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The Fifties (1950)

 

April 1951: Copacabana, New York
Songs included: Rock Me to Sleep / 'S Wonderful / All of Me / Woman Alone with the Blues / La Vie en Rose

    "Peggy Lee, during her two-week stint here, proved something that Billy Eckstine never tried to prove: that you can entertain a Copa audience without falling back on either this week's Hit Parade or special material. Looking like a shimmering blonde dream...she even sang part of 'La Vie En Rose' in French, and unlike any other non-French singer we've heard on this song, she accepted the fact that "rose" is a two-syllable word. For this alone she deserves the Legion of Honor." - Leonard Feather, Downbeat, 5/4/51

March 1953: La Vie En Rose, New York
Songs included: I've Got You Under My Skin / Lover / Why Don't You Do Right? / My Heart Belongs to Daddy / Hard-hearted Hannah / Mañana / The Riddle Song / What's New? / All Too Soon / Good Morning, Heartache / Easy Living / Blues for Benny / The Meanest Girl in Town

    "Striking in gun-metal net strapless with pink show-through - and add that hairdo - she rides, slides and glides over a flock of songs that run out the string in casing her versatility, pace and handling." - Variety, 4/1/53

    "The jammed room saw Peggy Lee, an electric singer with a driving beat on some songs and a sensual appeal on torcheroos... Perhaps it was Miss Lee's picture, perhaps it was something else, but whatever it was, she has never sung so well nor sold as strongly as she did here. 'Lover'... built and built; the band went haywire, the gal gave it a mad jam session interpretation and the audience went wild. It was one of those shows which happen rarely. Only a top-flight act could follow her that night." - Bill Smith, Billboard, 4/4/53

    "Being very cautious about overstatement, we will only say conservatively that Peggy gave the greatest performance we have seen delivered by any singer in a Manhattan club in the last five years - and that includes everybody, male or female, from Lena Horne and Sinatra on down. If you only know Peggy Lee from records, or radio and TV and theaters, catch her some time in an intimate nightclub like this. If you don't get a genuine thrill - Jack, you must be dead." - Leonard Feather, Downbeat, 5/6/53

June 1954: Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco
Songs unknown

    "Personally, I would never have figured her to be a top act on the Fairmont hotel circuit off her performances with Goodman and her records. But she is. She is, as I think Mr. Leonard, the Mighty Fine Feather of New York has said, simply sensational. The reasons she is are the staging of her act, the fact that she attempts nothing she cannot do, the accompaniment she uses, and the fact that everything is organized to present her vocal and visual virtues in the best possible showcase." - Ralph J. Gleason, Downbeat, 8/11/54

    "You don't have to have your hip card punched to get a belt out of Peggy Lee's singing, and that's one thing that makes this gal an exception to most jazz vocalists. She has crossed completely over the bridge between jazz and pop music and now rates as one of the best vocal acts of her sex currently on the hotel circuit. Miss Lee - like Nat King Cole - is a perfect example of how to retain a jazz feeling and still make the squares love it... Gowned in excellent costumes, with a crack jazz sextet backing her up, utilizing deftly all body English passable in a hotel room, she puts across her numbers with alternately the wallop of a barrelhouse blues shouter, soft-voiced warmth of a café thrush or practiced showmanship of a born trouper." - Variety, 6/54

September 1955: Sands Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: The Touch of Your Hand / Somebody Loves Me / Learnin' the Blues / I Feel a Song Coming On / Ridin' High / Swing Low, Sweet Chariot / Why Don't You Do Right? / Lover

    "From a one-time blue and pensive period, Miss Lee has picked up tempo to give off sparks with her fine chantoosing. No longer the subjective whisperer, she qualifies with undeniable showmanship and really belts whenever necessary. Not that she's tossed away her special ability to purr out a romantic ballad in the magenta spot... There's a definite communication set up between stage an audience." - Variety, 9/21/55

    "Praise be the return of Peggy Lee to her frame of dynamic showmanship instead of a rather negative, intensely subjective cycle remembered from previous appearances in Vegas a couple of years ago. Casting the blue and pensive delivery into limbo, she now picks up tempo to scatter sparks with her fine and tasty singing." - Bill Willard, Downbeat, 10/19/55

January 1956: Sands Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs unknown

    "Peggy Lee not only is being accorded kudos for her role in Pete Kelly's Blues, but is given solid tribute here as a top nitery performer... The Lee approach to a nitery act encompasses the entire songalog as an overall presentation rather than as a string of tunes in the pop category. A fine balance and pace is offered." - Variety, 2/1/56

March 1956: Cocoanut Grove, Los Angeles
Songs included: I'm Glad There Is You / When the World Was Young / You've Got to See Mama Every Night

    "Few saloon entertainers today get billing as 'Miss,' as Miss Peggy Lee does for this three-week stand at the Cocoanut Grove. She earns it. It's a long jump from the band and smoky bistro days, but Miss Lee has made the grade with little difficulty to purvey a nitery turn that registers hefty interest... There are few singers extant who can handle a song as she does, or generate the driving rhythm that marks many of her numbers." - Variety, 3/14/56

August 1956: Sands Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: My Matador

