Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee Live in London

Universal Music
Release date: December 4, 2015

Peggy Lee Live in London

Universal Music presents Peggy Lee Live in London, a three-CD set containing Peggy’s complete recordings from 1977, including the original Polydor albums Peggy and Live in London, another complete concert recording, rehearsal outtakes, plus a bonus DVD featuring the 1981 BBC television special Peggy Lee Entertains.

The original 1977 recordings were produced by Ken Barnes, who provided detailed notes and served as producer for this carefully prepared set until his death in August 2015 at age 82. Holly Foster-Wells, granddaughter of Peggy Lee, served as associate producer and offers a tribute to Mr. Barnes following the track listings on this page.

As Ken Barnes’ obituaries in several newspapers noted, during the 1970s he was particularly effective in persuading some beloved American performers to visit London, return to the recording studio, re-record some of their earlier successes and try some new material as well. These veterans included Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby (Peggy’s partner on radio, records, film and television), and Johnny Mercer (Peggy’s songwriting mentor and a co-founder of Capitol Records, her longtime label).

Pete Moore, Peggy Lee, Ken Barnes
Left to right: conductor Pete Moore, Peggy Lee, and producer Ken Barnes in 1977.

For her 1977 studio and concert collaborations with Barnes, Peggy, who was then 56, revisited chart hits and signature songs such as Why Don’t You Do Right?, Lover, I Don’t Want to Play in Your Yard, Sing a Rainbow, Mr. Wonderful, The Folks Who Live on the Hill, Fever, Here’s to You, and Is That All There Is? She also recorded a generous variety of songs by contemporary songwriters, including Peter Allen, Marvin Hamlisch, Neil Sedaka, and Paul Simon, and covered recent hits like I’m Not in Love and Touch Me in the Morning. She included a few of her own co-compositions: Courage Madame, Dreams of Summer, and Here’s to You. Finally, she recorded some classic American songbook material she hadn’t previously interpreted, from Cole Porter’s Love for Sale, to Erroll Garner and Johnny Burke’s Misty, to a long concert medley of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart ballads. In his 1977 review for Melody Maker of the latter performance, Ray Coleman wrote: “To see Peggy Lee, picked out in a single spotlight on the Palladium stage, whispering Very Glad to Be Unhappy or It Never Entered My Mind, was to be transported to a hopelessly romantic plateau, far from the aggressive or groovy Seventies, but totally valid and acceptable on its own terms. She exuded quality.”

The bonus DVD, a BBC special from 1981, includes several songs not recorded in 1977: Witchcraft, The Best Is Yet to Come, But Beautiful, Love Me or Leave Me, I’m a Woman, Everything Must Change, My Father, Don’t Cry Out Loud, Peggy’s own song I Love Being Here With You, and Mary Rodgers’ and Stephen Sondheim’s parody of The Girl From Ipanema, titled The Boy From….

The 48-page booklet includes over 20 photos of Peggy taken throughout her UK performing career, which began in 1961 with an engagement at the Pigalle nightclub and ended in 1990 with two concerts at Royal Albert Hall. In his notes, Barnes details his 1977 collaborations with Peggy and provides an overview of her full career, quotes about Peggy from famous admirers, and a chronology of her concert and television appearances in the UK.

CD One: Peggy

1. The Hungry Years
2. Here, Now
3. I Go to Rio
4. I’m Not in Love
5. Star Sounds
6. What I Did for Love
7. Misty
8. Every Little Movement
9. Courage, Madame
10. Switchin’ Channels
11. Just for Tonight
12. Lover

CD Two: Live in London

1. Love for Sale
2. Everything Must Change
3. You Gotta Know How
4. The Folks Who Live on the Hill
5. I Don’t Want to Play in Your Yard
6. Have a Good Time
7. Touch Me in the Morning
8. Make Believe
9. Fever
10. Why Don’t You Do Right?
11. Is That All There Is?
12. Sing a Rainbow
13. Mr. Wonderful
14. Mack the Knife
15. Dreams of Summer
16. Here’s to You

CD Three: Afterglow

1. Here, Now
2. Misty
3. Fun in Rehearsal (Peggy Remembers Billie Holiday: Easy Living / They Can’t Take That Away from Me)
The Complete Second Concert
4. Love for Sale
5. Misty
6. Why Don’t You Do Right?
7. I’m Not in Love
8. Have a Good Time
9. Mr. Wonderful
10. Sing a Rainbow
11. You Gotta Know How
12. Everything Must Change
13. Make Believe
14. Fever
15. I Don’t Want to Play in Your Yard
16. Is That All There Is?
17. Rodgers and Hart Medley (Who Are You? / Where or When / Glad to Be Unhappy / Falling in Love with Love / Bewitched)
18. Speech
19. Mack the Knife
20. The Folks Who Live on the Hill
21. Lover
22. Here’s to You

Bonus DVD: Peggy Lee Entertains (1981)

1. I Love Being Here with You
2. Everything Must Change
3. Love Me or Leave Me
4. Mr. Wonderful
5. Witchcraft
6. My Father
7. Why Don’t You Do Right?
8. Fever
9. I’m a Woman
10. But Beautiful
11. The Best Is Yet to Come
12. Don’t Cry Out Loud
13. The Boy From…
14. The Folks Who Live on the Hill
15. Here’s to You

Remembering Ken Barnes

by Holly Foster-Wells
Associate Producer, Peggy Lee Live in London

It’s no understatement to say that without Ken Barnes, there would be no Peggy Lee Live in London. It was Ken who initially proposed to my grandmother the idea of making an album in London. (Soon after she agreed to do one album, Ken had her agreeing to make two of them.) From 1977 up until 2015, Ken has been involved in most every aspect of the Peggy Lee London material, from the original albums to the most recent boxed set compilation.

Anne and Ken Barnes, July 2015
Anne and Ken Barnes, July 2015

During the process of producing the boxed set, Ken’s health was beginning to decline, but he didn’t let that stop him from pushing the project through. He supervised the remastering of the tracks, wrote extensive liner notes and worked to clear DVD material. In spite of how unwell he felt at times, he continued to be productive in the most inspiring ways. Ken had always had a very sunny disposition, and even when life wasn’t easy on him, his optimism never faltered. He was filled with gratitude to have his loving wife, Anne, by his side, and he felt blessed to be able to do work that fulfilled him. He was very passionate about the projects he cared about, and to be able to work with such an accomplished professional was an honor for me.

Though I knew that Ken had suffered a health setback in July of 2015, I had faith that he would bounce back, as he had so many times before. The last email he sent to me was expressing his approval over the proposed boxed set cover. The day after that, he was gone, and I was beyond stunned and saddened. The boxed set got set aside as we all dealt with the tremendous loss. There came a time, however, where we had to push ahead the way Ken would want us to. I looked at the liner notes, the track lists, the production notes, the CDs containing the remastered tracks and the mock-up of the CD cover, and I was once again filled with admiration for Ken’s tremendous talent and tenacity. Somehow he had managed to leave behind everything we needed to finish the job.

With the work I do helping to preserve my grandmother’s legacy, there is something bittersweet about the completion of each project. I am always filled with pride at my grandmother’s accomplishments, and I am grateful to be a small part of anything that she helped create. But each time a project is complete, there is a moment of heartbreak that my grandmother isn’t here to see how her work continues to be enjoyed and appreciated. That feeling is doubled on this project, with the loss of Ken. When I am finally holding the boxed set in my hands, I will be saying thanks to my grandmother and to Ken, hoping that wherever they are, they are proud of what they were able to create together. What a blessing that with this compilation, they are only a song away.

– November 2015