TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 9: Peggy Lee Centennial

Welcome! Let me show you to your seat, can I get you a cocktail? This week on Radar, we visit a truly golden age of Hollywood. Who better to join us on this journey than the always glamorous, sophisticated, beautiful and talented Peggy Lee?

2020 marks Peggy Lee’s 100th birthday—her centennial—and as such there are several projects to discuss: the Grammy museum hosted a panel discussion about Peggy including Billie Eilish, K.D. Lang and others, and many of Peggy’s albums have been reissued, on vinyl of course, particularly the Ultimate Peggy Lee, the forthcoming Ultimate Christmas, and an exciting reissue of Ms. Lee’s much-revered Black Coffee album.

Peggy Lee was iconic, a true original: with her sultry take on a song and her platinum blonde hair she must have radiated star quality from the stage. While her vocal contributions to jazz and popular music were many, she achieved other notable accomplishments during her seven decades in showbiz. She was a composer who wrote and co-wrote more than 200 songs, with many collaborators, including all of the original lyrics in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, and of course she voiced some of the film’s characters.

Her songs, including “Fever” and “Is That All There Is?” hit the charts 100 times, she was nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, won in 1969, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. She was also a no-nonsense businesswoman who wasn’t intimidated by any industry giant.

These centennial celebrations may not have taken place without the steady, guiding hand of Ms. Lee’s granddaughter, Holly Foster-Wells, who also serves as the President of Peggy Lee Associates. Foster-Wells has done a stellar job of navigating her grandmother’s centennial year, especially given the world’s COVID restrictions. She kindly sits down with me to discuss her relationship with her grandma, Lee’s friendship with Frank Sinatra, and much more.

Before we continue, you may consider popping the cork on that bottle of champagne that’s rolling around the back of the fridge, slip on some silken loungewear, and dim the lights as we visit the bygone days of the golden age of Hollywood, and don’t forget to tip your server. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, Ms. Peggy Lee.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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