    "Peggy Lee is one of this circuit's more prominent regulars. Her sensuous embrace of tune and lyric are to the liking of the gambling crowd. And there's no doubt she will lure plenty of customers during her four frames in the Copa Room, handily adjacent to the spa's casino. Unfortunately, however, her act has been altered little from that of past engagements, and this repetition creates a mechanical appearance to her format... Also, [the] chirp's orchestrations [are] sometimes overarranged and much too lush... Despite these points, Miss Lee still remains a polished performer and poignant interpreter of song." - Variety, 8/22/56

February 1957: Sands Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: I Can't Resist You / Don't Get Around Much Anymore / That Old Feeling / Smoke Gets in Your Eyes / Easy Street / Friendly Persuasion

    "Peggy Lee returns to the Copa Room in a program which proves her distinctive style is getting more versatile with each Vegas stint... Her lack of animation perfectly fits the cozy numbers presented with a velvety huskiness which is good. When she purrs 'That Old Feeling' and 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,' she gets across the point to each male in the audience that it is he alone to whom she is singing." - Variety, 2/6/57

February 1958: Copacabana, New York
Songs included: Don't Fool Around with Calico (If You Have Silk at Home) / When My Sugar Walks Down the Street / My Heart Stood Still / Fever / St. Louis Blues / Nothing

    "If there's nothing like a dame, there's also nothing quite like an in-person version of Miss Lee, who's gorgeously coiffed and gowned... The phrasing, the articulation, the authentic charm and the sincerity show all the way through, finally to encase the audience in an indefinable aura; they know they've been had, by a singer who sneaks up on them without them being aware of it. There's hardly anyone in the business more artful, that way and in others, than Miss Lee. Significantly, she avoids current songs like the Asian flu." - Variety, 2/12/58

June 1958: Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco
Songs included: Life Is for Living / My Heart Stood Still / What a Little Moonlight an Do / Don't Fool Around with Calico (If You Have Silk at Home) / Jump for Joy / When My Sugar Walks Down the Street / Fever / The Folks Who Live on the Hill / St. Louis Blues

    "Blonde Peggy Lee, nicely curvy in a white sequined gown, gets a good hand in her 40-minute show at the Fairmont's cavernous Venetian Room... Miss Lee tends to be at disadvantage because room is so big, but she also would be well-advised to use more standard material - room generally draws a pretty square crowd. Her accompaniment is good and she doesn't clutter up act with a lot of unneccessary chatter." - Variety, 6/11/58

December 1958: Moulin Rouge, Hollywood
Songs included: Fever / Lover / When the Saints Go Marching In / Blow, Trumpet, Blow / When the World Was Young

    "Peggy Lee, looking great and sounding better, has moved into the starring slot in the Moulin Rouge's 'Wonderful World,' and with her talent and style looming larger than the gray pachyderms behind her, she should attract socko business right up to Christmas Day... And there's one of the most moving moments on the nitery circuit when, in a single spotlight, Miss Lee sings two verses and a chorus of the haunting 'When the World Was Young.' Blonde vocalist's relaxed feeling is contagious, putting her audience in an easy, receptive mood, and the rapport pays off." - Variety, 12/17/58

November 1959: Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: Publicity / I Enjoy Being a Girl / Misty / Diamonds (Fever with new lyrics) / Smack Dab in the Middle / I'm Gonna Go Fishin' / Every Time We Say Goodbye

    "The distinctive song styling of Peggy Lee is showcased better than ever in her new act which was written and staged by Sid Kuller. With one exception, Miss Lee's current songalog is completely different from her previous Vegas visit, and she seems to have more warmth and animation to go along with it." - Variety, 12/2/59

 

The Sixties (1960)

 

March 1960: Basin Street East, New York
Songs included: Smack Dab in the Middle / Misty / Heart / Hey There / I'm Gonna Go Fishin' / Fever / I Don't Know Enough About You / Who Don't You Do Right? / Lover / I Enjoy Being a Girl / It's the Right Face

    "The svelte blonde thrush is more in her element here than she was at the Copacabana in her last New York date three years ago. This is strictly a music room and what comes out of Miss Lee's pipes is strictly music... Her work here is bound to get talked up around town which will keep the captain at his post directing the heavy load of traffic." - Variety, 3/16/60

    "The sign on the wall said 'Occupation by more than 340 persons is illegal and unlawful," and last night Basin Street East was crowded to the very edge of illegality... In all her yesterdays, Peggy was never better than last night. Only a superlative artist could sell out a club the size of Basin Street East on such a raw, snowy night... Peggy's phrasing is crisp, her diction faultless, every song a delight. She uses her hands constantly; their action becomes part of and enhances her routine. She's magnetic and exciting, exhibits rare stage presence. Everyone loved her last night, and their affection was not misplaced." - Nick Lapole, New York Journal-American, 3/8/60.

