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Lee Wiley

Her husky, surprisingly sensual voice and exquisitely cool readings of pop standards distinguished her singing, but Lee Wiley earns notice as one of the best early jazz singers by recognizing the superiority of American popular song and organizing a set of songs around a common composer or theme -- later popularized as the songbook or concept LP. She was also a songwriter in her own right, and one of the few white vocalists with more respect in the jazz community than the popular one. Even more tragic then, that while dozens of inferior vocalists recorded LPs during the late '50s and '60s, Wiley appeared on record just once between 1957 and her death in 1975.

Wiley was born in 1910 in Ft. Gibson, OK; early press reports claimed lineage from a Cherokee princess, as well as a birthdate five years later than the true one. Whatever her background, she began singing at an early age, influenced by the "race records" of the day by Mildred Bailey and Ethel Waters. She left Oklahoma for New York City as a teenager, and made a few demos in the late '20s before hiring on with Leo Reisman. Her first hit, "Time on My Hands," came in 1931 with Reisman, and earned her solo billing on a few radio programs. Wiley also began recording her own sides for Kapp, backed by the Casa Loma Orchestra, the Dorsey Brothers, and Johnny Green.

Her popular fortunes fell however, after the threat of tuberculosis kept her from singing for more than a year. In the late '30s, Wiley began recording sides for the Liberty music shop. The results were a series of unique sessions, each organized around the work of one composer (first the Gershwins, then Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, and Harold Arlen) and released on the standard catalog album -- four 10" records played at 78 rpm -- for a grand total of eight songs by each composer. These "songbook" recordings also utilized the cream of the era's hot jazz musicians, including Eddie Condon, Bunny Berigan, Pee Wee Russell, Joe Bushkin, Fats Waller, and Jess Stacy; the latter became her husband for several years during the '40s. Wiley also performed often with Stacy's big band and with smaller groups led by Condon during the '40s. She signed to Columbia in 1950 and recorded several additional albums, including the excellent Night in Manhattan.

After recording a single album for Storyville, Wiley had moved again by the mid-'50s, to RCA Victor. Her two albums for the label, 1956's West of the Moon and the following year's A Touch of the Blues, were touching capstones to her career, the first with the delicate arranging of Ralph Burns proving the perfect accompaniment to her voice. Unfortunately, they were practically the last recordings of her career. After 14 years off-record, Wiley returned with one final session, 1971's Back Home Again. She died four years later. ~ John Bush
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Wiley: Lee Wiley Songbooks & Quiet Sensuality 1933-1951

