In this video arranger Billy Strange talks about the recording session and the history behind the Nancy Sinatra hit “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”.
Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” was number 1 50 years ago. “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” hit number 1 on Billboard’s and Cash Box’s national singles charts on February 26, 1966. Besides Nancy’s great singing it was Billy Strange’s skills as an arranger and co-producer that made this song immortal.
In 2010 I talked to Billy Strange (1930-2012) for at his home in Franklin, TN, about ”Boots“ and he told me how he came up with the famous sliding bass intro played by Chuck Berghofer and why songwriter and producer Lee Hazlewwod didn’t want Nancy to record ”Boots“. You can watch the interview in the video above.
Billboard’s December 25, 1965 “Spotlight Singles” review of “Boots” recognized the hit potential of the song:
Having hit the Hot 100 chart with her ‘So Long Babe,’ Miss Sinatra has top of the chart potential with this fine folk-rock material from the pen of Lee Hazlewood. Her vocal performance and the Billy Strange driving dance beat should move this one rapidly up the chart.
More information about “Boots” on Nancy Sinatra’s website.
Billy Strange had a extraordinaire career as a guitarist, singer, recording artist, arranger, conductor, songwriter, composer and producer. He worked with Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. He also worked as a studio guitarist in Los Angeles in the nineteen fifties and sixties. Here you can find his huge but incomplete discography.
Nancy Sinatra in the studio with Billy Strange.
Part 2 of my mini-video-documentary is now online: Billy Strange – Hit Maker.
Nancy Sinatra, Billy Strange (middle) and Lee Hazlewood in 2003.
Today Billy Strange celebrates his 80th birthday in Nashville, TN. Here’s a video interview with Billy Strange I did. He talks about working with The Beach Boys, Nat King Cole, Phil Spector and Nancy Sinatra.
Billy Strange helped the Beach Boys, Elvis, Frank and Nancy Sinatra and many others to make hits.
He was a number one studio guitarist in the music studios of Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s. You can hear his guitar on songs like “Surfin’ U.S.A.”, “Sloop John B.” and countless other Beach Boys and surf songs. He’s also famous for playing the haunting guitar on “Bang Bang”, the song that was used by Quentin Tarantino in “Kill Bill”. His arranging skills made songs like “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”, “Some Velvet Morning” and “Something Stupid” immortal.
On the Bob Wills Webpage you can buy a previously unreleased interview with Western Swing legend Bob Wills, recorded in Fresno, California, circa 1949. According to http://www.bobwills.com the 36 minute file (available as download or on CD) is the earliest known conversational recording of Bob Wills.
Listen to a sample: Outtake Bob Wills Interview
Still today, many Monkee fans are disappointed about the fact, that the Monkees didn’t record their music. The Monkees records were made by a group of very versatile studio musicians.
The documentary The Wrecking Crew pays tribute to these great musicians in the background who were responsible for so many classic recordings of the nineteen-sixties.
Director Denny Tedesco, son of the late guitar legend Tommy Tedesco, interviewed Micky Dolenz of The Monkees for the documentary. And Dolenz says it straight forward:
“The Monkees was not a group”.
-> Watch the Micky Dolenz Interview