Peggy Lee: Fever! https://youtu.be/EYxoAJ3Boyc via @YouTube
Fever Lyrics – Peggy Lee https://youtu.be/SB5GFlJrZps via @YouTube
In 1989 she was still angry over missing out on royalties for her 1958 hit Fever. “I wrote special lyrics for Fever and I wasn’t copyrighted. I advise all young songwriters, copyright your song,” she said.
As a lyricist, Lee gained global fame for her contributions to Disney’s 1955 film Lady and the Tramp, with songs such as It’s a Good Day, I Love Being Here with You and I’m Gonna Go Fishin’, the latter co-composed with Duke Ellington. She was asked by Walt Disney to voice several characters, including Darling, the Siamese cats Si and Am and a stray Pekingese called Peg. Lee also co-wrote the hit song He’s a Tramp with Sonny Burke. In April 2020, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers initiated the Peggy Lee Songwriter Award in her honour.
Disney paid Lee $3,500 for her work but she decided to take legal action when no money was forthcoming when the film became a bestselling video release three decades later. In 1991, she sued the corporation for unpaid royalties, citing a clause in her original contract about transcription royalties for radio productions. The LA Times, reporting on her David and Goliath battle, said Lee sat quietly near the jury box in a wheelchair, a consequence of a fall in which she had broken her pelvis. “I’ve almost got a law degree out of reading all the legal papers,” she joked. Lee won the case and was awarded $2.3million.