Peggy Lee

Ce 3e épisode  va nous donner la fièvre d’un simple claquement de doigt.

You can find a summary in English below.

Episode 3 (Saison 2) : Fever

La version de Peggy Lee est ici
La version de Little WillieJohn est là

Pour écouter la version des Cramps c’est ici

Pour la version de Madonna c’est par là

Last but not least, celle de Rita Moreno pour le Muppet Show, c’est ici. (ou ci-dessous)

For my Friends who don’t speak French a summary in English. I hope it can help to follow what I say

This 3rd episode  will give us   fever simply  with a snap of the finger.

As apiece that everyone recognizes from the first notes, « Fever » remains the emblematic title of Peggy Lee. Perhaps a little unknown in France these days, in 1958 Peggy Lee was a star. If you forgot « Apples Peaches and Cherries »,   listen again to the 8th episode of the first season of Ils Ont Repris Ma Chanson.

A star therefore, and an excellent jazz musician, she is the one who has the bright idea of playing the stripping in the orchestration, keeping only a few notes of double bass, the drums and her own snaps of her fingers. These three times nothing reinforce by contrast the atmosphere of heat, tension and fatality. She fully plays the card of the vamp of Hollywood cinema of the 1950s. She also adds two verses evoking two legendary couples Pocahontas and Captain Smith and Romeo and Juliet. The tragic fate of these lovers wonderfully illustrates the tension and strength of this fever that defies all obstacles. Although Peggy Lee is unanimously recognized as the author of these brilliant contributions, she never appears in the credits which remain those of the original version.

The author of the original lyrics would be a certain Joe Tex who would have sold them for $ 300 by recommending to cover the tune of « Sixteen Tons » by Merle Travis… Eventually the music will be signed by Otis Blackwell to whom we also owe (it could be worse !) « Don’t be cruel » and « great balls of fire » among others. About Joe Tex, after having won 4 times the final of the Amateur Night of the famous Appollo Theater of Harlem, in a style close to James Brown of whom he opened, he will end up hitting the jackpot in 1965 with the song ‘Hold on to what you don’t’.

The first artist to record « Fever » was Little Willie John in 1956. A promising 19-year-old singer, « Fever » was his 3rd single. It’s a success (1 million copies sold in the USA!) and it will remain his flagship song even after Peggy Lee’s version supplants his.

Unfortunately, his angry temper and his tendency to abuse alcohol will harm his career, which quickly withered in the mid-60s. Note that James Brown opened for Little Willie and will pay homage to him in a tribute album. Little Willie was introduced to the rock’n’roll hall of fame in 1996 by Stevie Wonder, one of whose backing singers is little Willie’s own son.
Among the many covers of Fever let us point out those of the Cramps or Madonna. Last but not least, if you’ve never seen Rita Moreno’s (Anita from West Side Story) on the Muppet Show in 1976, go check it out!

Before slipping Peggy Lee in your ears, see you soon for a new episode of Ils Ont Repris Ma Chanson.