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Miss Peggy Lee: A Career Chronicle by Robert Strom

In 1989, Peggy Lee made a noble, if misguided, attempt at autobiography with the frank but frustratingly uneven–and occasionally fictionalized–Miss Peggy Lee. Since then, not a single, decent Lee biography has been forthcoming (though at least a couple of promising volumes are rumored to be in the works). Until a genuinely worthy portrait does surface, this labor of love from Lee aficionado Robert Strom should help keep diehard fans entertained.

Based on painstakingly extensive scrapbooks (numbering some 2,500 pages) assembled by Lee’s most ardent booster, the late Robert Towe, Strom’s Chronicle provides nearly a day-to-day account of her career, augmented with references to various personal milestones (marriages, divorces, the birth of daughter Nikki, etc.) and a first-rate CD discography. If you ever wondered what, say, Variety thought of the singer’s March 1960 appearance at Basin Street East or what she sang on The Danny Kaye Show on December 21, 1966, this is the book for you.

Much like Joel Whitburn’s invaluable Billboard reference works, it’s the sort of tome you’ll dip into for a specific fragment of information and find yourself, an hour or two later, still engrossed in the minutia of her colorful professional life.

Originally Published