1. You've Got Me Crying Again

2. I've Got You Under My Skin

3. My One And Only

4. Someone To Watch Over Me

5. How Long Has This Been Going On

6. I've Got Five Dollars

7. You Took Advantage Of Me

8. Glad To Be Unhappy

9. Let's Do It

10. Easy To Love

11. Sugar

12. Down With Love

13. Let's Fall In Love

14. Woman Alone With The Blues

15. A Woman's Intuition

16. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere

17. Street Of Dreams

18. Manhattan

19. I've Got A Crush On You

20. Tea For Two

21. More Than You Know

x

Track List: 'S Wonderful

Disc 1

1. If I Love Again

2. You Turned The Tables On Me

3. Sweet And Low Down

4. Sam And Delilah

5. My One And Only

6. 'S Wonderful

7. I've Got A Crush On You

8. Someone To Watch Over Me

9. How Long Has This Been Going On

10. But Not For Me

11. Baby's Awake Now

12. A Little Birdie Told Me So

13. I've Got Five Dollars

14. You Took Advantage Of Me

15. A Ship Without A Sail

16. As Though You Were There

17. Glad To Be Unhappy

18. Here In My Arms

19. Let's Fly Away

20. Let's Do It

21. Hot House Rose

22. Find Me A Primitive Man

23. Easy To Love

24. You Do Something To Me

Disc 2

1. Looking At You

2. Why Shouldn't I?

3. Down To Steamboat Tennessee

4. Sugar

5. Down With Love

6. Stormy Weather

7. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

8. I've Got The World On A String

9. Fun To Be Fooled

10. You Said It

11. Let's Fall In Love

12. Moanin' In The Mornin'

13. A Woman's Intuition

14. Sugar

15. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere

16. A Ghost Of A Chance

17. Oh! Look At Me Now

18. Street Of Dreams

19. Manhattan

20. I've Got A Crush On You

21. Soft Lights And Sweet Music

22. How Deep Is The Ocean

23. More Than You Know

24. Time On My Hands

x

Track List: Follow Your Heart

Disc 1

1. Soft Lights And Sweet Music

2. Manhattan

3. Got The South In My Soul

4. Hot-House Rose

5. Down With Love

6. I've Got Five Dollars

7. Let's Fly Away

8. Street Of Dreams

9. Time On My Hands

10. It's Only A Paper Moon

11. Some Sunny Day

12. Oh Look At Me Now

13. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues

14. You Do Something To Me

15. Moanin' In The Morning

16. Stormy Weather

17. I've Got A Crush On You

18. A Woman Alone With The Blues

19. What Is Love

20. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

21. Find Me A Primitive Man

22. I'll Follow My Secret Heart

23. A Ship Without A Sail

24. How Long Has This Been Going On

Disc 2

1. Careless Love

2. Down To Steamboat Tennessee

3. Tea For Two

4. Why Oh Why

5. The Man I Love

6. You Took Advantage Of Me

7. Heatwave

8. 's Wonderful

9. My Heart Stood Still

10. All I Remember Is You

11. Easy Come, Easy Go

12. Sugar

13. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere

14. Fools Fall In Love

15. Someone To Watch Over Me

16. My Funny Valentine

17. Easy To Love

18. But Not For Me

19. Sam And Delilah

20. I've Got A Crush On You

21. My Romance

22. Body And Soul

23. Wherever There's Love

24. Let's Call It A Day

x

Track List: Completists' Ultimate Collection Vol. 4

x

Track List: Time On My Hands

1. Rise 'n' Shine

2. Time On My Hands

3. Got The South In My Soul

4. Easy Come, Easy Go

5. Sweet And Low Down

6. How Long Has This Been Going On

7. Someone To Watch Over Me

8. You Took Advantage Of Me

9. A Ship Without A Sail

10. Let's Fly Away

11. Easy To Love

12. Looking At You

13. Down To Steamboat Tennessee

14. Down With Love

15. Stormy Weather

16. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

17. It's Only A Paper Moon

18. Body And Soul

19. A Woman's Intuition

20. Sugar

21. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere

22. Ghost Of A Chance

23. Oh! Look At Me Now

24. Manhattan

x

Track List: Night In Manhattan/Sings Vincent Youmans/Sings Irving Berlin

1. Street Of Dreams

2. A Woman's Intuition

3. Sugar (That Sugar Baby O'Mine)

4. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere

5. Manhattan

6. I've Got A Crush On You

7. Ghost Of A Chance

8. Oh! Look At Me Now

9. Tea For Two

10. Sometimes I'm Happy

11. Time On My Hands

12. Rise 'n' Shine

13. More Than You Know

14. Should I Be Sweet?

15. Keepin' Myself For You

16. Why Oh Why

17. How Deep Is The Ocean

18. Some Sunny Day

19. I Got Lost In His Arms

20. Heat Wave

21. Soft Lights And Sweet Music

22. Fools Fall In Love

23. How Many Times

24. Suppertime

x

Track List: Complete Fifites Studio Masters

Disc 1

1. A Woman's Intuition

2. Sugar

