1969 Peggy Lee – Is That All There Is?
Norma Deloris Egstrom grew up in a small town in North Dakota. While still in high school, she began singing with a college dance band after school and Friday nights. She soon had her own 15 minute radio show and often sang for local radio stations.
Radio personality Ken Kennedy hired her to sing on radio station WDAY in Fargo, but insisted on changing her name; she began appearing as Peggy Lee.
In 1941, Peggy joined Benny Goodman’s Orchestra as their new vocalist. She immediately began making recordings with the band.
The 1936 song Weed Smoker’s Dream became a moderately successful jazz/blues number for the Harlem Hamfats. The song told the sad story of how using marijuana causing financial woes for a smoker. One band member rewrote the lyrics to focus on a man doing a woman wrong, and the result was Why Don’t You Do Right? Peggy and Benny recorded the song in 1942, and their recording got used in the film Stage Door Canteen. Their single sold over a million copies and reached the top of the pop charts.
Peggy returned to a solo career, recording on Capitol Records. She wrote over 270 songs and recorded over 1100 songs during her career. Beginning in 1965, her records chartered almost exclusively on the Adult Contemporary chart.
One last bright spot came when Peggy recorded Is That All There Is? Georgia Brown performed the song on a 1967 television special. The song was first recorded by WMCA disk jockey Dandy Dan Daniel. He played his recording on his show, but never released it commercially.
Randy Newman produced Peggy’s version of the song, which Capitol released as a single in 1969. The single reached #11 on the Hot 100 and topped the Adult Contemporary chart.
Peggy’s recording won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for 1969. She continued to perform into the nineties.
Complications of diabetes led to a heart attack, and Peggy died in 2002.
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