Peggy Lee On Record (1941-1995)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Ridin'High, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

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    The guy often thought to be Riddle on the No One Cares cover is Ed Thrasher.
     
  2. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    It says that in a caption at MPTV Images, but I’m unconvinced. Thrasher was a young 27-year-old intern at Capitol when the album was released. I’ve seen only photos of an older, white-haired, bearded Thrasher, but I don’t see a resemblance.

    Incidentally, they once had uncropped background photos of the No One Cares cover image (sans Sinatra) at MPTV Images, but those seem to have been removed.
     
  3. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

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    [​IMG]
     
  4. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    Thanks, Jordan. Ed Thrasher and Linda Gray, 1962. I’m more convinced. :)
     
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  5. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I meant to post those. They make my point that, with better lighting, it becomes more amply evident that there is no Peggy Lee and no Nelson Riddle in sight.

    Somewhat belatedly, here they are. The photographer was Sid Avery.


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    Also for what is worth:

    1) the first of the above-shown photos was included in the booklet of the Concepts long-box set. No watermarks, of course, but cropped, partly to highlight Sinatra. Among the things missing: the smoke rings from Frank's cigarette, the smoky light, and the dark backdrop. But that's not the worst of it: poor Ed Thrasher has undergone something worse than trepanation!

    2) a much larger, full-page version of the same photo can be found on page 95 of Andrew Howick's Sinatra: The Photographs. Presumably following MPTV's lead, Howick also identifies the man over Frank's right shoulder as Ed Thrasher.


    That comes as no surprise.
     
  6. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

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    Can somebody please clarify what is meant by Sinatra being superimposed? (Discussion on previous page.)
     
  7. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    I believe I have seen photos of Sinatra at the bar WITHOUT the crowd in the background. However, I can’t now locate the source photos (I thought they were at MPTV), and it’s obvious from the above variants that there were different shots of the background gang. So I must now question my long-held assumption that the photo was a paste-up job.
     
  8. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

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    Ah.....thanks, Bob.
     
  9. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter


    Love Was Their Thing:

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    That's an interesting point. If that's the case, then the following Lee comment (already quoted in a previous post) should provide a clue as to how/why the decision was made: "The album was totally Frank's concept. He brought me a long list of great songs to choose from, and Bill Miller came over and set the keys with me" ...

    My guess is that, for the purposes of this album, Frank wanted Peggy to sing in higher keys. Hence Bill Miller set the keys with Frank's specifications in mind, and Peggy was talked into going for this. Normally, any man trying to tell her how to sing would have been told to mind his own business. But, on this occasion, she obviously agreed, for reasons that we can only guess: the album was Frank's concept; the person asking was a very close, special friend whom she was keen on pleasing, etc. As for Frank, I know that he did not want Peggy to sing in a whisper-like manner, and expressly asked her not to do so. Perhaps the apparent assignation of higher keys was meant to help achieve that purpose? Frank's reasoning could have also stemmed from his own concept of the album; the higher keys might have been more in tune with the symphonic, classically derived vibe with which the arrangements would be imbued.

    Here is a shot of Peggy Lee with Bill Miller. They are probably rehearsing (not for the Man I Love dates, though, but for the second of her aforementioned 1957 guest appearances on Frank's show). The caption does not identify the guitarist, but a quick bit of research corroborates my initial suspicion that this is Nick Bonney, who did play on the Man I Love sessions. Bonney was working regularly with Sinatra and Riddle around this time. I do not know Bonney (nor Miller) to have ever worked with Lee in anything else.


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    The quote could certainly be read that way. I read it somewhat differently: she had already made the decision to move to Capitol, but was still waiting for the Decca contract to officially expire. Several other alternate readings are also possible, of course.

    We also have to take into consideration that Peggy made this comment during an interview, presumably without previous knowledge that she would be asked this question. In the spur of the moment, our memories sometimes simplify or conflate events from the past.




    None that I can recall ... But, even more than the absence of further anecdotal information, the crux of the matter for me is that I do not know the starting or closing dates of her Decca & Capitol contracts.

