Monday, August 06, 2007

R.I.P.: Lee Hazlewood (1929-2007)

Judging from his amusingly spooky performance as Richard Widmark's dim-but-deadly trigger man in Richard Quine's largely forgotten The Moonshine War -- a 1970 oddity which scriptwriter Elmore Leonard adapted from his own novel -- Lee Hazlewood conceivably could have had a career as a character actor. But I think it's safe to safe that pop culture was better served by his decision to remain focused on music. As a songwriter, he achieved a kind of immortality with the oft-covered '60s classics "Some Velvet Morning," "This Town" (recently included in the soundtrack for Ocean's Thirteen) and, of course, "These Boots Are Made for Walking," which sold about a jillion records for Nancy Sinatra, and has been used in movies as diverse as The Mexican, Full Metal Jacket and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The reason for its enduring popularity? Well, with all due respect to the dearly departed, maybe it's the singer, not the song. According to The Guardian: Back when he and Sinatra were in the recording studio, Hazlewood reportedly instructed her to sing it "like a 16-year old girl who fucks truck drivers." Hey, whatever works.

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