    "Peggy Lee turned the presentation of a song program into a fine art during her recent Manhattan stint. Rarely has there been a more carefully prepared and tastefully executed nightclub act... Over the years, Peggy has acquired a great deal of stage presence for in-person appearances of this type. She seems to be calmer and more in control of the situation on a nightclub floor than in front of a television camera." - Downbeat, 3/26/60

August 1960: Ciro's, Hollywood
Songs unknown

    "Peggy Lee's ripe quality and her exceptional good taste in arrangements, staging, lighting, etc. give fans what they crave during this 40-minute show." - Variety, 8/10/60

November 1960: Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: Day In, Day Out / Fever / I'm Gonna Go Fishin' / Lover

    "Peggy Lee's current stint finds her hitting a stride that was lacking in her earliest appearances on the Strip; she shows relaxed animation combined with exciting warmth that clicks with her audience. Her voice is at its best, she looks good and is tastefully gowned." - Variety, 11/9/60

January 1961: Basin Street East, New York
Songs included: Fever / The Second Time Around / Moments Like This / The Second Time Around / One Kiss / My Romance / The Vagabond King Waltz / The Most Beautiful Girl in the World / I'm Gonna Go Fishin' / But Beautiful / Non Dimenticar / He's My Baby and I Love Him So / He's Good to Me / Alright, Okay, You Win / You Won't Let Me Go / Just for a Thrill / Yes Indeed / Day In, Day Out / Call Me Darling / I Got a Man / I Love Being Here with You / Them There Eyes

    "The former band vocalist is one of the hotter pop singers around - also one of the most savvy. She knows how to excite moods, infuse humor and insert sly and wicked connotations into what the customers had previously imagined to be devoid of ulterior meaning. Miss Lee sells jazz and sex in copious quantities. But she also dispenses fun. Her opening stint lasts just about an hour, but it wasn't overlong; the customers were still on her side at the conclusion of her turn... She's not all gaiety, mixing her moods and tempo of her numbers for an extremely colorful and satisfying session." - Variety, 1/18/61

    "Her efforts proved that while the business is replete with both singers and performers, Peggy Lee is one of a handful who legitimately are superlatives as both. To this, add that she looks as beautiful and vital as she sounds and it is pretty tough to match her in any department.... Another side of the Lee talent is perhaps even more unique: her way with a very deliberate tempo, so slow that few other singers would even essay them lest they show up vocal deficiencies... If ever a performer 'owned' a club and its audience, it's Peggy Lee at Basin Street East. Since such atmosphere brings out the best in a performer, Capitol could well consider cutting an album on location here, where the electrically charged air should readily be transmitted through wax to the home listener." - Sam Chase, Billboard, 1/16/61

    "Breathy but truly on pitch in her pensive periods, she is firm in her declarative sentences, and as she approaches her climaxes of exultation her orchestra rises with her, but never is it so intense and closely woven that there are no loopholes through which her words shine clear... She is a pair of honed skates evolving fast figures on a pond of glare ice, leaping into the air and descending with a vehemence that shatters little jets of frosty crystals." -- New Yorker, 1/28/61

July 1961: Pigalle, London
Songs included: Mañana / Heart / Hallelujah, I Love Him So / Fever / Fly Me to the Moon / Just for a Thrill / Life Is for Living / One Kiss / Lover / It's a Good Day / I'm Gonna Go Fishin'

    "Miss Peggy Lee, the woman who brought artistry to pop singing, displayed her art last Monday evening at London's Pigalle restaurant to what must have been her fan club in disguise... Masterly arrangements interpreted with such supreme skill and delicacy of timing that the audience was snapped up in the spell cast by this shimmering singer. At times, among the whispered fragments of a slow, slow ballad, Peggy created an atmospheric silence that made the mumbling air-conditioning plant sound like a roaring wind-tunnel." - Jack Hutton, Melody Maker, 7/22/61

    "She is a handsome, white-gowned blonde who offers no concession to the usual tricks of cabaret artists, dispensing with unnecessary movement and patter. She is content to do what has built up her following, that is sing a variety of pop songs with versatile style and polish." - Variety, 8/2/61

November 1961: Basin Street East, New York
Songs included: Hey! Look Me Over / Why Don't You Do Right? / Mañana / Lover / I'm Gonna Go Fishin' / Yes Indeed / Heart / Fever / Kansas City / Goin' to Chicago Blues / No Beans in Boston

    "The pace hasn't slackened at Basin Street East in the past two years. Peggy Lee, who virtually put this jazz room on the map when it was just getting started in 1959, is back for a five-week run that's sure to be ropes-up and lines outside all the way... Miss Lee carries a brand of excitement that few singers can match, and her hour-long set is paced with such savvy that the tablers never seem to tire of her and could listen to her for twice as long. However, she gives them their money's worth in the sixty-minuter with a songbag of ballads, rhythm, oldies and newies, and all dressed up with showmanship and humorous touches when called for... Her musicianship is always at the forefront no matter what style she's tackling." - Variety, 11/8/61

April 1962: Basin Street East, New York
Songs included: The Sweetest Sounds / Loads of Love / I Believe in You / Goin' to Chicago Blues / St. Louis Blues / Kansas City / New York City Blues