3. Any Time, Any Day, Anywhere

4. A Ghost Of A Chance

5. Oh Look At Me Now

6. Street Of Dreams

7. Manhattan

8. I've Got A Crush On You

9. Soft Lights And Sweet Music

10. Fools Fall In Love

11. Supper Time

12. Some Sunny Day

13. I Got Lost In His Arms

14. Heat Wave

15. How Many Times

16. How Deep Is The Ocean

17. Why Oh Why?

18. Sometimes I'm Happy

19. Keepin' Myself For You

20. Should I Be Sweet

21. Tea For Two

22. Rise N' Shine

23. More Than You Know

24. Time On My Hands

Disc 2

1. Any Time, Any Day, Anywhere

2. A Ghost Of A Chance

3. Street Of Dreams

4. Soft Lights And Sweet Music

5. Some Sunny Day

6. Chicken Today And Feathers Tomorrow

7. 's Wonderful

8. Somebody Loves Me

9. The Man I Love

10. When A Lady Meets A Gentleman Down South

11. Paradise

12. Careless Love

13. The Old Man Of The Mountain

14. My Heart Stood Still

15. Glad To Be Unhappy

16. My Funny Valentine

17. Give It Back To The Indians

18. My Romance

19. You Took Advantage Of Me

20. Mountain Greenery

21. It Never Entered My Mind

22. When I Leave The World Behind

23. Why Shouldn't I?

24. The Lonesome Road

25. Someday, You'll Be Sorry

26. I Left My Heart In San Francisco

27. Indiana

x

Track List: Music Of Manhattan

1. Street Of Dreams

2. Oh! Look At Me Now

3. Hallelujah

4. Manhattan

5. Manhattan

6. Ghost Of A Chance

7. Sugar

8. I've Got A Crush On You

9. Sugar

10. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere

11. Oh! Look At Me Now

12. 'deed I Do

13. That's For Sure

14. 's Wonderful

15. I've Got A Crush On You

16. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere

17. Street Of Dreams

18. Manhattan

19. 'deed I Do

20. I've Got A Crush On You

21. I'm Comin' Virginia

22. Down To Steamboat Tennessee

23. Baby Won't You Please Come Home

x

Track List: Back Home Again

1. Moon River

2. When I Fall In Love

3. You're Lucky To Me

4. A Woman's Intuition

5. I'll Be Home

6. A Love Like This

7. A Sleeping Bee

8. Indiana

9. Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year

10. I'm Coming Virginia

11. If I Love Again

12. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere

13. When I Leave The World Behind (Take 6)

14. Why Shouldn't I (Take 3)

15. The Lonesome Road (Take 3)

16. Some Day You'll Be Sorry (Take 1)

17. I Left My Heart In San Francisco (Take 1)

18. Indiana (Take 3)

19. When I Leave The World Behind (Take 1)

20. When I Leave The World Behind (Take 5)

21. Why Shouldn't I (Take 1 & 2)

22. Why Shouldn't I (Take 3)

23. The Lonesome Road (Take 1)

24. The Lonesome Road (Take 2)

25. The Lonesome Road (Take 4)

26. The Lonesome Road (Take 6

x

Track List: Lee Wiley Sings Porter & Gershwin

1. How Long Has This Been Going On

3. Sweet And Low Down

6. Someone To Watch Over Me

7. Sam And Delilah

8. But Not For Me

9. Looking At You

10. Let's Fly Away

11. Why Shouldn't I

12. Hot House Rose

13. You Do Something To Me

14. Find Me A Primitive Man

15. Easy To Love

Comments

Report as inappropriate
An all time great singer who was way ahead of her time. A white female jazz pioneer. Sadly, under appreciated.
Report as inappropriate
reminds me of Ella Fitzgerald a, but more delicate
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sugars with muggsy & bobby all time greats!
Report as inappropriate
♪♪♪ ♥
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gregyrosa
Her voice hypotizes me. I would have fallen for her in a second. I'm a sucker for a that kind of voice ...
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beachgirls19 6 2 1
I agree with that voice
Report as inappropriate
If I had been born 40 to 50 years earlier than I was, I would happily have been her love slave.
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liliferd
new favorite
Report as inappropriate
Lee Wiley is one of my all time favorite jazz and pop singers. That's saying a lot when you look at the company she keeps. Love her voice.
Report as inappropriate
Having been a jazz afficionado for almost 50 years,I'm surprised I have heard of her. Very good voice and rendering of tune.
Report as inappropriate
New to me, sounds great!
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cool lady!
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looooove her!
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rachel6994
Great singer -- the early jazz singers had something that's missing nowadays...
Report as inappropriate
no thank you would like Nina Sermon

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