and Jo Stafford – after marrying Dave Barbour, a guitarist in the Goodman band. Lee also was a successful songwriter. She won three Grammys and was nominated for an Academy Award.

The bio also says that Lee was one of the first of the old guard to understand the shift to rock and rool, and recorded songs by The Beatles, Randy Newman, Carole King, James Taylor and other composers from the next generation. Peggy Lee died on January 21, 2002.

Above is “Don’t Know Enough About You.” Below is “Nice Work if You Can Get It” with Frank Sinatra.

Wikipedia was used for this post.

Sign Up for TDMB Daily Email Blasts

TDMB offers daily one-video email blasts. A different genre each day of the week. They are quick hits: Just great music and a bit of context.

Sign up below or, for more info, click here.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.