A new Peggy Lee compilation features dozens of never-before-released performances by the famed singer in the early 1950s.
The two-CD, 40-song set is titled Something Wonderful: Peggy Lee Sings The Great American Songbook.
Accompanying the 2020 PBS documentary Fever: The Music of Peggy Lee, the compilation features previously unissued performances from the radio program Lee hosted in 1951 and 1952. She sings a number of standards and is joined for rare duet performances with guest songwriters Hoagy Carmichael, Matt Dennis, Frank Loesser and Johnny Mercer.
The set was restored and mastered by multiple Grammy-winning engineer Michael Grave and features new liner notes by Joe Marchese.
You can see the full track listing for Something Wonderful here.
Last year marked the centennial of Lee’s birth on May 26, 1920.
Those celebrations included the digital-only release of The Capitol Transcriptions 1946-1949, a 72-track collection of songs Lee had recorded for Capitol’s Transcription Library Service, which produced records exclusively for radio airplay and not commercial sale. That release made 55 songs available digitally for the first time and includes two of Lee’s original compositions, Don’t Be So Mean to Baby and I Don’t Know Enough About You.
Among the other special releases marking Lee’s centennial is Peggy Lee, Things Are Swingin’: Her Greatest Songs, a DVD featuring a colour television special from 1967; Ultimate Peggy Lee, a 22-track career retrospective that features her hits, five songs she co-wrote, and the previously unreleased Try a Little Tenderness; and Peggy Lee Decca Rarities, a 31-song, digital-only collection of her recordings with Decca Records.
Lee was one of the 20th century’s most important musical influences in the world of jazz and popular music.
She rose to fame as a big-band singer in the early ’40s. She recorded hits including Fever and Is That All There Is and wrote nearly 300 songs of her own. Throughout her career, she recorded more than 1,100 masters, 50 original albums, 800 radio broadcast performances and 200 television appearances. Lee was also an accomplished actor, earning an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in the 1955 film Pete Kelly’s Blues. She retired from live performance in 1995 and died in 2002.
Something Wonderful: Peggy Lee Sings The Great American Songbook is available on April 9, 2021, via Omnivore Recordings and Peggy Lee Associates.