Night Lights Classic Jazz

Miss Peggy Lee, Songwriter

Many listeners know Peggy Lee as a great jazz singer, but she was also a prolific writer of songs—composing or co-composing nearly 200 of them.

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Many listeners know Peggy Lee as a great jazz singer, but she was also a prolific writer of songs—composing or co-composing nearly 200 of them, including hits such as “I Don’t Know Enough About You” and “Manana” as well as lesser-known gems like “That Ol’ Devil Won’t Get Me” and “There’ll Be Another Spring.” She counted among her collaborators Victor Young, Cy Coleman, and husband Dave Barbour; along with Sonny Burke she also wrote the songs for the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp, including “The Siamese Cat Song” and “He’s a Tramp.” We hear Lee performing a number of these songs, along with several interpretations from other artists such as Nat King Cole. Special thanks to David Torresen for assistance with this program.

Watch Peggy and her husband Dave Barbour perform two songs that they co-wrote, “I Don’t Know Enough About You” and “It’s a Good Day”:

Music Heard On This Episode

Things Are Swingin'
Peggy Lee — Things Are Swingin' (Capitol, 1958)
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Things Are Swingin'
Peggy Lee — Things Are Swingin' (Capitol, 1958)

Notes: Co-written with Jack Marshall.

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Where Can I Go Without You?
Peggy Lee — Mink Jazz (Capitol, 1963)

Notes: Co-written with Victor Young.

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That Ol' Devil Won't Get Me
Peggy Lee — Danny Thomas and Peggy Lee Sing Songs from The Jazz Singer (Capitol/Sepia, 1951)

Notes: Written by Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour.

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Baby, Come Home
Peggy Lee — Rare Gems and Hidden Treasures (Capitol, 1952)

Notes: Written by Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour.

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It Must Be So
Peggy Lee/Mills Brothers — Best of the Decca Years (MCA, 1954)

Notes: Written by Peggy Lee.

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It's a Good Day
Peggy Lee/Bing Crosby — Bing Crosby With Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee (Avid, 1946)

Notes: Radio broadcast. Song written by Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour.

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What More Can a Woman Do?
Sarah Vaughan — 1944-46 (Chronological Classics, 1945)

Notes: Written by Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour. With Dizzy Gillespie, Flip Phillips, and Charlie Parker in the horn section.

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Don't Smoke in Bed
Nina Simone — Nina Simone in Concert (Philips, 1964)

Notes: Credited to Willard Robison, but written in part by Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour.

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I Don't Know About You
Peggy Lee — The Singles Collection (Capitol, 1945)

Notes: Midpoint music bed. Co-written by Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour.

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Fever
Peggy Lee — The Best of Miss Peggy Lee (Capitol, 1958)

Notes: With uncredited lyrics and musical arrangement by Peggy Lee.

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He's a Tramp
Peggy Lee — Lady and the Tramp (Disney, 1952)

Notes: Co-written by Sonny Burke and Peggy Lee.

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That's My Style
Peggy Lee — In Love Again (Capitol, 1963)

Notes: Written by Peggy Lee and Cy Coleman.

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Then Was Then and Now Is Now
Peggy Lee — Peggy Lee Sings the Standards (Capitol, 1964)

Notes: Written by Peggy Lee and Cy Coleman.

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Train Blues
Peggy Lee — Blues Cross-Country (Capitol, 1961)

Notes: Written by Peggy Lee and Quincy Jones.

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Happy With the Blues
Peggy Lee — Love Held Lightly (Harbinger Records, 1988)

Notes: Written by Peggy Lee and Harold Arlen.

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There'll Be Another Spring
Peggy Lee/George Shearing — Beauty and the Beat (Capitol, 1959)

Notes: Written by Peggy Lee and Hubie Wheeler.

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I'm Gonna Get It
Peggy Lee — Somethin' Groovy (Capitol, 1967)

Notes: Written by Peggy Lee and George Romanis.

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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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  • Mike Gavin

    This is terrific. Peggy Lee is my favorite girl singer (Sinatra the other gender). On my honeymoon,
    57 years ago we saw Peggy at the La Vie En Rose in Manhattan. Just superb! Several celebs
    at the next table – Jack Webb and Red Buttons and Peggy's husband at the time, Brad somebody.
    And some ladies, spouses I suppose. All of us starstruck at such an enormous talent. Few pop
    stars can equal her. She should have been much more heralded and appreciated during her
    performing years. Good luck in keeping her legacy alive.

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