Spotlight on ……

Nancy Sinatra

Cilla Black

Nancy Sandra Sinatra (born June 8, 1940, in Jersey City, New Jersey) is an American singer and actress. She is the daughter of singer/actor Frank Sinatra from his first wife, Nancy Barbato.

In the late 1950s Nancy Sinatra began to study music, dancing, and voice at the University of California in Los Angeles. She dropped out after a year, and made her professional debut in 1960 on her father's television special with Elvis Presley, home from the army. Nancy was sent to the airport on behalf of her father to welcome Elvis when his plane landed. On the special, Nancy and her father danced and sang a duet, "You Make Me Feel So Young/Old". That same year she began a five-year marriage to Tommy Sands.

Sinatra was signed to her father's label, Reprise Records, in 1961. Her first single, "Cuff Links and a Tie Clip", went unnoticed. However, subsequent singles charted in Europe and Japan. Without a hit in the U.S. by 1965, she was on the verge of being dropped. Her singing career received a boost with the help of songwriter/producer/arranger Lee Hazlewood, who had been making records for ten years, notably with Duane Eddy. Hazlewood became Sinatra's inspiration. He had her sing in a lower key and crafted pop songs for her. Bolstered by an image overhaul — including dyed-blonde hair, frosted lips, heavy eye make-up and Carnaby Street fashions — Sinatra made her mark on both the American and British music scene in early 1966 with "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", its title inspired by a line in Robert Aldrich's 1963 western comedy 4 for Texas starring her father and Dean Martin. One of her many hits written by Hazlewood, it received three Grammy nominations, including two for Sinatra and one for arranger Billy Strange. The song has been covered by artists such as Geri Halliwell, Megadeth, Jessica Simpson, Lil' Kim, Little Birdy, Billy Ray Cyrus, Faster Pussycat,KMFDM, Operation Ivy and the Del Rubio Triplets and The Supremes.

Frank and Nancy Sinatra

A run of chart singles followed, including the two 1966 Top 10 hits "How Does That Grab You, Darlin'?" (#7) and "Sugar Town" (#5). Her late 1966 album, Sugar, was banned in Boston, USA, due to its cover image of Sinatra in a bikini. The ballad "Somethin' Stupid" — a duet with father — hit #1 in the U.S. and the UK in April 1967 and spent nine weeks at the top of Billboard's easy listening chart. DJs referred to the record as "the incest song." Nonetheless, it earned a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year and remains the only father-daughter duet to hit No.1 in the U.S. Other 45s showing her forthright delivery include "Friday’s Child" (#36, 1966), and the 1967 hits "Love Eyes" (#15) and "Lightning’s Girl" (#24). She rounded out 1967 with the raunchy but low-charting "Tony Rome" (#83) — the title track from the detective film Tony Rome starring her father — while her first solo single in 1968 was the more wistful "100 Years" (#69).

Sinatra enjoyed a parallel recording career cutting duets with the husky-voiced, country-and-western-inspired Hazlewood, starting with "Summer Wine" (originally the B-side of "Sugar Town"). Their biggest hit was a cover of the country song, "Jackson". The single peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1967, when Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash also made the song their own. In December they released the "MOR"-psychedelic single "Some Velvet Morning", regarded as one of the more unusual singles in pop, and the peak of Sinatra and Hazlewood’s vocal collaborations. It reached #26 in the USA. The promo clip is, like the song, sui generis. The British broadsheet The Daily Telegraph placed "Some Velvet Morning" in pole position in its 2003 list of the Top 50 Best Duets Ever. ("Somethin' Stupid" ranked number 27) [1]

Nancy Sinatra.

In 1967 she recorded the theme song for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. In the liner notes of the CD reissue of her 1966 album, Nancy In London, Sinatra states that she was "scared to death" of recording the song, and asked the songwriters: "Are you sure you don't want Shirley Bassey?" There are two versions of the Bond theme. The first is the lushly orchestrated track featured during the opening and closing credits of the film. The second – and more guitar-heavy — version appeared on the double A-sided single with "Jackson", though the Bond theme stalled at #44 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1966 and 1967 Sinatra travelled to Vietnam to perform for the troops. Many U.S. soldiers adopted her song "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" as their anthem, as shown in Pierre Schoendoerffer's academy award winning documentary The Anderson Platoon (1967) and reprised in a scene in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987). Sinatra recorded several anti-war songs, including "My Buddy", featured on her album Sugar, "Home", co-written by Mac Davis, and "It's Such A Lonely Time of Year", which appeared on the 1968 LP The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas. In 1988 Sinatra recreated her Vietnam concert appearances on an episode of the television show China Beach. Today, Sinatra still performs for charitable causes supporting U.S. veterans who served in Vietnam, including Rolling Thunder Inc.

Sinatra starred in three teen musicals (otherwise known as 'beach party' films) - For Those Who Think Young (1964); Get Yourself A College Girl (1964); and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966), the latter of which she had a singing role (She was also scheduled to appear in the role that went to Linda Evans in Beach Blanket Bingo, but was unable). Also in 1966, she starred in Roger Corman's The Wild Angels with Peter Fonda and Bruce Dern, and 1968 she shared the screen with Elvis Presley in Speedway. She was the only singer to have a solo song on an Elvis album or soundtrack while he was still alive. Since his death, several previously unreleased Ann-Margret solo recordings have appeared on Elvis albums, but Sinatra was the first.

