I’m listening to Peggy Lee this morning.
Peggy Lee was the first musician that my father and I ever connected over. He was born in 1932, and his musical tastes stopped sometime in the late 50’s. (I grew up with “The Make Believe Ballroom”, a radio show that focused on jazz – mainly vocalists – from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, from station WNEW in New York.)
Most of the time when Dad would put on music, us kids would all groan and fuss, our own tastes running more towards 70’s rock like Led Zeppelin and The Doors. Listening to the likes of Frank Sinatra and Vic Damone were akin to torture.
One day, Dad was driving me to piano lessons, I believe. He turned on WNEW (“My car, my music,” he’d say) and “Fever” came on. I listened for a minute and something about it struck me. I don’t know if it was the beat or Peggy Lee’s raspy-yet-velvety voice. I asked my dad about her, and he told me that she’d sung with Benny Goodman, and that she was also a songwriter, and we talked for the rest of the drive about music from that era.
I knew I’d gained a new connection with my father (but lost one with my brothers, now that I had broken ranks with the Haters Of Old Time Music.)
From that point, I’ve been a huge fan of hers, and so many other jazz vocalists from that era. And Dad and I continue to bond over music that was made 75 years ago.
(Later on in college, my best friend and roommate Meagan and I would listen to my favorite Peggy Lee/Benny Goodman CD with a bourbon drink called a “Wild Cow” that I’d excavated out of an ancient bartender’s guide. We’d sing, and dance with brooms in the living room. We were old-fashioned girls at heart, I think.)
Here’s a link to my Peggy Lee Spotify playlist.
And for your enjoyment, one of those wonderful upbeat sad songs: “All Dressed Up With a Broken Heart”.