    "If any one person can be credited with the buildup of Basin Street East as one of the 'must' jazz rooms in town, it's Peggy Lee... Current stand is Miss Lee's first since a siege of pneumonia forced her to cancel a four-week booking here last November before two weeks were up. The recuperative period out on the Coast put her right back on the beam and there are no ill effects from the sickness in either her vocal style or stage deportment. She's still tops in both departments... She's one of the few song stylists who puts humor into her work and it gives the performance the necessary lifts and colorings." - Variety, 4/25/62

November 1962: Basin Street East, New York
Songs included: Close Your Eyes / Baubles, Bangles and Beads / Funny Man / What Kind of Fool Am I? / You're Mine You / Strawberries and Wine / Nice and Easy / Life Is for Living / Gonna Build a Mountain / I'm a Woman / You've Got to See Mama Every Night / Heart / Why Don't You Do Right? / I'm Gonna Go Fishin'

    "The lovely and winning Peggy Lee returned to her favorite night spot, Basin Street East, last week, with a whole new act and a new band, led by her new arranger-conductor, Benny Carter... New act, old act, Peggy is as wonderful as ever. She can turn a phrase on a rhythm tune or a ballad that is distinctly her own and is distinctively delightful. She can move from a mood of sorrow to a mood of swinging happiness within one song and carry the audience along with her from mood to mood. She knows how to use her hands, her body and her eyes, as well as her voice, and there are few singers about today who can compare with her. And she does it all while showing off that beguiling smile that makes her a joy to watch." - Bob Rolontz, Billboard, 11/17/62

    "Packing lots of sex appeal and, as the hippies say, plenty of 'cool,' she scores consistently with a round of tunes ranging from specialty talking blues numbers to wailing up-tempo tunes to soft and sentimental ballads... Her well-timed dramatic sense of the lyrics and suave delivery make for unbeatable salesmanship, and for many in the audience she seemingly can do no wrong." - Variety, 11/7/62

February 1963: Diplomat Hotel, Hollywood Beach, Florida
Songs unknown

    "Peggy Lee, at her first cafe appearance at a south Florida Gold Coast poshery - many were offered but none were chosen in recent years - must be wondering what kept her from taking up one of the prior bids... Miss Lee could do no wrong for the smart house... It was a tour-de-force for the warm, easy-working, attractive, blonde vet of song... Despite the long stay (she eschews the phony walk-offs and returns), they wanted more." - Variety, 2/20/63

March 1963: Latin Casino, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Songs included: Mack the Knife / Days of Wine and Roses / Fever / I'm a Woman / The Alley Cat Song / Fly Me to the Moon / Big Bad Bill / Nice and Easy

    "Peggy Lee seldom makes appearances in this area, usually confining her activities in the east to New York's Basin Street East. Her booking at the Latin Casino marks her first visit here in nine years, and the avant-garde chirp has a special following to augment the Jersey café's regular dining-out trade... Miss Lee believes in making each word intelligible and using arrangements geared to her knowing style." - Variety, 3/6/63

March 1963: Basin Street East, New York
Songs included: The Alley Cat Song / A Taste of Honey

    "Peggy Lee has become a box-office landmark locally. Playing the Basin Street East bistro twice annually, Miss Lee becomes a magnet for all the classes of nitery goers. It's a common sight during Miss Lee's run to see a line outside of the cafe waiting to get in, even during the slowest night of the week. There's little wonder about Miss Lee's constant lure. She seems to work hard at repertoire between engagements here. She comes in with a batch of new numbers, new treatments for previously used items and, not incidentally, a come-hither viewpoint that seems to make all of her offerings bedroom ballads." - Variety, 3/20/63

June 1963: Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: Mack the Knife / It Amazes Me / The Alley Cat Song / The Doodlin' Song / I'm a Woman

    "Several years ago about the only animation in Peggy Lee's act was subdued finger-snapping and she had a poker face. On each of her past five or six gigs here, she's shown more warmth, and in her current, she's almost a smiling red-hot mama. This Peggy Lee is the best, as it is the most pleasant visual showcase for one of the top femme jazz sounds in the biz. Her vocal styling is also updated via new and imaginative arrangements." - Variety, 6/12/63

January 1964: Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: A Lot of Living to Do / I Can't Stop Loving You / Once Upon a Summertime / I'm a Woman / Funny Man / A Great Big Love

    "Peggy Lee's still the chirp to beat as a top jazz singer. In her latest outing on the Strip she shows why she's a vocalist's vocalist by solidly selling such numbers as [songs listed above]." - Variety, 2/5/64

April 1964, Americana Hotel, New York
Songs included: Make Believe / Mañana / Why Don't You Do Right? / Fever / Talk to Me, Baby / Lover / Funny Man / I Can't Stop Loving You

    "Miss Lee is a canary who an warble with the best of them, and this has long been musical history. She's a mistress of rhythm and a 100% professional. That means, of course, that when some of her selections aren't really worth it, she still gives them the same amount of heart [that] she does her familiar stand-bys... There are enough straightforward and sincerely sung offerings to please the most demanding Lee fan... Bowing to the demands of restless residents, she included plenty of fast rhythm and jump tunes but, as always, she comes on strongest with a hushabye ballad." - Variety, 4/29/64

