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This title in other editions

Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee

by

Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The first major biography of the legendary singer—an enthralling account of a charismatic artist moving through the greatest, most glamorous

era of American music

     "I learned courage from Buddha, Jesus, Lincoln, and Mr. Cary Grant.” So said Peggy Lee, the North Dakota girl who sang like shed just stepped out of Harlem. Einstein adored her; Duke Ellington dubbed her “the Queen.” With her platinum cool and inimitable whisper she sold twenty million records, made more money than Mickey Mantle, and along with pals Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby presided over musics greatest generation. Yet beneath the diamonds she was still Norma Delores Egstrom, insecure and always looking for acceptance.

     Drawing on exclusive interviews and new information, Peter Richmond delivers a complex, compelling portrait of an artist and an era that begins with a girl plagued by loss, her fathers alcoholism, and her stepmothers abuse. One day she gets on a train hoping her music will lead her someplace better. It does—to a new town and a new name; to cities and clubs where a gallery of brilliant innovators are ushering in a brand-new beat; to four marriages, a daughter, Broadway, Vegas, and finally Hollywood. Richmond traces how Peggy rose, right along with jazz itself, becoming an unstoppable hit-maker (“Fever,” “Mañana,” “Is That All There Is?”). We see not only how this unforgettable star changed the rhythms of music, but also how—with her drive to create, compose, and perform—she became an artist whose style influenced k.d. lang, Nora Jones, and Diana Krall.

     Fever brings the lady alive again—and makes her swing.

Peter Richmond has been an award-winning reporter and feature writer for GQ magazine for two decades. He has covered everything from Rosemary Clooney to sports, and his work has also appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, and Rolling Stone. He has appeared many times on National Public Radios Morning Edition. He lives in Dutchess County, New York.
"I learned courage from Buddha, Jesus, Lincoln, and Mr. Cary Grant." So said Peggy Lee, the North Dakota girl who sang like she'd just stepped out of Harlem. Einstein adored her; Duke Ellington dubbed her "the Queen." With her platinum cool and inimitable whisper she sold twenty million records, made more money than Mickey Mantle, and along with pals Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby presided over music's greatest generation. Yet beneath the diamonds she was still Norma Delores Egstrom, insecure and always looking for acceptance.
 
Drawing on exclusive interviews and new information, Peter Richmond delivers a complex portrait of an artist and an era that begins with a girl plagued by loss, her father's alcoholism, and her stepmother's abuse. One day she gets on a train hoping her music will lead her someplace better. It does—to a new town and a new name; to cities and clubs where a gallery of brilliant innovators are ushering in a brand-new beat; to four marriages, a daughter, Broadway, Vegas, and finally Hollywood. Richmond traces how Peggy rose, right along with jazz itself, becoming an unstoppable hit-maker ("Fever," "Mañana," "Is That All There Is?"). We see not only how this unforgettable star changed the rhythms of music, but also how—with her drive to create, compose, and perform—she became an artist whose style influenced k.d. lang, Nora Jones, and Diana Krall.

"Entertaining . . . [Richmond] is a fan who has immersed himself in Lee's music deeply enough to understand it to the core . . . He grasps every nuance of an artist who was all about nuance and minute calculation . . . The book comes alive in its descriptions of the grueling two years [Lee] spent on the road with [Benny] Goodman . . . A real person . . . emerges from this book."—Stephen Holden, The New York Times Book Review

 

"Comprehensive . . . Peter Richmond avidly traces the evolution of that signature sexy hush . . . Incisively pinpoints the emergence of her semi-spoken approach to lyrics . . . Well-rendered . . .  [Richmond] takes us . . . to that disembodied voice, to those vibrations hanging in the air. In the end, that is all there is, and it is what matters most."—Liz Brown, Newsday

"A very engaging book presented with as much style and aplomb as Lee delivered in her many classic songs. The legendary Ellington, with whom Lee wrote the delightful 'I'm Gonna Go Fishin', once said, 'If I'm the Duke, man, Peggy Lee is Queen.' With Fever, she finally gets an elegantly written biography fit for royalty."—Boston Globe
 
"Richmond's research is impeccable. So, too, is his ability to appreciate and dissect the many odd-fitting parts . . . that made up the crazy-quilt Lee pastiche . . . [This biography] is several degrees better than any other Lee tome that has surfaced to date."—Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times
 
"Miss Peggy Lee rarely sang a sour note, and neither does Richmond in this pitch-perfect biography."— Curt Schleier, The Grand Rapids Press
 
"Affectionate, readable biography . . . Richmond writes smoothly and researches diligently . . . For those who only know Peggy Lee as the voice behind the Siamese cats in Disney's Lady and the Tramp, Richmond's biography is a gorgeous, eye-opening corrective. Fever is a perfect title for music lovers."—Cleveland Plain Dealer
 
"American popular culture is filled with people who claim to have reinvented themselves. North Dakota's Norma Egstrom puts most such claimants to shame. She invented Peggy Lee with Dickensian precision, not to mention a voice that could cool down a volcano. In this definitive biography, Peter Richmond honors her story with equal precision, and with a generosity and insight that had me cheering her onward, every step of the way."—Gary Giddins, author of Natural Selection and Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams
 
"Peter Richmond's lovely and big-hearted biography of Peggy Lee is not only chockfull of fascinating jazz stories, it is scintillatingly insightful about the fate and destiny of a small-town girl and the dreams that came true to claim her."—Wil Haygood, author of In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr.
 
