Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lee Hazlewood: These Boots Were Made For Walking

I bought a bizarre CD 6 months ago called Cake or Death. It was by a guy I hadn’t heard of for 30 years, Lee Hazlewood. This was the guy who wrote 'Jackson', 'These Boots were Made for Walking', 'Some Velvet Morning' and 'Sugar Town', an outrageously innocent sounding song about dropping acid. Cake or Death is an eccentric album, which is perfect listening when chilling out on a late night plane or when you are in the bath after 24 hours of non-stop, domestic/European hassle. Lee Hazlewood died last month from cancer, age 78, I think. Hazlewood was an outlaw and a recluse. Having started life as a DJ, he went on to become a producer and gave, Wall of Sound legend Phil Spector, his start. He discovered Gram Parsons, who met an early end, and recorded an album with Ann Margaret, someone I had a crush on when I was 17 years old. (I still wonder whatever happened to her? She was certainly shaped differently from the girls I knew at the time in Lancaster.)

Hazlewood combined sentiment and humor in a way few writers have ever done. Then he dropped out to hide away in Sweden. I think he ended up in Texas or Las Vegas or somewhere like that. I know I saw a photograph of him on his 78th birthday in a t-shirt announcing “I’m not dead yet”. He and Nancy Sinatra performed 'Jackson' one last time and the curtain came down. Lee Hazlewood died on August 4. A great original.

3 comments:

Susan Plunkett said...

Well, here you go..Ann is still acting. Contact details...send her a Muji piece as your tribute? :)

http://www.celebritynooz.com/watn/ann-margret.html

Nancy Sinatra singing Jackson and Boots (first in duet) was something else...fine stuff. I never really got into Dolly overly much however I did like Harper Valley PTA. I thought there was a 'truth' in it.

Susan Plunkett said...

By the way, harking back to your question about evocative terms. I offered a comment then about the power of a great image with just a scattering or words. I think the image chosen for your article here is a great balance.

Susan Plunkett said...

I'll amend. Remove the name and just have 'Cake or Death'. Mystery and pith.