    "The Capitol Records artist is at the height of her power - assured and gracious in manner and blessed with a vocal style of technical excellence. Not the least of her impact derives from the fact that her voice is so completely under control. This facilitates evocation of the many moods indicated by the different songs... This reviewer has always found Miss Lee outstanding in her understanding of many different kinds of American music. We have mentioned show tunes, country songs, blues and jazz. To this we may add the Latin-American genre and the Negro spiritual. All these categories were represented in the Wednesday show, and all had the artist's distinctive styling." - Paul Ackerman, Billboard, 5/9/64

September 1964: Cocoanut Grove, Los Angeles
Songs included: What Kind of Fool Am I? / Funny Man / Talk to Me, Baby / My Sin / I Won't Dance / You've Got to See Mama Every Night / Once Upon a Summertime / Bye-bye, Blackbird / My Romance / Money Can't Buy Me Love / Things

    "In her first stand here in more than seven years (she's in for three weeks), [the] chirp segues between her standards and newer numbers in her usual slick style, frequently changing moods but never losing audience attention. Miss Lee captured much applause in more than 20 numbers, along with a lyrical medley of many of her disc clicks... That she can do no wrong is testified by [the] crowd's response." - Variety, 9/16/64

    "The misty-voiced thrush sang 27 titles, many combined skillfully into medleys which moved briskly... Known for her love of clowns, Miss Lee offers a funny man medley, with a live clown brooding sadly onstage while the vocalist softly sang... Only a genuine professional could have an actor upstage her, as was the result of the clown's appearance with subsequent audience attention drawn to him." - Eliot Tiegel, Billboard, 9/19/64

February 1965: Basin Street East, New York
Songs included: Who Can I Turn To

    "Miss Lee presents new facets every time she makes an appearance here. This time, Miss Lee is out to make the most of every phrase in her rhythm tunes. Her mood is one of let's enjoy everything about it, but we've got all night to make it. She cools down the ardor in the numbers and controls the moods of her auditors. This is not easy for an audience ready to gallop at any command she purrs out... In her finale, Miss Lee does some of her stalwarts and it's a strong send-off." - Variety, 3/3/65

November 1965: Copacabana, New York
Songs included: Fever / Mañana / Lover / It's a Wonderful World / I Must Know / How Long Has This Been Going On? / Tell the World About You / Then Was Then / Big Spender / Trapped / Watch What Happens / Everyone Has the Right to Be Wrong / Come Back to Me / An Empty Glass / I Only Miss Him When I Think of Him / Moving On

    "As Miss Lee pitches the lower decibels they respectfully hang on every lyrical nuance and, considering that she was uncorking a flock of newies, it was a personal tribute to her audience identification and control. She played it to the hilt, even unto getting audible acquiescence on whether to continue her touring, a vicarious and rhetorical 'loyalty test,' hinting that she had been mulling less and less of 'the road,' as she put it." - Variety, 11/17/65

    "Saloon entertainment will continue to thrive so long as Peggy Lee is around to give it a jolt every now and then... She keeps her magic formula intact by holding to the sultry ballad-finger-snapping rhythm number mixture as before. It's a formula that will always work for her because she can take any style in her stride. Every song is treated with care, nothing is short-changed, so everything has added value. It will probably be another year before Miss Lee makes the New York rounds again, but fortunately, there are her Capitol disks to fill the vacuum." - Mike Gross, Billboard, 11/27/65

February 1966: The Nugget, Reno, Nevada
Songs included: It's a Grand Night for Singing / Things / Funny Man / What Kind of Fool Am I? / Big Spender / Tell All the World About You / Fever / I'm a Woman / Alright, Okay, You Win

    "Miss Lee, in premier date for this swankery, works the Circus Room as if designed for her alone. Catalog, lighting and staging have been given careful attention, and result is as anticipated: singer is the consummate diseuse. Her black off-shoulder gown contrasting her light complexion and blond good looks, she soothsays what's to come via 'Grand Night for Singing.' It is." - Variety, 2/23/66

March 1966: Diplomat Hotel, Hollywood Beach, Florida
Songs included: Alright, Okay, You Win / Bye-bye, Blackbird

    "While too many performers are content to rest on their withering laurels while thorn-jabbed audiences pay too-high minimums, Peggy Lee comes to town each year with a completely different show... Miss Lee, looking lush in a red sequined gown which drew applause before she started chirping, was in a great mood for her opening and seemed to be enjoying herself completely." - Variety, 3/16/66

June 1966: Shoreham Hotel, Washington D.C.
Songs included: You've Got Possibilities / How Long Has This Been Going On? / An Empty Glass / Alright, Okay, You Win

    "Peggy Lee's voice, one of immaculate style and a kind of grand, quiet sex, was wildly applauded... Show itself is well-organized and polished, wisely shunning patter and zipping from one number to another. Miss Lee mixes her pitches well - something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." - Variety, 6/22/66

October 1966: Copacabana, New York
Songs included: Think Beautiful Things / The Shadow of Your Smile / Nice and Easy / So What's New / As You Desire Me / Come Back to Me / Big Spender / Lover / Fever / Why Don't You Do Right? / Makin' Whoopee / Somebody Else Is Taking My Place / An Empty Glass / My Guitar / Alright, Okay, You Win

