Music buyers still have the fever for Peggy Lee.
Perhaps best known for her smooth, sultry 1958 cover of the rhythm-and-blues hit "Fever," the late pop-jazz singer, songwriter and actress has returned to the "Billboard" Top 200 album chart hit for the first time since 1970.
A Starbucks compilation of Lee hits and lesser-known tracks, "Come Rain or Come Shine," sold some 10,000 units the first week after its release April 20, and landed at No. 51 pop, and at No. 2 on the jazz-album chart.
"She is also on the charts over in the U.K. right now," added Lee's granddaughter, Holly Foster-Wells, who is vice president of Peggy Lee Associates, which supervises her grandmother's estate. "A Serbian DJ named Gramophonedzie just did a remix of (Lee's star-making 1943 smash) 'Why Don't You Do Right?' and it is on the charts in the U.K., in Belgium and the Netherlands."
Lee also provided the inspiration for a recent tribute album, Canadian jazz piano-vocalist Carol Welsman's "I Like Men: Reflections of Miss Peggy Lee," which USA Today critic Elysa Gardner picked as one the five best albums of 2009.
Noted Welsman, "The reason why (Lee's) music lives on is because she had this timeless thing about her that came through her music and also her look. She was hip then and she is still hip now."
Foster-Wells said new collections of Lee-catalog rarities are under construction, and that she's hoping a big-screen Lee biopic will soon come to fruition.
"I just think she was sexy," said Foster-Wells. "She understood a lyric. When she sang a song, you really believed what she was singing," said Foster-Wells said. "That resonates with people today as well as it did 40 years ago."
Lee, who died in 2002 at age 81, would have turned 90 on May 26.