Peggy Lee was everyone's favourite singer, from Judy Garland to Diana Krall. Discovered in a Chicago nightclub in 1941 by the bandleader Benny Goodman, from the late fifties till the late sixties she was regularly voted Best Female Vocal star for classic songs like "Fever", "Alright, Okay, You Win" and "I'm Gonna Go Fishin". She was at her peak ...Read MorePeggy Lee was everyone's favourite singer, from Judy Garland to Diana Krall. Discovered in a Chicago nightclub in 1941 by the bandleader Benny Goodman, from the late fifties till the late sixties she was regularly voted Best Female Vocal star for classic songs like "Fever", "Alright, Okay, You Win" and "I'm Gonna Go Fishin". She was at her peak during one of the greatest eras in American music, when singers like Frank Sinatra and jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong were in their prime. Peter Richmond tells the definitive story of Peggy Lee's tough and tempestuous life: born Norma Delores Egstrom to an alcoholic father, and enduring an abusive stepmother and four marriages in the course of a journey to Broadway, Vegas and Hollywood.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-01-30 Miss Peggy Lee," as show marquees always billed her, is for Richmond a vocal genius on the level of Armstrong, Sinatra or Crosby, but one whose reputation has become overshadowed by time. The GQ reporter aims to restore Lee's luster by retelling the story of Norma Egstrom's (1920-2002) journey from listening to jazz on the radio in North Dakota to taking the stage alongside Benny Goodman's band as Peggy Lee, then moving on to even more astounding success in her solo career. Richmond is reverential toward Lee's interpretations of the "Great American Songbook" (though dismissive of attempts to incorporate contemporary tunes into her 1970s performances) and equally respectful toward her turbulent personal life. Although he acknowledges widespread testimony of her drinking, he defers to Lee's refusal to describe herself as an alcoholic. He is similarly circumspect in addressing her intimate relationships with stars like Sinatra and Quincy Jones. Although some readers will want more backstage details, Richmond would rather focus on the music, and it's in describing Lee's performances that his portrait most vibrantly comes to life: "When she sang `Good mornin', sun-good mornin', sun!' her voice was so... happy, it was as if she was swinging open the... door and announcing the arrival of the postwar sunshine." Photos. (Apr. 5) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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