Nancy Sandra Sinatra
June 8, 1940
|Relatives||Tina Sinatra (sister)|
Frank Sinatra Jr. (brother)
Nancy Sandra Sinatra (born June 8, 1940) is an American singer and actress. She is the elder daughter of Frank Sinatra and Nancy Sinatra (née Barbato), and is widely known for her 1965 signature hit "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'".
Other defining recordings include "Sugar Town", the 1967 number one "Somethin' Stupid" (a duet with her father), the title song from the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, several collaborations with Lee Hazlewood, such as "Jackson", "Summer Wine" and her cover of Cher's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)". Nancy Sinatra began her career as a singer and actress in November 1957 with an appearance on her father's ABC-TV variety series, but initially achieved success only in Europe and Japan. In early 1966 she had a transatlantic number-one hit with "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". She appeared on TV in high boots and with colorfully dressed go-go dancers, creating a popular and enduring image of the Swinging Sixties. The song was written by Lee Hazlewood, who wrote and produced most of her hits and sang with her on several duets, including "Some Velvet Morning". In 1966 and 1967, Sinatra charted with 13 titles, all of which featured Billy Strange as arranger and conductor.
Sinatra also had a brief acting career in the mid-1960s, including a co-starring role with Elvis Presley in the movie Speedway, and with Peter Fonda in The Wild Angels. Frank and Nancy Sinatra played a fictional father and daughter in Marriage on the Rocks.
Sinatra was born on June 8, 1940 in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is the eldest of the three children whom Frank Sinatra fathered by his first wife, Nancy Barbato (1917–2018). Both of her parents were of Italian ancestry. When she was a toddler, the family moved to Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. They later moved again to Toluca Lake, California for her father's Hollywood career. There, she spent many years in piano, dance and dramatic performance lessons, and underwent months of voice lessons.
Sinatra began to study music, dancing and voice at UCLA in the late 1950s, but she dropped out after one year. She made her professional debut on her father's 1960 television special The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis, which celebrated the return of Elvis Presley from Europe following his discharge from military service. Nancy was sent to the airport on behalf of her father to welcome Presley when his plane landed. On the special, Sinatra 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 largely unnoticed. However, subsequent singles charted in Europe and Japan. By 1965, without a hit in the United States, she was on the verge of being dropped by the label. 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's collaboration with Sinatra began when Frank Sinatra asked Lee to help boost his daughter's career. When recording "These Boots are Made for Walkin'", Hazlewood is said to have suggested to Nancy, "You can’t sing like Nancy Nice Lady anymore. You have to sing for the truckers." She later described him as "part Henry Higgins and part Sigmund Freud."
Hazlewood had Sinatra sing in a lower key and crafted songs for her. Bolstered by an image overhaul—including bleached-blond hair, frosted lips, heavy eye makeup and Carnaby Street fashions—Sinatra made her mark on the American (and British) music scene in early 1966 with "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," its title inspired by a line from 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 Award nominations, including two for Sinatra and one for arranger Billy Strange. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc. Sinatra appeared on TV in high boots with colorfully dressed go-go dancers during the Swinging Sixties era.
A run of chart singles followed, including two 1966 top 10 hits, "How Does That Grab You, Darlin'?" (U.S. No. 7) and "Sugar Town" (U.S. No. 5). "Sugar Town" became Sinatra's second million-seller. The ballad "Somethin' Stupid"—a duet with her father—hit No. 1 in the U.S. and the U.K. in April 1967 and spent nine weeks at the top of Billboard's easy listening chart. Frank and Nancy became the only father-daughter duo to top the Hot 100, but DJs dubbed the track "the incest song" because it was sung as if by two lovers. The record earned a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year and remains the only father-daughter duet to hit No. 1 in the U.S.; it became Nancy's third million-selling disc.
