Treating Peggy Lee Like Family

The accumulated work of late, great artists has a way of falling into the hands of those who are more concerned with exploiting a legacy than advancing it. Peggy Lee made sure that didn’t happen to the music she made over the course of six decades.

The acclaimed singer/songwriter/actress singled out someone she trusted inherently to watch all those great songs and recordings – her granddaughter.

Holly Foster-Wells spent long stretches with her grandmother from the time she was a child. Summers, spring breaks and Christmas vacations were spent in the company of an artist who was keenly attuned to how her music and image would be presented when she was gone.

“She always told me, ‘You’re going to take over my business some day.’ She told me from an early age how she wanted things done. At the time I thought: Whatever,” Foster-Wells recalls with a laugh.

When Starbucks began work on a Peggy Lee Opus Collection – the 15-track Come Rain or Come Shine compilation in stores today – we connected with Ms. Foster-Wells.

It turned out to be a rewarding alliance for both parties. She’s very pleased with the package and song sequence. (Yes, hits like “Fever” and “Big Spender” are included, but she was delighted to find the obscure but superb “I’m Lookin’ Out the Window” and “Once Around the Moon” made the cut, too.) And we teamed with someone who provided thoughtful, informed feedback on a variety of fronts.

As the writer of the liner notes, I especially appreciated her correcting my reference to Miss Lee’s eye color: hazel, not blue.

“Some photo retouchers would occasionally color them blue,” she helpfully noted after reading over the text. Just the sort of detail a devoted granddaughter would never miss.

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