Nancy Sinatra Biography
In the mid 1960s Nancy Sinatra took the image of a girl crying over her diary for a boy who wouldn’t behave, and changed it to a woman who let her men know in no uncertain terms just how things were going to be. Songs like “So Long Babe” and ”How Does that Grab You, Darlin'?” helped her do it.
“These Boots Are Made for Walkin” kicked open the doors for a whole new category of women in rock. Nancy’s tough girl attitude preceded women’s liberation and created the first rebel chick singer. A female revolution was born.
Armed with a signature style, catchy songs, memorable album covers and sexy, soft but confident pictures in magazines, Nancy hit the charts 22 times, becoming a role model for young, independent women as well as an icon of pop culture – Rock and Roll would never be the same!
After “Boots” went to #1 in 1966, the theme of independence and free thinking that appealed to women and men was perpetuated by “How Does That Grab You”, a #7 charter and “Sugar Town”, a #4 chart record. Nancy’s recording of the title song of the James Bond movie, “You Only Live Twice”, became an anthem for many who still request it when she performs today. Her legendary #1 record with her father, “Somethin' Stupid”, is always on the “best of” lists, as are many of her duets with her mentor/producer Lee Hazlewood. “Jackson”, “Some Velvet Morning”, “Sand”, “Summer Wine” and others were also chart records.
In the book, Rolling Stone: Women in Rock, Karen Schoemer wrote, “Nancy’s combination of pristine innocence and vamp-o-rama sex appeal was a perfect expression for the (‘60s).” “Nancy was the first woman to turn the tables on men by using the same technique perfected by Elvis Presley,” wrote James Vickerson for his book Women on Top.
The core of her original band (some of whom still perform with her) was the world famous “Wrecking Crew”, L.A.’s finest rhythm section, who also worked with the Beach Boys, The Righteous Brothers, Phil Spector and other rock legends. Producers Nancy considers herself fortunate to have worked with are Don Costa, Bones Howe, Snuff Garrett, Charles Calello, Jimmy Bowen, Tutti Camarratta, Lee Hazlewood, L. Russell Brown, Billy Strange and Duane Eddy and now AJ and Matt Azzarto. Nancy’s current band has included former Guns & Roses Guitarist Gilby Clarke and Drummers, Pete Thomas of Elvis Costello’s band and Clem Burke of Blondie.
A staple of television variety shows, Nancy appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Glen Campbell Show, The Bobby Darin Show, Johnny Carson, Laugh-In, The Perry Como Show, The Kraft Music Hall, Hollywood Palace and many others including Hippodrome and Top of the Pops in the UK.
During the Vietnam War, Nancy was a favorite pin-up for the GI’s on battlefields and ships. For them, she represented the ideal girl to come home to. In the liner notes of her “Sugar” album, Lee Hazlewood tried to explain the dichotomy of the Nancy persona which seemed to capture so many hearts. He called her “a girl and a woman who is quiet and noisy, square yet hip.”
Nancy often jokes about her film career, but the fact remains she did seven movies, two of which, “Speedway” with Elvis and “The Wild Angels” with Peter Fonda, made her the top female box-office draw two years in a row.
There were many other milestones along the way: record breaking appearances in Las Vegas, Juke Box Awards, Grammy nominations and an Emmy winning television special, conceived and produced by Nancy, called “Movin' with Nancy”.
Nancy has written two books about her legendary father with the hope of setting the record straight about his life. She is also pursuing the commission of a statue of Frank to be placed in Times Square near the Paramount Theatre (where Frank created a record breaking sensation and incited the birth of the ‘Bobby Soxers’), as a lasting gift to the city of New York. For several years, she has been working toward establishing the National Museum of American Music, an educational facility and repository for the collected libraries of the greatest contributors to the heritage of American music. Work will soon begin on a documentary film about her father.
She continues to be very active in politics and charitable causes, including Songs Of Love, which creates original songs, personalized for children with terminal illnesses, Jerry Lewis’ MDA Telethon and the Thalians, who operate mental health clinics out of Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Over the years requests from fundraisers for donations of pairs of Nancy’s boots have resulted in auctions benefiting many worthy organizations.