    I can't help but notice, though, that Peggy started recording for Decca on April 3, 1952, and restarted recording for Capitol on April 2, 1957. Those dates point to the possibility of a five-year contract with Decca, expiring around April 1, 1957.

    (I do not have direct access to
    Variety, but I do have what seems to be the title and first line of an article possibly published on their April 2, 1952 issue. This is what it says: "PEGGY LEE IN SWITCH FROM CAPITOL TO DECCA. After close to 10 years as a Capitol Records pactee, Peggy Lee ankled the diskery Friday (29) to ink a longterm pact ..." I'd need to check the Variety issue itself before I could put full trust on the quote, in the form that I have it. One thing I am noticing is that March the 29th was a Saturday, not a of Friday. There was, on the other hand, a Friday the 29th in February of that year ..... Anyway, all of this might be much too much minutia.)

    Let's finish this message with another pic from the rehearsals for Frank's shows. Here we have Frank and Peggy, flanked by the men who were, for the purpose of these rehearsals, his main guy and her main guy. Those would be none other than Nelson Riddle and Jeff Chandler ... Yes, that's right, the gray-haired Hollywood actor was there ... according to the caption under this photo. (Not. It's Lou Levy, who was Peggy's main pianist, and whom she nicknamed the Good Gray Fox. Yes, that's right, captioner: there was more than one young gray-haired male in the Hollywood area in the late 1950s!)


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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
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  10. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

  11. jazzyvocalfan

    jazzyvocalfan Member

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    This made me think of the other topic asking for the female equivalent to Frank Sinatra's "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" album. Peggy Lee's "The Man I Love" album would seem to be the obvious response even though the singers are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to breathy singing. She's known for the breathy intimacy of her voice and his voice is the opposite of soft and breathy.
     
  12. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

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    That’s not Al Viola?
     
  13. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

    [​IMG]


    My bad; I think you are right that it must be Al Viola. (Looks like my "quick bit of research" was, well, much too quick for my own good ... Be wary of things done in a hurry!)

    Besides the photos below, there is also the fact that Viola worked with Frank for so many more years than Bonney.

    I just tried to retrace my steps, in order to check again the photos of Bonney that I previously found. I couldn't even find those (except for the second pic below, which does allegedly show Bonney) ... I might have also gotten these two guys mixed up with Nick Lucas, in his youth (last two pics).

    In any case, I find the above-shown photo of Lee, Miller, and Viola very interesting. There are not one but two people behind her, presumably fitting her in her dress. That situation, along with the backstage looks of the scene, leads me to think that we might be looking at a last-minute rehearsal, hours or less before the filming of the TV show (or one part of the TV show). Looking at the four titles which she (co-)sang during this episode, there is a fair chance that the one they are practicing here was "That's All," from the Man I Love album.


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    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
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  14. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

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    I know the caption at Getty says Jeff Chandler, but are you sure that's not Lou Levy? Sure looks like him to me.
     
  15. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Re-check my comment, Jordan; you might have misread it. I said that this is Lou Levy, and I also made light fun of Getty for thinking that, if the guy has gray hair, it has to be Jeff Chandler.

    For the record, here's Peggy with the actual Jeff Chandler:


    And here are the two men, side by side:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    When the photo under discussion was taken (1957), Levy was almost 30, Chandler almost 40. Chandler would pass away just a few years later (1961), at a relatively young age, while Levy lived to see the dawn of this century, passing away in 2001.

    By the way, the more I look at pics of Al Viola next to the alleged pic of Nick Bonney that I posted, the more similar the two of them look to me (leaving aside possible age difference).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2018
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  16. .crystalised.

    .crystalised. Forum Resident

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    Here, Peggy is more pensive than she usually appears in front of a camera lens. I wonder if she's a little nervous, since it was the series debut episode. Or perhaps there was some sort of domestic upset before she arrived at the studio that day.
     
  17. .crystalised.

    .crystalised. Forum Resident

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    [​IMG]

    ;)
     
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  18. .crystalised.

