Working With Nancy Sinatra, Lee Hazlewood and Elvis Presley: Part II Of Billy Strange Video-Documentary

Nancy Sinatra and Billy Strange in the recording studio

Nancy Sinatra in the studio with Billy Strange.

Part 2 of my mini-video-documentary is now online: Billy Strange – Hit Maker.

Ça plane pour moi – ein schwuler Blowjob-Song und seine Cover-Versionen

Cover Punk Band Elton Motello. Jet Boy Jet Girl.Ok, Plastic Bertrand (alias Roger Jouret) sang 1977 nicht auf dem Hit «Ça plane pour moi». Eine gerichtliche Untersuchung schreibt die Stimme dem Musiker und Produzenten Lou Deprijck zu. Und weder Plastic Bertrand noch Deprijck schrieben den Song.

LP Cover. Lou Deprijck. Lou and the Hollywood Bananas - Kingston, Kingston.Das Original heisst «Jet Boy Jet Girl», eine Ode an schwule Oralfreuden. Nicht gerade ein Text, der Massenmedien-Präsenz garantiert.

Hinter «Jet Boy Jet Girl» steckt die Punk-Band Elton Motello, ein Projekt des britischen Musikers und Toningenieurs Alan Ward (auch bekannt als Alan Timms und Alan Warst), der 1977 in Belgien arbeitete. Den harmlosen französischen Text schrieb Yvan Lacomblez. Ansonsten sind die beiden Songs identisch: Sie  verwenden das gleiche Playback (ob von Studiomusikern eingespielt oder von Elton Motello, ist unklar).

Plastic Bertrand1978 folgte eine eingeschlagerte deutsche Version eines gewissen Benny («Bin wieder frei»).

Eine Rarität stammt aus der Schweiz. 1996 nahm die Winterthurer Band «Pommes Fred» eine schön mitreissende Version auf. Pommes Fred Sänger und Gitarrist Freddy Scherer spielt heute in der Rock Band «Gotthard».

Lou Deprijck lebt übrigens unterdessen in Thailand und veröffentlichte 2006 das thailändische Cover Mai pen Laï – leider auf YouTube zur Zeit nicht zu finden.

Wem es langweilig ist, der kann verregnete Sonntagnachmittage auf YouTube verbringen mit der Suche nach weiteren Cover-Versionen. Stichwörter: Leila K., Sonic Youth, Kim Wilde, The Damned…

Bis zum nächsten Gerichtsverfahren und während weitere Versionen die Musikwelt erfreuen, schliesst Filles Sourires weitere allfällige Wissenslücken in Bezug auf «Ça plane pour moi» und präsentiert eine Sammlung der originellsten Cover-Versionen.

Originalversion von Elton Motello.


Plastic Bertrand mit der Stimme von Lou Deprijck. Die Musik ist genau gleich wie bei Elton Motello.


Die eingeschlagerte Version.

Guitarist Billy Strange Talks About Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’

Nancy Sinatra, Billy Strange

Nancy Sinatra and Billy Strange

Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” is a masterpiece of minimalism. Just a voice telling a dark love story and a haunting guitar.

The man who played the haunting guitar is Billy Strange, a veteran studio guitar player, singer, arranger, composer and producer. He was so kind to talk with me about the birth of this enthralling song.

Lost & Sound: Did you arrange the song?
Billy Strange:
There was no arrangement. I just played what I thought was appropriate and Nancy liked the way it was sounding, so we recorded it.

L&S: Why did you decide to record it with just one guitar?
BS: It was just as if the song called for it. More than one instrument would have been too many.

L&S: What kind of sound effect did you use on the guitar?
BS: I used a tremolo effect. There is a small box that creates it, made by Vox, I believe.

L&S: Do you remember which amp and guitar you used?
The amp was my old Fender Twin and the guitar was the Gibson 335 that Nancy gave me

L&S: Where did you record it?
BS: It was recorded at either United Recorders or Western Recorders in Hollywood. The engineer was Eddie Brackett.