"At long last there's a full-length biography of one of American music's most crucial cultural icons. I learned a lot I didn't know about Peggy Lee in this well-researched volume, and I am certain that anybody who cares about this great singer, or about American music in general, will find it essential reading."—Will Friedwald, author of Sinatra! The Song is You: A Singers Art

Review:

"Miss Peggy Lee,' as show marquees always billed her, is for Richmond a vocal genius on the level of Armstrong, Sinatra or Crosby, but one whose reputation has become overshadowed by time. The GQ reporter aims to restore Lee's luster by retelling the story of Norma Egstrom's (1920 — 2002) journey from listening to jazz on the radio in North Dakota to taking the stage alongside Benny Goodman's band as Peggy Lee, then moving on to even more astounding success in her solo career. Richmond is reverential toward Lee's interpretations of the 'Great American Songbook' (though dismissive of attempts to incorporate contemporary tunes into her 1970s performances) and equally respectful toward her turbulent personal life. Although he acknowledges widespread testimony of her drinking, he defers to Lee's refusal to describe herself as an alcoholic. He is similarly circumspect in addressing her intimate relationships with stars like Sinatra and Quincy Jones. Although some readers will want more backstage details, Richmond would rather focus on the music, and it's in describing Lee's performances that his portrait most vibrantly comes to life: 'When she sang 'Good mornin', sun — good mornin', sun!' her voice was so... happy, it was as if she was swinging open the... door and announcing the arrival of the postwar sunshine.' Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In the early 1970s, Capitol Records released an album titled 'Norma Deloris Egstrom from Jamestown, North Dakota.' These were the roots of the singer who, broadcasting over WDAY in Fargo in 1937, borrowed the first name of neighbor Peggy Grant and the middle name of one of Grant's young sons to rename herself Peggy Lee. She and Norma pose an interesting pair, and the duel between the two is a major... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

"I learned courage from Buddha, Jesus, Lincoln, and Mr. Cary Grant." So said Miss Peggy Lee. Albert Einstein adored her; Duke Ellington dubbed her "the Queen." With her platinum cool and inimitable whisper, Peggy Lee sold twenty million records, made more money than Mickey Mantle, and presided over music's greatest generation alongside pals Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.
 
Drawing on exclusive interviews and never-before-seen information, Peter Richmond delivers a complex, compelling portrait of an artist that begins with a girl plagued by loss, her father's alcoholism, and her stepmother's abuse. One day she boards a train, following her muse and hoping her music will lead her someplace better. And it does: to the pantheon of great American singers.

Synopsis:

The first major biography of the legendary singer--an enthralling account of a charismatic artist moving through the greatest, most glamorous era of American music.

About the Author

Peter Richmond has been an award-winning reporter and feature writer for GQ magazine for two decades. He has covered everything from Rosemary Clooney to sports, and his work has also appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, and Rolling Stone. He has appeared many times on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. He lives in Dutchess County, New York.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805073836
Subtitle:
The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee
Author:
Richmond, Peter
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co.
Subject:
Women
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts
Subject:
Singers
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts - General
Subject:
Composers & Musicians - General
Subject:
General
Subject:
Genres & Styles - Jazz
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20060321
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 pg bandw insert
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9.42 x 6.4 x 1.61 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Popular Performers
Biography » Entertainment and Performing Arts

Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$1.75 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805073836 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Miss Peggy Lee,' as show marquees always billed her, is for Richmond a vocal genius on the level of Armstrong, Sinatra or Crosby, but one whose reputation has become overshadowed by time. The GQ reporter aims to restore Lee's luster by retelling the story of Norma Egstrom's (1920 — 2002) journey from listening to jazz on the radio in North Dakota to taking the stage alongside Benny Goodman's band as Peggy Lee, then moving on to even more astounding success in her solo career. Richmond is reverential toward Lee's interpretations of the 'Great American Songbook' (though dismissive of attempts to incorporate contemporary tunes into her 1970s performances) and equally respectful toward her turbulent personal life. Although he acknowledges widespread testimony of her drinking, he defers to Lee's refusal to describe herself as an alcoholic. He is similarly circumspect in addressing her intimate relationships with stars like Sinatra and Quincy Jones. Although some readers will want more backstage details, Richmond would rather focus on the music, and it's in describing Lee's performances that his portrait most vibrantly comes to life: 'When she sang 'Good mornin', sun — good mornin', sun!' her voice was so... happy, it was as if she was swinging open the... door and announcing the arrival of the postwar sunshine.' Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
"I learned courage from Buddha, Jesus, Lincoln, and Mr. Cary Grant." So said Miss Peggy Lee. Albert Einstein adored her; Duke Ellington dubbed her "the Queen." With her platinum cool and inimitable whisper, Peggy Lee sold twenty million records, made more money than Mickey Mantle, and presided over music's greatest generation alongside pals Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.
 
Drawing on exclusive interviews and never-before-seen information, Peter Richmond delivers a complex, compelling portrait of an artist that begins with a girl plagued by loss, her father's alcoholism, and her stepmother's abuse. One day she boards a train, following her muse and hoping her music will lead her someplace better. And it does: to the pantheon of great American singers.
"Synopsis" by , The first major biography of the legendary singer--an enthralling account of a charismatic artist moving through the greatest, most glamorous era of American music.
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