by Mike Pyatt
Few may recall the1969 hit song by Peggy Lee, titled, “Is That All There Is?” It charted number 11 on U.S. Singles Pop Chart, earning her a Grammy Award. It recounts the story of one who is disillusioned with the events of life that seemed to be unique. She recounts events of watching her house catch fire, seeing a circus, falling in love for the first time. All ended with “Is that all there is?” After a recital of events she suggested, “Let’s break out the booze and have a ball-if that’s all there is.” She explained that “breathing her last breath,” she may find death disappointing as well. The song was written by the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, responsible for most of the rock n roll standards of the 60’s. Leiber’s wife, Gabby Rosenberg, was born in Germany, and lived in the Netherlands, and escaped in advance of Nazi occupation. She introduced her song writer husband to the writings of Thomas Mann. It was a lyrical version of despair.