    "Miss Lee is one of the tops in the café field. It's a virtually new act every time she makes her appearance, and most frequently, her turn represents artistic growth in some direction... Nobody's interest lags during Miss Lee's turn, even during the periods when the audience is frustrated by the orchestral intrusions. She came back for four encores, which is a rather singular tribute under the circumstances. Her gown, described as an East Indian djilabas, was also provocative. - Variety, 11/2/66

    "Peggy Lee's 65-minute one-woman show at the Copa Thursday night certainly ranks among the most distinguished performances in a distinguished career. Miss Lee led the band, clowned with the audience and the musicians, discussed the musical accomplishments of her fellow artists and engaged in a sparkling bit of musical repartee with Toots Thielemans. These alone would have made for one enchanted evening. But she also sang, and the sum total of her efforts was a Copa opening the likes of which have seldom been matched." - Billboard, 11/5/66

January 1967: Diplomat Hotel, Hollywood Beach, Florida
Songs included: Lover / The Shadow of Your Smile

    "Miss Lee looks really good onstage, if slightly heavier than last time around. She is working very easily on some fine charts, well read by the musicians, and is in full control as she styles her way through the show with something less than the voice of old." - Variety, 1/25/67

July 1967: Roostertail, Detroit, Michigan
Songs included: Big Spender / Makin' Whoopee

    "Miss Lee, who suffered a back injury while picking up her grandson on the Fourth of July, arrived at the supper club every night in a wheelchair, which she insisted on leaving in her downstairs dressing room. She climbed the stairs with the assistance of special hand-railings and arrived onstage with no one aware of her painful injury... She alternately shook 'em up with the rhythm numbers and soothed 'em with the blues, withal maintaining a romantic mood." - Variety, 7/19/67

October 1967: Copacabana, New York
Songs included: Alfie / Our Love Is Here to Stay / Fever / Just Like Old Times / So What's New / The More I See You / Something Stupid / You'll Get Over It / Lonesome Road / Release Me / It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing

    "The range of professionalism between a master of song like Capitol Records' Peggy Lee and a novice - everybody else - was never demonstrated better than Thursday night at the Copacabana nightclub... One can't help getting the impression that she's a blues belter - or could be, or can be when she wants to be - but she has every note locked up tight and is in control." - Claude Hall, Billboard, 10/14/67

February 1968: Diplomat Hotel, Hollywood, Florida
Songs included: Alfie / The More I See You / Come Back to Me / What Is a Woman? / Fever

    "Miss Lee has her usually skillful control, style, poise, showmanship and total believability, and she combines the elements into as good a show as any femme singer puts on." - Variety, 2/7/68

April 1968: Copacabana, New York
Songs included: Hand on the Plow / Until It's Time for You to Go / By the Time I Get to Phoenix / Reason to Believe / Why Don't You Do Right? / Do I Hear a Waltz / My Personal Property

    "Peggy Lee's sultry, jazz-oriented song style has been a national sound for more than a score of years. What's more remarkable these days is the dedicated professionalism that goes into this solo club act... Blues, jazz, folk, rock, standard - any and all are this girl's forte, and she made the opening night dinner audience applaud wildly with, of all things, a beg-off rendition of the liberal folk rouser, 'Hand on the Plow.'" - Variety, 4/17/68

    "The voice of Peggy Lee will never die, nor will it fade away... Miss Lee displayed a sterling command of both the music and the audience in her opening Copacabana appearance Thursday. Her spicy delivery spun the audience into sheer joy." - Hank Fox, Billboard, 4/27/68

May 1968: Frontier Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: Everyone's Gone to the Moon / Something Stupid / By the Time I Get to Phoenix

    "Miss Lee not only proves all the well-worn adages of experience but adds new dimensions to presentation of her wares. Her taste in repertoire is stunning and her involvement in music is total... Being a musician and composer, Miss Lee can most effectively bring audiences into her personal sphere quickly and hold them fast until her final notes." - Variety, 6/5/68

September 1968: Copacabana, New York
Songs included: Yesterday I Heard the Rain / Them There Eyes / I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) / Almost Like Being in Love / I've Gotta Be Me / Didn't We? / Johnny (Linda) / Love Story / Here's to You

    "Miss Lee is still the bright singer expressing age-old feelings in the hip manner of this era... Essentially a top musician, ever with a feel for lyrics, no musical nuance seems to escape her... Miss Lee knows how to have fun with her catalog. She has some odd approaches that sometimes bring out a generally undetected humorous element in the tune." - Variety, 10/2/68

    "Capitol Records' Peggy Lee, like all artists worth their salt, has never been static. In a business where success is both fickle and skin-deep, and where stagnancy is deadly, she conquered the Big Band, Brazilian beat and rock eras because of tremendous natural talent and a perseverance to keep tuned in to today's music. At her opening... she showed the stuff she's made of by dazzling the audience with a new wave performance that was effortless and full of surprises. She simply wrapped up the 17 or 18 tunes into a lyrical package and sent it off floating and softly stinging." - Robert Sobel, Billboard, 10/5/68

