His 'Boots' made history
Wrote, produced hit songs for starsLee Hazlewood, the hard- driving producer, songwriter and singer who wrote "These Boots Are Made for Walkin' " for Nancy Sinatra and produced major hits for guitarist Duane Eddy, died Aug. 4 of renal cancer in Henderson, Nev. He was 78.
Lee Hazlewood's work with the daughter of Frank Sinatra included writing and producing such hits as "Sugartown" and "Some Velvet Morning." He also produced "Something Stupid," a duet Nancy recorded with her father in 1967.
For "Boots," Hazlewood gave Sinatra specific instructions: "Sing it like a 14-year-old girl who goes with truck drivers." It became a No. 1 hit.
Hazlewood sang several memorable duets with Nancy Sinatra, recording two albums, 1968's "Nancy and Lee" and 1972's "Nancy and Lee Again." Their 1967 single, "Some Velvet Morning," was a top 30 pop hit and has been covered by several artists.
Hazlewood first reached international note by working with Arizona guitarist Eddy, a Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer whose twangy, echoing guitar instrumentals sold millions. Hazlewood co-wrote and recorded a string of hits with Eddy, including "Movin' N' Groovin'," "Cannonball" and the guitarist's breakthrough song, 1958's "Rebel Rouser." Said Eddy, "He made a big difference in my life, and I'll miss him for the rest of my life."
After his successes with Eddy, Hazlewood moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a producer and songwriter for Dean Martin, Petula Clark and Dusty Springfield, among others. Martin scored a hit in the mid-'60s with Hazlewood's "Houston," a jaunty tale of wanderlust.
In the late '90s, Hazlewood was embraced by such alternative rock figures as Nick Cave and Sonic Youth, whose drummer, Steve Shelley, reissued some of his albums on CD. A 2002 tribute album, "Total Lee: The Songs of Lee Hazlewood," features stellar independent artists, including Tindersticks, Lambchop, Calexico, Johnny Dowd and Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley.
Hazlewood released an album that he said would be his last, the cryptically titled "Cake or Death," in November.
Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie paid tribute to Hazlewood: "He was a motherf---er of a songwriter and a great producer, too. A one-of-a-kind/last-of-a-kind outsider hero."