ASCAP Foundation Establishes Peggy Lee Award for Independent Songwriters

Peggy Lee
Ray Whitten Photography/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Peggy Lee records in the Capitol Records studios on April 10 1946 in Los Angeles.

The new honor celebrates the beloved artist's 100th birthday.

The ASCAP Foundation has named a new award in honor of legendary singer-songwriter Peggy Lee.

The Peggy Lee Songwriter Award, which was established to mark the icon’s 100th birthday, will annually recognize an ASCAP or unaffiliated songwriter who “demonstrates intelligent use of language, talent and career potential."

The Peggy Lee Songwriter Award was created in collaboration with Lee’s granddaughter, Holly Foster Wells. To qualify, writers must not be signed to a major publishing deal and must provide an original song that has never been commercially recorded. Winners will receive a cash award and mentorship with a music executive.

Over a career that spanned more than seven decades, Lee co-wrote the biggest hit of her career, "Manana (Is Soon Enough For Me)," which was a No. 1 hit in 1948. She also co-wrote "I Don't Know Enough About You," a top 10 hit in 1946. She additionally co-wrote every original song featured in Disney’s 1955 animated classic Lady and the Tramp, including “He’s a Tramp” and “Bella Notte.”

More recently, some of her lesser-known work has been featured in film and TV, including The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Good Place.

A Grammy winner and 13-time Grammy nominee, Lee notably collaborated with a host of other major songwriters, including Harold Arlen, Cy Coleman, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, Sonny Burke, Johnny Mandel, Marian McPartland, Dave Grusin and Victor Young. Her songs have been covered by artists such as Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Diana Krall, Queen Latifah, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Janelle Monáe and Nina Simone.

Lee was the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from NARAS, ASCAP and The Society of Singers and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999. She also earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress for her role as an alcoholic singer in Pete Kelly’s Blues.

More information on the award can be found here.