Tuesday 28 July 2015

OK Boots, start walking

I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a Nancy boy

All newspapers have their little rituals and so has New Europe. As we hand off the paper to the printers there's a call of "It's Nancy time!" and we go to print as we play Nancy Sinatra's classic hit These Boots Are Made For Walking."

It made number one in the UK charts on 17 February 1966.

It has been covered by just about everyone, but it still is Nancy's song. "The one hit song that I have tremendous gratitude for is Boots, because it has a life of its own. It's like being identified with a brand name," she said.

The song was written by Lee Hazlewood and many would argue that, not only was it an inspired partnership, it produced some of the best and strangest music in pop, including the unforgettable Some Velvet Morning.

The song was taken up by US soldiers, fighting in Vietnam and a year later Nancy did a tour for the troops that went down exceptionally well. A liberal, Nancy was honest and non-judgemental about the conflict, especially those in it.

“All of the people in my generation were involved in one way or another with the Viet Nam war. They were enlisting, drafted, escaping to another country or a marriage and children they didn’t really want. I knew I had to do something so I called the USO and volunteered to go and entertain the troops," she said.

 “When you are in a war zone the people around you become your brothers and sisters. They were then, are now and will always be a huge part of my life.”

She was no precious star, despite having an almost indescribably famous father, saying about the tour, “Each outfit put us up wherever they could–sometimes a building, sometimes a tent–with shells going off over our heads. We spent one night on the carrier Kitty Hawk. My God, I was terrified. But once you are committed to something like that, you move past the fear.”

She continues to act for veterans and veterans rights to this day.

The song was made with a group of session musicians, who went by the name of The Wrecking Crew. The name may be new, but everyone has heard them, not only did they record Boots, they also worked with everyone from The Monkees to Nat King Cole and were the musicians who provided Phil Spector's infamous 'wall of sound'.

Members of the Wrecking Crew played on the first Byrds single recording, "Mr. Tambourine Man", because Columbia Records did not trust the skills of Byrd musicians except for Roger McGuinn and They provided the backing for Leonard Cohen's fifth album, Death of a Ladies' Man.

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