    .crystalised. Forum Resident

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    While we are on the topic of look-alikes, that momentary still gives Nat an uncanny resemblance to Sam Cooke.

    Props for the apropos screenshot given the recent mention of Love Is The Thing :)
     
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  19. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

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    My bad! :winkgrin:
     
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  20. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

    [Mod: Getty copyrighted pictures have been removed]


    Peggy's guest segment consisted of two songs, separated only by some chatter between the guest and the host. "He's my Guy" was actually the second of her numbers. Although the first number bears no direct connection to the album that we've been discussing, your comment is prompting me to post the full segment now, so that we can have a better sense of the whole thing. (As already mentioned, Frank and Peggy chat a bit between numbers, too. Allusion to their album is made.)





    The entire segment strikes me as representative of Peggy's modus operandi during this period. Whenever her guest appearance consisted of more than just one song, she favored doing one swinger and one ballad, presumably with a view toward offering variety of mood. The swinger would be performed with zest and gusto, the ballad with tenderness and introspectiveness ... As I re-watch the segment, I am not detecting any nervousness at all, but who knows (eyes of the beholder, and all that jazz).

    Throughout the process of working on this debut episode, the individuals who faced the greatest challenges were the director and possibly the male guest (Bob Hope). The main source of the challenges was Frank himself.

    About a week before the broadcast, everything had been carefully set up. Everybody had gone through the initial rehearsals, and Frank had expressed full approval. (In addition to being the show's star, he was also its executive producer.)

    Then, within days before the airing, Frank changed his tune(s) ... literally and figuratively, too. He suddenly found reasons to object to just about everything. The project went through an overhaul. Frank decided that he would be singing numbers different from those that he and the director had rehearsed earlier. Sets had to be changed. Ditto for the order of the segments. As for the mood or vibe originally planned for the hour: altered, too.

    That last week, the situation became a bit chaotic. The director was no longer sure of whatever was going on. Neither was Bob Hope. The changes mattered for Bob because some of his comedy relied on interaction with Frank. (Peggy Lee and Kim Novak were not affected, on the other hand. It is my understanding that their respective segments had been thoroughly rehearsed, and had not undergone changes during the process.)

    Fortunately, they all got through dress rehearsals, and were set to go. But then, five minutes before the show was slated to premiere live (with Frank opening it), the star made a vanishing act. He was nowhere to be found. As the clock kept on ticking, panic set in.

    He showed up 20 seconds before the start of the show, which apparently went on without any major glitches.

    That's entertainment.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2018
  21. .crystalised.

    .crystalised. Forum Resident

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    Ah, I see it now. I agree with you - she's pert and effervescent during the first number, and pensive during the second. Perhaps "He's My Guy" is more of a testament to Peggy's skill as an actress - she's really feeling the music and lyrics, and getting inside the song.

    My gut instinct tells me that Frank pulled that stunt on purpose, presumably to make an example of something or someone. Poor Bob must've been a nervous wreck.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
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  22. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

    A heads up, meant for the thread's regular readers: sometime soon, I'll probably stop adding posts to this ongoing discussion of albums. I will continue the discussion in my own website, where posting certain pics will be more appropriate.
    :)

    Ah. I had actually neglected to look into this before. I was operating under the vague notion that, a few years ago, the site in question started to allow the non-commercial use of their online photos. Or so I thought. Just went and checked into the matter. I'm seeing that the site indeed allows it, but, not in quite the manner I was thinking.


    The show's director had it worse, I think! On the first half of the possibility that you raise: I think it was the director himself who speculated that Frank might have needed the process to be a tense and trying one, in order to prop and challenge himself, so that he could do his own best. We have to take into account the amount of self-pressure under which Frank himself might have been. It was his first time producing a TV show, this was the debut episode, and ABC was naturally expecting him to do well. No matter how many other folks participated, ultimately he was the star, on whose shoulders the perceived success or failure of the production would stand.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
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  23. Bob F

    Bob F Forum Resident

    Link?
     
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  24. jtaylor

    jtaylor Forum Resident

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  25. bluemooze

    bluemooze Forum Resident

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