December 1968: Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: Almost Like Being in Love / This Girl's in Love with You / This Time / Yesterday I Heard the Rain / I've Gotta Be Me / Fever / Big Spender / Alright, Okay, You Win

    "Peggy Lee is surrounded by and engulfed in talent during her present Riviera Hotel outing... Miss Lee's presentation is all softness and underscoring, with emotional vitality the keynote... She is 'Miss Cool' all the way." - Eliot Tiegel, Billboard, 12/28/68

March 1969: Sherman House, Chicago
Songs included: Spinning Wheel / Fever / Alright, Okay, You Win

    "A thick layer of time separates Miss Lee's current and last appearane here, and judging from opening night response she has been sorely missed. The songstress could do no wrong at show's bow, and turned in the type of socko performance that has kept her name on the top-line of boitedom's finest establishments for years. As always, the star dwells in a low-key realm dispensing arresting, mellow rhythmics that had the auditors making with the contrasting loud cheers. Everything she fashions seems easy and natural." - Variety, 3/26/69

April 1969: Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York
Songs unknown

    "Miss Lee's act, although recalling the stalwart songs with which she achieved star status, has an ever-expanding catalog. She is mindful of today's trends, today's new composers and the new set of musical mores that have taken over the music business. She is also cognizant of the meaning of lyrics. In virtually all departments, Miss Lee is the consummate singer, meticulously prepared and tastefully groomed, this time in a beaded champagne gown." - Variety, 4/16/69

October 1969: Landmark Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: Almost Like Being in Love / All of a Sudden My Heart Sings / Watch What Happens / Spinning Wheel / Is That All There Is? / Fever / Why Don't You Do Right? / Big Spender / My Man / Mañana / Here's to You

    "Peggy Lee, making a quick trip back to town after being the first top-liner at the International's Casino Theater when it opened in early July, has a classy show in the Landmark's (also new) theater restaurant." - Variety, 10/8/69

December 1969: Sherman House, Chicago
Songs included: Don't Explain / Something / Spinning Wheel

    "Miss Lee can always be counted upon to provide a top-notch session, but rarely does an act turn on the audience to the degree witnessed at the performance caught. If anything, she is more impressive this time around than she was during her previous gig in this room, and at that time she was nothing less than sensational... All is handled with the ease of an artist who completely understands the medium and is totally confident in her ability to deliver the goods, no matter how they are musically wrapped." - Variety, 12/10/6

 

 

The Seventies (1970)

 

January 1970: Diplomat Hotel, Hollywood Beach, Florida
Songs included: Love Story / Spinning Wheel

    "Peggy Lee is not just a singer of songs. She's a complete musical artist. Each tune delivered shows meticulous detail. The complete picture is Peggy Lee with spot and stage lights illuminating the occasion of song... She is not the same lady of song who frequents every major TV show. From those video appearances it would never be suspected that she has a keen sense of humor. Apparently much of the chatter unleashed here was unrehearsed, because her mini-symphony orchestra reacted with laughter, much as did the audience... Young singers should look to Miss Lee for professionalism in her approach to, and quality of, a vocal act." - Variety, 2/4/70

April 1970: Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York
Songs included: Spinning Wheel / I See Your Face Before Me / Is That All There Is? / Mañana / Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head / Love Story / Bridge Over Troubled Water / You'll Remember Me

    "There is scarcely a singer on the boards who prepares more thoroughly than Miss Lee... She grooves excitingly with an easy gait that sometimes changes dramatically. She provides comfort with a demonstration of how to cater to audiences in intimate moments and still enjoy yourself as well. The lesson is amply appreciated." - Variety, 4/15/70

    "Peggy Lee proved once again that she is as 'today' in her musical thinking as the Beatles. ...In all, she remains one of the most creative and entertaining performers around." - Don Ovens, Billboard, 4/25/70

June 1970: Royal Albert Hall, London
Songs included: Spinning Wheel / Maxwell's Silver Hammer / Love Story / Don't Explain / Why Don't You Do Right? / Almost Like Being in Love / Something / Love Story / Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head / Big Spender / Is That All There Is?

    "It would have been understandable if Peggy Lee, appearing live in Britain for the first time in nine years, had chosen to play safe by giving her fans a nostalgic selection of her past hits. However, it was a measure of the smoky-voiced songstress' integrity and courage that she concentrated on contemporary material... As an interpreter of modern love songs, she is close to perfection. Her affinity to the roots of jazz, often underplayed but always present, enabled her to rejuvenate jaded and trite lyrics. Descriptions of Miss Lee's special appeal seem to recall cliched allusions to her voice seducing and making love to the listener. Hackneyed though it is, it really was the effect." - Variety, 7/1/70

    "It says much for the enduring artistry of Peggy Lee that she received a standing ovation at the end of her concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on Monday. It also says much for her fortitude in overcoming acoustical eccentricities that would be enough to daunt the most hardened entertainer... She's likely to be around for quite some time when she can command the frenzied acclaim accorded to her in such a mausoleum as the Albert Hall." - Laurie Henshaw, Melody Maker, 6/27/70