In 1995, after raising her two daughters and seeing them happily ensconced in college, Nancy re-started her career with her “One More Time” album and a Playboy pictorial. The latter demonstrated once again that sexuality and feminism are not mutually exclusive. She performed sold-out rock shows in the United States and Scandinavia. Nancy concentrated on reconnecting with a rock music audience by playing such famous venues as the Limelight in New York City, RPM in Toronto, the Fillmore in San Francisco, the Trocadero in Philadelphia and the Whisky, Viper Room and House of Blues in Los Angeles.
It was on tour that Nancy learned first-hand of the influence she had had on many young rockers. Kim Deal of The Breeders and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth were but two of the musicians who came to Nancy’s shows to express their appreciation for her lighting the way. Madonna has been quoted as saying “Nancy Sinatra was a huge influence on me. I wanted to put on my go-go boots and walk all over someone”. In an early interview, she said “…my two oldest fantasies. One was to be Nancy Sinatra; the other was to be a Nun. I used to sing These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ in front of the mirror, in my uniform skirt”. Kelly Osbourne stated she patterned her video for Papa Don’t Preach after “Nancy Sinatra’s kinky Boots video”.
In July of 1999, the United States Postal Service enlisted Nancy to unveil their Peace Symbol stamp. The unveiling was an evening to remember, with these two American icons together on stage at the Whisky A Go-Go on the world famous Sunset Strip, revisiting the “Summer of Love.” At this event, Nancy received official commendations from the Mayor of Los Angeles and the Governor of California for her efforts on behalf of the peace movement and for her consistent support of our military troops and Veterans. She also was presented with the key to the City of West Hollywood.
August 2002 marked Nancy’s first ever concert performance in the UK. The sold-out event was recorded by and broadcast on the BBC. In 2003, her version of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) " was handpicked by Director Quentin Tarantino for his film “Kill Bill Volume I.” Tarantino chose Nancy’s cover of the song as the theme for the movie’s opening credits. According to the director, Nancy’s version of “Bang Bang” is “the music the movie will work to the beat of… That was in my head six years ago when I first came up with ‘Kill Bill’. Nancy’s version is so soulful. She sings it like poetry. It gives you new respect for what a wonderful vocalist she is”.
In production for Nancy is a series of collaborations with recording artists such as Morrissey, Jon Spencer, Reno, Calexico, Sonic Youth, Pete Yorn, Steve Van Zandt and Jarvis Cocker, which will result in an album of contemporary pop standards. The first single, the Morrissey penned “Let Me Kiss You” will be released by ATTACK/Sanctuary Records in September 2004; Nancy’s self-titled CD will be released via Sanctuary Records in September as well. The first live presentation of songs from the new album occurred in a sold out performance by Nancy and her band at the June 2004 Meltdown Festival in London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Having achieved a nearly 40-year legacy in rock and roll, Nancy created the platform for contemporary rebel-chicks such as, Sheryl Crow, Chrissie Hynde, Deborah Harry, Shirley Manson, Avril Lavigne and Gwen Stefani. Nancy is scheduled to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in recognition of her career achievements and her contributions to society.
Nancy Sinatra Bio from Discogs
Other defining recordings include "Sugar Town", the 1967 number one "Somethin' Stupid" (a duet with her father), the title song from the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, several collaborations with Lee Hazlewood such as "Jackson", and her cover of Cher's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)", which features during the opening sequence of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.
Nancy Sinatra began her career as a singer and actress in the early 1960s, but initially achieved success only in Europe and Japan. In early 1966 she had a transatlantic number-one hit with "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", which showed her provocative but good-natured style, and which popularized and made her synonymous with go-go boots. The promo clip featured a big-haired Sinatra and six young women in tight tops, go-go boots and mini-skirts. The song was written by Lee Hazlewood, who wrote and produced most of her hits and sang with her on several duets, including the critical and cult favorite "Some Velvet Morning". In 1966 and 1967, Sinatra charted with 13 titles, all of which featured Billy Strange as arranger and conductor.
Sinatra also had a brief acting career in the mid-60s including a co-starring role with Elvis Presley in the movie Speedway, and with Peter Fonda in The Wild Angels.