Peggy Lee’s “Fever”

by janetkarrowp

Peggy Lee’s “Fever” & Janet Karro’s “Tender Giant”

Peggy Lee’s “Fever”

If you love classic songs, you will instantly recognize the first strains of Peggy Lee’s version of “Fever”.

Never know how much I love you

Never know how much I care

When you put your arms around me

I get a fever that’s so hard to bear…

Written by Otis Blackwell and Eddie Cooley, the song was originally recorded by Little Willie John. However, it was Peggy Lee’s version of the song which made it hit the musical charts. Peggy Lee was a jazz and pop music artist who also writes songs and acts. Her career has spun six decades and “Fever” has become one of her signature songs.

Over the years, artists from all musical genres recorded their own versions of the song. From Ella Fitzgerald to Elvis Presley, Ray Charles to Nancy Sinatra – and recently, Madonna, Beyonce and Michael Buble – all these artists have given their own interpretation of the song.

As a jazz and pop artist, Peggy Lee’s version of the song has a sultry lilt to it. When today’s generation of music lovers hear her interpretation of that song today, they would immediately tag it as a true-blue classic. It’s interesting to note that in 1958, Peggy Lee included lyrics without copyright to the song, specifically the second and third verses. She thought that the Little Willie John version were too risqué, so she added her own twist to it even without credit.

This is definitely a good thing because her version of the song hit the Billboard Hot 100 charts, it became Peggy Lee’s signature song and was even nominated for a Grammy “Record of the Year” award. A couple of years later, Elvis Presley recorded his own version of the song which was included in his “Elvis is Back” album.

Janet Karro’s “Tender Giant”  


As a spoken word performer, Janet Karro recorded a track entitled “Tender Giant”. This is included in her first album ‘Lady Ocean’ which is meant to convey the message of unconditional love and kindness in human relationships. Let’s read through the first few lines of the poem:

Would you fight the devil in the grave of nothingness?

Would you build cathedrals in the middle of emptiness?

Would you break apart the mountains in the midst of wilderness?

Would you dive the volcanoes in the throat of flawlessness?

Everything seems possible to thee and yet…

The background music as she reads the poem is mysterious yet oddly relaxing. Much like Peggy Lee’s version of the song “Fever”, the track “Tender Giant” evokes a certain emotion. As a listener, you can hear the frustration of the poet who says that everything seems to be possible but there are obstacles along the way. For the second part of the poem, lines like ‘Your moist lips reach out to her perfection” is the perfect complement to the feeling brought about by lines from the song “Fever”.

In the end, both Fever and Tender Giant evoke emotions of love, unbridled passion and feelings which are hard but wonderful to bear.