Other singles showcasing Sinatra's forthright delivery include "Friday’s Child" (U.S. No. 36, 1966) and the 1967 hits "Love Eyes" (U.S. No. 15) and "Lightning’s Girl" (U.S. No. 24). She rounded out 1967 with "Tony Rome", the low-charting (U.S. No. 83) title track from the detective film Tony Rome starring her father. Her first solo single in 1968 was the more wistful "100 Years" (U.S. No. 69). That same year she recorded "Highway Song", written by Kenny Young and produced by Mickie Most, for the European markets. The song reached the top 20 in the U.K. and other European countries.
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 No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1967, when Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash covered the song.
Sinatra and Hazlewood released the single "Some Velvet Morning" (U.S. No. 26), accompanied by a promo clip, in December 1967. The song is regarded as one of pop's more unusual singles; critic Cathi Unsworth wrote, "The puzzle of its lyrics and otherworldly beauty of its sound [offer] seemingly endless interpretations." The British broadsheet The Daily Telegraph placed "Some Velvet Morning" atop its 2003 list of the Top 50 Best Duets Ever ("Somethin' Stupid" ranked No. 27.) The song appeared on the duo's 1968 album Nancy & Lee, about which National Public Radio commented in 2017, "... its sly, sultry movements both are a gem of traditional '60s pop and an inversion of traditional conceptions of romance."
Sinatra recorded the theme song for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice in 1967. 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 No. 44 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. "Jackson"/"You Only Live Twice" was more successful in the U.K., reaching No.11 on the singles chart during a 19-week chart run (in the Top 50) that saw the single become the 70th-best-selling single of 1967 in the U.K.
Sinatra traveled to Vietnam to perform for U.S. troops in 1966 and 1967. Many soldiers adopted her song "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" as their anthem, as shown in Pierre Schoendoerffer's documentary The Anderson Platoon (1967) and reprised in a scene in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987). Sinatra recorded several antiwar songs, including "My Buddy", which was 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. Sinatra recreated her Vietnam concert appearances on a 1988 episode of the television show China Beach. Sinatra still performs for charitable causes supporting Vietnam veterans, including Rolling Thunder.
Films and television
Sinatra played a secretary in the 1963 Burke's Law episode "Who Killed Wade Walker." She starred in three beach party films: For Those Who Think Young (1964), Get Yourself a College Girl (1964) and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966), performing songs in the latter film. After securing the role that eventually went to Linda Evans in Beach Blanket Bingo, she withdrew because the film's character is kidnapped—a parallel she found too close to actual events when her brother Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped in December 1963.
Sinatra appeared on The Virginian, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Kraft Music Hall hosted by Sandler & Young. She also appeared in her father's 1966 special A Man and His Music – Part II and a 1967 Christmas-themed episode of The Dean Martin Show which featured the Sinatra and Martin families. NBC aired Sinatra's own special, Movin' With Nancy, in 1967. It featured Lee Hazlewood, her father and his Rat Pack pals Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., her brother Frank Sinatra Jr. and West Side Story dancer David Winters, who choreographed the show. Jack Haley Jr. directed and produced the special, for which he received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Music or Variety. During the special, Sinatra shared a kiss with Davis Jr., about which she has stated, "The kiss [was] one of the first interracial kisses seen on television and it caused some controversy then, and now. [But] contrary to some inaccurate online reports, the kiss was unplanned and spontaneous." Winters was nominated for an Emmy in the Special Classification of Individual Achievements category for his choreography but lost to co-winners The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Jackie Gleason Show. The special's success may[weasel words] have been a motivating factor for the development of the Emmy award for Outstanding Choreography, which was introduced the following year. Movin' With Nancy was sponsored by RC Cola.
1970s and 1980s
Sinatra remained with Reprise until 1970. In 1971, she signed with RCA Records, resulting in three albums: Nancy & Lee – Again (1971), Woman (1972) and a compilation of some of her Reprise recordings called This Is Nancy Sinatra (1973). She released the non-LP single "Sugar Me" b/w "Ain't No Sunshine" in 1973. "Sugar Me" was written by Lynsey De Paul and 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 No. 2 in the U.K. In 1972, they performed for a Swedish documentary, Nancy & Lee In Las Vegas, which chronicled their Las Vegas concerts at the Riviera Hotel and featured solo numbers and duets from concerts, behind-the-scenes footage and scenes of Sinatra's mother and her husband, Hugh Lambert. The film did not appear until 1975.