    "It is not only that she looks the age of Bardot - just over 30 - but more importantly, she sounds young too. She has this enchanting manner of whispering, half-teasing the words of a song, and employs her jazz training in the superb manner of handling a lyric. How much shrill-voiced young pop singers of today could learn from her. Or perhaps they could not, because it is her background that bred what we hear today... I would like to hear her I again backed by a really good band in a more sympathetic surrounding. Her London fans, however, would obviously support her anywhere. She was rapturously received." - Michael Wale, London Times, 6/23/70

July 1970: Central Park, New York
Songs included: Fever / Mañana / Big Spender / Why Don't You Do Right? / What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life / Watch What Happens / You'll Remember Me

    "Murmuring most of her songs in a small, tight voice, Miss Lee proved herself a mistress of the art of making the microphone work for her. Her voice was always low and almost effortless, her demeanor cool. But the thrust of her voice was balanced so skillfully against her extremely artfully written arrangements that she was always on top of her songs, able to make the least little flick of vocal gesture count." - John S. Wilson, New York Times, 7/29/70

February 1971: Palmer House, Chicago
Songs unknown

    "As always, Miss Lee's turn is virtually a dissertation on introspection. She is capable of accomplishing much with apparent little effort, depending upon consummate skill at shading and phrasing to achieve strong ends. Her catalog frequently becomes a series of thoughtful commentaries on the various emotional levels of interpersonal relationships, with some numbers imbued with an undeniably restrained but nevertheless spirit-lifting enthusiasm, while others are cloaked with a moving poignancy." - Variety, 2/24/71

March 1971: Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York
Songs included: Fever / It's Impossible / Make It with You / Sing / You'll Remember Me / Goodbye / Let's Get Lost in Now / Is That All There Is?

    "She is a restless entertainer, never satisfied, always seeking new elements to enrich her singing and her act, a striking reason for her being a singer for all generations. This willingness to move into new areas keys her act and makes it not simply alive but kicking as well. Even the oldies are given new life." - Robert Sobel, Billboard, 3/27/71

    "One of Miss Lee's major attributes is her attention to musical detail. With her pianist-conductor Lou Levy, she brings in one of the most polished music crews in the industry... This outfit, when necessary, cradles her, spurs her on, and helps burnish her turn to its top brightness... Couturewise, Miss Lee has come in well prepared. On night caught she wore a white flowing creation which serves as an additional indication of the care that goes into every detail of her turn." - Variety, 3/24/71

    "Superficially, Miss Lee's performance seems the epitome of simplicity and directness. There are no gimmicks, no big productions. She just sings, most of the time in an understated, low-keyed fashion. Yet within this seemingly constricting range, she finds an astonishing variety of colors and emotions... It is a model of what one hopes a popular singer's presentation will be but very rarely is." - John S. Wilson, New York Times, 3/31/71

June 1971: Frontier Hotel, Las Vegas
Songs included: Come Back to Me / Make It with You / Where Did They Go? / My Sweet Lord / Is That All There Is? / Fever / Why Don't You Do Right? / Mañana / Big Spender / Here's to You

    "Elegantly gowned distaff has never sounded better in her many Vegas outings. Her once shy, uncertain stage presence has evaporated, and she has peaked as a pleasant song-seller. Between-tune patter spotlights Miss Lee as a low-pressure comedienne, a quality which perfectly fits her distinctive tones in a well-balanced selection of standards and freshies." - Variety, 6/16/71

March 1972: Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York
Songs included: Mañana / "a transcription of a Carl Sandburg poem and an adaptation of the Spanish Romanza"

    "The reopening of this room would ordinarily be a worthwhile occasion, but with Peggy Lee as its topper, it becomes quite an event. Miss Lee not only gives evidence of the most careful preparations, but also provides one of the swingingest songfests, one filled with fun, and which seems to bring out many pleasurable feelings in the customers. In the current crop of tunes, of which there is a plenitude, she becomes a woman who remembers and a girl with hopes. It's an infectious session in which she recounts a long history of her hits but still has enough of a youthful outlook that seems to look ahead to a future in which her charms won't be wasted." - Variety, 3/15/72

April 1972: Elmwood, Windsor, Ontario
Songs included: I Love Being Here with You / Fire and Rain / Just in Time / My Sweet Lord / Fever / Mañana / Big Spender / Is That All There Is?

    "The old hypnosis makes itself known when Peggy Lee glides onstage in a flowing white gown... In a fast-flowing 50 minutes, the Mother Superior of Jazz, with quick, breathy introductory patter between numbers, moves through [songs listed above]." - Variety, 4/12/72

August 1972: Central Park, New York
Songs included: Just for a Thrill / Fire and Rain / Why Don't You Do Right? / Mañana / Is That All There Is? / Fever / The More I See You / I'll Be Seeing You

    "Miss Lee, thirty summers after she came to prominence with Benny Goodman's orchestra, has become the most polished and consistent popular singer heard anywhere." - John S. Wilson, New York Times, 8/11/72

    "Her spoken intros were especially effective, with such segues aiding 'Is That All There Is?,' her most dramatic number. The audience was wider in age range than usual for the fes… Продолжение »

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