L&S: Did you and Nancy record live together or did you lay down the guitar first?
BS: We recorded it live with no overdubbing at all.

‘Bang Bang’ took a long time to make some noise
Nancy Sinatra’s version of the Sonny Bono written “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” was a sleeper. When it came out in 1966 on the LP “How Does That Grab You?” it didn’t make a big impact. Cher’s original version was a big hit, though. This changed dramatically over the years. Nancy Sinatra’s take on the song is better known today. The song had a late breakthrough in 2005 when it was used for the soundtrack of the Quentin Tarantino movie “Kill Bill”.

L&S: Do you have any special memories regarding the recording session?
BS: I recall that Nancy and I were both very pleased with the way it turned out. I think it was done in one take.

L&S: How do you feel about the fact, that the song became popular again thanks to the “Kill Bill” soundtrack?
BS: It was very gratifying that it was felt to be “the” song for the movie main title.

L&S: How would you interpret the lyrics?
BS: It is simply a very sad love song about lost love, as I see it.

(This interview is based on an email conversation.)

Billy Strange, Jeanne Black

Billy Strange with his wife, singer Jeanne Black



Who Played On ‘La Bamba’? Part 2

A few days ago I wrote about the Ritchie Valens milestone La Bamba and the musicians who recorded it. If you want to delve deeper into the history of this song, you can listen to a part of the NPR program All Things Considered from July 15, 2000. It features an interview with producer Bob Keane. You need the RealPlayer to listen to it.

Who Played On ‘La Bamba’?

Ritchie Valens

In 1958 Ritchie Valens recorded a rock and roll version of the traditional song “La Bamba” at Hollywood’s Gold Star studios:

Buddy Clark: string bass
Ernie Freeman: piano
Carol Kaye: rhythm guitar
Rene Hall: Danelectro guitar (six-string bass guitar)
Earl Palmer: drums
Ritchie Valens: vocals, guitar

Producer and owner of the “Del-Fi” label Bob Keane (a former clarinet player and big band leader) used some of the finest musicians to back up newcomer Ritchie Valens. They all had a jazz background. René Hall, Earl Palmer and Ernie Freeman worked for the Ernie Fields Orchestra at one time or the other.

Earl Palmer brought the “swamp beat” from New Orleans to Los Angeles. He started his career in New Orleans playing jazz and doing sessions for Fats Domino and Little Richard. In Los Angeles he became one of the best and most recorded studio drummers of the nineteen-sixties.

Jazz guitarist Carol Kaye switched to electric bass in the early sixties and would become a defining innovator of this instrument. With her bass lines she wrote music history. You can hear her playing on hundreds of pop songs, movie- and TV-soundtracks.

Ernie Freeman not only played piano, but was also an arranger and worked with Frank Sinatra, Petula Clark, Dean Martin and Connie Francis.

René Hall worked as studio guitarist on many R&B and pop records and wrote arrangements for Sam Cooke.

All these musicians were essential in creating the great US hits of the nineteen-fifties and -sixties. They used their jazz background to create legendary pop, soul and R&B music.

I’m not sure if bassist Buddy Clark is the same Buddy Clark who worked with Bud Freeman, Tex Beneke and Les Brown and later became a member of the Supersax band. NOTE: (April, 25th, 2008): It’s the same Buddy Clark. See following post: Who Played On ‘La Bamba’ Part 3

Learn about the historic background of “La Bamba”. And also read Who Played On “La Bamba”? Part 2.


– Bob Keane, “The Oracle Of Del-Fi”, Los Angeles: Del-Fi International Books, 2005
– E. Olsen, P. Verna, C. Wollf, ”The Encyclopedia Of Record Producers”, New York: Billboard Books, 1999
– Tony Scherman, “Backbeat – Earl Palmer’s Story”, Da Capo Press, 2000

Note: Studio musicians usually didn’t get credits until the late nineteen-sixties/early nineteenseventies. That’s why it’s sometimes hard to find out who played on records. I try to include as many sources as possible, but I don’t guarantee that my information is correct.