Listening to: I’m a Woman – Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee - "I'm a Woman"
I was well into my thirties before I realized that the music and lyrics for I’m a Woman were originally written as a mainstream pop song by famed songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Love Potion #9) and not written expressly for a certain perfume commercial jingle that became a mini-sensation in the late seventies and early eighties (which is included after the jump below).

I didn’t figure it out until I randomly snagged up a Peggy Lee Greatest Hits compilation simply because I knew her as the voice of the Siamese cat duo in the film Lady and the Tramp, and remembered a famous mini-documentary shown on The Wonderful World of Disney where Miss Lee demonstrates how she recorded the voices of both “Si” and “Am.” It’s genius, you see!

“All you need is a home tape recorder, and another one you can borrow from a neighbor.”

Of course… because who would ever need TWO home tape recorders? (Peggy also explains in person after the jump below)

Peggy had a slew of hits in her career: Fever, Is That All There Is? and Black Coffee, among others. Later generations may remember her as the woman who sued the pants of Disney for royalties due on videotape rights, which of course didn’t exist when she contributed her talents to Tramp.  Incidentally, she won.

I personally consider hers to be one of the most memorable voices of the Decca and platinum Capitol Records era. It may not be the strongest, but she always had the perfect material, and more importantly, she always delivered more than just the lyrics. With every line, she’s sending you the definite message that she’s in on some salacious secret you clearly know NOTHING about…. you fools!

Click on the Mp3 link below to hear the voice in action.  Video clips follow.

Here’s the video for that certain perfume… known as Enjoli. TV viewers of a certain age are sure to recall it. And what a nod to women’s lib. This chick’s doing it all… on her own terms. And how about that little feisty bit at the end, where she sprays it right at the camera! Oh, snap!

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3 thoughts on “Listening to: I’m a Woman – Peggy Lee

  • January 26, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Just look at those home tape recorders! Why, they’re so tiny….barely half the size of a large piece of Samsonite luggage! Oh, technology, where will you take us next??

  • February 8, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” is one of my favorite songs.

    About two years ago, I purchased Peggy Lee … The Singles Collection. It has four discs with 110 of her songs. The set also includes wonderful photographs and history of her earliest days and throughout her long career. She was a real talent who had such charisma and beauty. Check it out.

    Great post. 😀

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