By 1975, Sinatra was releasing singles on the Private Stock Records label, which are the most sought-after by collectors. Among the singles were "Kinky Love", "Annabell of Mobile", "It's for My Dad" and "Indian Summer" (with Hazlewood). "Kinky Love" was banned by some radio stations for its suggestive lyrics. It appeared on Sheet Music: A Collection of Her Favorite Love Songs in 1998, and Pale Saints covered the song in 1991.
By the mid-1970s, Sinatra had slowed her musical activity and ceased acting to concentrate on her family. 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 chart: "Texas Cowboy Night" (No. 23) and "Play Me or Trade Me" (No. 43).
In 1985, Sinatra wrote the book Frank Sinatra, My Father.
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At 54, Sinatra 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 that her father was proud of the photos. Sinatra told Jay Leno on a 1995 Tonight Show that her daughters gave their approval, but her mother said that she should ask her father before committing to the project. Sinatra claims that when she told her father what Playboy would be paying her, he said: "Double it."
She collaborated with former Los Angeles neighbor Morrissey on a 2004 version of his song "Let Me Kiss You", which was featured on her album Nancy Sinatra. The single—released the same day as Morrissey's version—charted at No. 46 in the U.K., providing Sinatra with her first hit in more than 30 years. The follow-up single, "Burnin' Down the Spark," failed to chart. The album featured U2, Sonic Youth, Calexico, Pete Yorn, Jon Spencer, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Steven Van Zandt, all of whom have cited Sinatra as an influence. Each artist crafted a song for Sinatra to sing on the album.
EMI released The Essential Nancy Sinatra, a U.K.-only greatest-hits compilation featuring the previously unreleased track "Machine Gun Kelly", in 2006. The album was Sinatra's first to make the U.K. charts (No. 73) since 1971's Did You Ever? reached No. 31.
Sinatra provided vocals for the Black Devil Disco Club song "To Ardent" and the Lempo and Japwow single "Jack in Boots" in 2011.
She released the 2013 digital-only album Shifting Gears, featuring 15 previously unreleased tracks, including a rendition of Neil Diamond's "Holly Holy." The orchestra tracks were recorded in the 1970s while Sinatra was touring with a 40-piece orchestra, and her vocal tracks were recorded within 10 years of the release of the collection.
In October 2020, Sinatra and Light in the Attic Records announced plans to release the Nancy Sinatra Archival Series. The first release is to be a Record Store Day Black Friday exclusive 7" vinyl single featuring two Sinatra/Hazlewood duets, "Some Velvet Morning" and "Tired of Waiting for You." A new 23-track compilation, Start Walkin' 1965–1976, will follow in February 2021. The first single, a remastered reissue of Nancy & Lee's 1976 Private Stock single "(L'été Indien) Indian Summer", was released as a digital exclusive on October 21, 2020. Some of Sinatra's past albums will be issued on CD for the first time, including her first record with Hazlewood, 1968's Nancy & Lee, and its follow-up, 1972's Nancy & Lee Again.
Nancy's Bootique, Sinatra's online shop, launched on October 21, 2020. It features CDs, vinyl, exclusive merchandise and signed items.
Children (with Lambert):
- Angela Jennifer "AJ" Lambert Paparozzi (whose godparents are James Darren and his second wife Evy Norlund)
- Amanda Catherine Lambert Erlinger
Both women were left US$1 million from their grandfather Frank Sinatra's will, in a trust fund started in 1983.
- For Those Who Think Young (1964)
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- Marriage on the Rocks (1965)
- The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)
- The Last of the Secret Agents? (1966)
- The Oscar (1966)
- The Wild Angels (1966)
- Speedway (1968)
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