Saturday, January 29, 2011

Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee: Why Don't You Do Right?



Lyrics: Kansas Joe McCoy (1936)
Artist: Peggy Lee
Song: Why Don't You Do Right?
Recorded: July 27, 1942

This version of the song made Peggy Lee famous, and launched her singing career. It sold over 1 million copies and brought her to nationwide attention.  Here are some musical notes from Wikipedia:
Peggy Lee often stated that Green's recording was extremely influential to her music. In a 1984 interview she said:
"I was and am a fan of Lil Green, a great old blues singer, and Lil recorded it. I used to play that record over and over in my dressing room, which was next door to Benny's (Goodman). Finally he said, 'You obviously like that song.' I said 'Oh, I love it.' He said 'Would you like me to have an arrangement made of it?' I said, 'I'd love that,' and he did."
Why Don't You Do Right, which was not the biggest hit Goodman and Lee put out (it only reached  no. 4 on the Billboards), defined Lee's sultry and rich vocal style early on in her career. Lee left Goodman in 1943, having married guitarist Dave Barbour.

Her intention was to retire from the music industry and focus on homemaking, but she continued receiving offers to return to the music world, largely due in part to the success of "Why Don't You Do Right?"

Ultimately she returned to singing, and collaborated off and on with Goodman throughout her career. They recorded an alternate version of "Why Don't You Do Right?" in 1947.

Why Don't You Do Right?
By Kansas Joe McCoy

You had plenty money, 1922
You let other women make a fool of you
Why don't you do right, like some other men do?
Get out of here and get me some money too

You're sittin' there and wonderin' what it's all about
You ain't got no money, they will put you out
Why don't you do right, like some other men do?
Get out of here and get me some money too

If you had prepared twenty years ago
You wouldn't be a-wanderin' from door to door
Why don't you do right, like some other men do?
Get out of here and get me some money too

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