She also made appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and starred in television specials. These include the Emmy-nominated 1966 Frank Sinatra special A Man and His Music - Part II, and the 1967 Emmy-winning special Movin' With Nancy, in which she appeared with Lee Hazlewood, her father and his Rat Pack pals Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., with a cameo appearance by her brother Frank Sinatra, Jr.

Sinatra remained with Reprise until 1970. In 1971, she signed with RCA, resulting in three albums: Nancy & Lee – Again (1971), Woman (1972), and a compilation of some of her Reprise recordings under the title This Is Nancy Sinatra (1973). That year she released a non-LP single, "Sugar Me" b/w "Ain't No Sunshine". The former was written by Lynsey De Paul/Barry Blue and, with other covers of works by early-70s popular songwriters, resurfaced on the 1998 album How Does It Feel.
In the autumn of 1971 Sinatra and Hazlewood’s duet "Did You Ever?" reached number two in the UK singles chart. In 1972 they performed for a Swedish documentary, Nancy & Lee In Las Vegas, which chronicled their Vegas concerts at the Riviera Hotel and featured solo numbers and duets from concerts, behind-the-scenes footage, and scenes of Sinatra's late husband, Hugh Lambert, and her mother. The film did not appear until 1975.

By 1975 she was releasing singles on Private Stock, which are the most sought-after by collectors. Among those released were "Kinky Love", "Annabell of Mobile", "It's for My Dad," and "Indian Summer" (with Hazlewood). Some radio stations banned “Kinky Love” in the 1970s for “suggestive” lyrics. It saw the light of day on CD in 1998 on Sheet Music: A Collection of Her Favorite Love Songs. Pale Saints covered the song in 1991.

By the mid-1970s, she slowed her musical activity and ceased acting to concentrate on being a wife and mother. She returned to the studio in 1981 to record a country album with Mel Tillis called Mel & Nancy. Two of their songs made the Billboard Country Singles Chart: "Texas Cowboy Night" (#23) and "Play Me or Trade Me" (#43). In 1985 she wrote the book Frank Sinatra, My Father.

At 54 she posed for Playboy in the May 1995 issue and made appearances on TV shows to promote her album One More Time. The magazine appearance caused some controversy. On the talk show circuit, she said her father was proud of the photos, but not everyone was convinced. Those close to the Sinatras claimed that family members were upset with the nude photo spread. Nancy told Jay Leno on a 1995 Tonight Show that her daughters gave their approval, but her mother said she should ask her father before committing to the project. Nancy claims that when she told her father what Playboy would be paying her, he said, "Double it."

She and Lee Hazlewood embarked on a U.S. tour playing the House of Blues, the Viper Room, the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, the now-defunct Mama Kin in Boston, and The Fillmore. That year, Sundazed Records began reissuing Sinatra's Reprise albums with remastered sound, new liner notes and photos, and bonus tracks. She also updated her biography on her dad and published Frank Sinatra: An American Legend.

In 2003 she reunited with Hazlewood once more for the album Nancy & Lee 3. It was released only in Australia.

One of her recordings — a cover of Sonny Bono-penned song "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" — was used to open the 2003 Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol. One. In 2005, Sinatra's recording was sampled separately by the Audio Bullys and Radio Slave into dance tracks (renamed into "Shot You Down" and "Bang Bang" respectively), and by hip-hop artist Young Buck in a song titled "Bang Bang", as well as covered for a single and music video by R&B artist Melanie Durrant. Sinatra recorded the song for her second Reprise album, How Does That Grab You? in 1966. She and Billy Strange worked on the arrangement, and it was Sinatra's idea to change from a mid-tempo romp (as sung in Cher's hit single) to a ballad. Sinatra's father asked her to sing it on his 1966 TV special A Man and His Music - Part II. The footage of Sinatra's performance on that special was used in the Audio Bullys' music video of "Shot You Down."
Taking her father's advice from when she began her recording career ("Own your own masters"), she owns or holds an interest in most of her material, including videos.
In 2004 she collaborated with former Los Angeles neighbour Morrissey to record a version of his song "Let Me Kiss You", which was featured on her autumn release Nancy Sinatra. The single — released the same day as Morrissey’s version — charted at #46 in the UK, providing Sinatra with her first hit for over 30 years. The follow-up single, "Burnin' Down the Spark", failed to chart. The album, originally titled To Nancy, with Love, featured rock performers such as Calexico, Sonic Youth, U2, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, Steven Van Zandt, Jon Spencer, and Pete Yorn, who all cited Sinatra as an influence. Each artist crafted a song for Sinatra to sing on the album.
Two years later EMI released The Essential Nancy Sinatra – a UK-only greatest-hits compilation featuring the previously unreleased track, "Machine Gun Kelly." The collection was picked by Sinatra and spans her 40-year career. The record was Sinatra's first to make the UK album charts (#73) in 30 years.

Sinatra, a gay icon, also recorded "Another Gay Sunshine Day" for Another Gay Movie in 2006.

Nancy received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 11, 2006, which was also declared "Nancy Sinatra Day" by Hollywood’s mayor, Johnny Grant.
Sinatra appeared, as herself, on one of the final episodes (Chasing It) of the HBO mob drama The Sopranos. Her brother, Frank Jr., had previously appeared in the 2000 episode The Happy Wanderer.
Nancy Sinatra recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's 'Hip-Hop Literacy' campaign, encouraging reading of Tarantino screenplays and related books.

Wikipedia 2009.

 

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