More of the Music of Miss Peggy Lee
If you’re a fan of vintage female vocals – the kind with no trace of digital reverb – you may get quite a kick out of this one. And unless I miss my guess you’ll be the first and only person on your block to own it. That’s not a bad thing considering the average person’s taste in music and sound these days.
The early label for our shootout winner can be seen below.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top (to keep the big band arrangements by Shorty Rogers and Dave Grusin from becoming shrill) did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we heard them all.
We’ve searched high and low for Peggy Lee’s records and played them by the dozen over the years. We plan to keep a good supply on to the site in the coming years so watch for new arrivals in the Vocal section (linked above).
Reviews and Background
Pass Me By received excellent notices. In October, 1965, a reviewer for Melody Maker in England wrote, “Peggy Lee proves again that no one can pass her by. The immaculate Miss Lee, with that curious brand of intensely personal charm, wins again.”
Pass Me By includes songs from America’s established giants and songs from writers that were then “new.” Harold Arlen’s “Let’s Fall in Love” and Johnny Mercer’s “I Wanna Be Around” are in the camp of the former. Peggy’s treatment gives them a nice fit with the Antonio Carlos Jobim-Gene Lees masterpiece “Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars,” a favorite of the bossa-nova craze that has become a classic, but was then brand new.
There is also a playful version of the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night,” and “Bewitched,” a rare vocal version of the theme from the hit television comedy by the same name, which should not be confused with the 1940 Rodgers and Hart ballad “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”
The title song, “Pass Me By,” was a chart success, and associated with (but not sung in) the 1964 Cary Grant-Leslie Caron comedy Father Goose. The closing track, “That’s What It Takes,” was a nod at “mod” and television shows like The Golddiggers. Its lyrics were written by Peggy with music by Bill Schluger and her good friend Cy Coleman.
Sneakin’ Up On You
Pass Me By
I Wanna Be Around
My Love, Forgive Me (Amore, Scusami)
You Always Hurt The One You Love
A Hard Day’s Night
Quiet Nights (Corcovado)
That’s What It Takes
Peggy Lee’s alluring tone, distinctive delivery, breadth of material, and ability to write many of her own songs made her one of the most captivating artists of the vocal era, from her breakthrough on the Benny Goodman hit “Why Don’t You Do Right” to her many solo successes, singles including “Mañana,” “Lover” and “Fever” that showed her bewitching vocal power, a balance between sultry swing and impeccable musicianship.
Peggy Lee was an early advocate of rock and made a quick transition into rock-oriented material. Given her depth and open mind for great songs no matter the source, it wasn’t much of a surprise that she sounded quite comfortable covering the more song-oriented end of late-’60s rock, including great choices by Jimmy Webb, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Burt Bacharach, Randy Newman, Goffin & King and John Sebastian. She nearly brushed the Top Ten in 1969 with Leiber & Stoller’s “Is That All There Is?”