Nancy Sinatra’s Surprise Go-Go Hit

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“You’ve been a’messin’ where you shouldn’t ‘ve been a’messin'”

If you’re of a certain age, then you must surely remember go-go boots, which were popular in the mid-1960s. While not mandatory, the most popular color was white. And they were popularized by go-go dancers who danced on tables at nightclubs. In 1965, Los Angeles’ influential Whisky-a-Go-Go is said to be the first club to feature its go-go dancers in cages rising above the crowd, spawning a new trend in club dancing.

At the time, Lee Hazlewood was a country singer best known for collaborating with Duane Eddy on such songs as the 1959 hit “Peter Gunn” (which Hazlewood co-produced). By the early 1960s, Hazlewood was living in Los Angeles and writing songs for popular singers like Dean Martin and Dusty Springfield. He soon began writing songs for Nancy Sinatra who, in her early twenties, had already released 10 singles that had failed to chart.

Then in ’65, Sinatra enjoyed a modest hit with “So Long, Babe,” written by Hazlewood, their first collaboration, of many, to chart. Inspired by the go-go craze he was witnessing in Los Angeles, Hazlewood wrote “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” with such great lyrics as “You keep lyin’ when you oughta be truthin’.” Though it’s reported that he was first hesitant to have Sinatra record it, he was convinced otherwise.

With Hazlewood producing, the Los Angeles musicians collectively known as the Wrecking Crew assembled at Western Studio in November 1965 to create the music. The genius, distinctive bass line comes from Chuck Berghofer.

That’s Plas Johnson on tenor sax, Don Randi on the keyboard and Donald Frost on drums.

Related: Interview with The Wrecking Crew documentary producer-director

Upon its release, the song quickly rose up the charts and on February 26, 1966, the 25-year-old Sinatra had a #1 hit.

Our Classic Video (with over 87 million views!)…

Two years later, Sinatra would team up with her father and in March 1967, Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra, with Hazlewood co-producing, would enjoy a #1 hit with “Somethin’ Stupid.”

Nancy Sinatra is now 77. Berghofer is 79. Hazlewood passed in 2007 at age 78.

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  1. JohnnyCNote
    #1 JohnnyCNote 20 January, 2017, 01:01

    Lee and Nancy had another minor hit, “Summer Wine”. I was in 4th or 5th grade, if memory serves…

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    • Chris
      Chris 20 January, 2017, 13:22

      There Are actually two basses on the date. The other was played by Carol Kaye.

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