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Sinatra in 1971
|Birth name||Nancy Sandra Sinatra|
June 8, 1940|
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Nancy Sandra Sinatra (born June 8, 1940) is an American singer and actress. She is the elder daughter of Frank Sinatra and Nancy (Barbato) Sinatra, and is widely known for her 1966 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", 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. In Marriage on the Rocks, Frank and Nancy Sinatra played a fictional father and daughter.
Sinatra was born on June 8, 1940 in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is the eldest daughter of the three children Frank Sinatra had by his first wife, Nancy Barbato (1917–2018). When she was a toddler, the family moved to Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. They later moved again to Toluca Lake, California for Frank Sinatra's Hollywood career. There, she spent many years in piano, dance and dramatic performance lessons, as well as undergoing months of voice lessons.
In the late 1950s, Sinatra began to study music, dancing, and voice at the University of California, Los Angeles. She dropped out after a year, and made her professional debut in 1960 on her father's television special, The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis, celebrating the return of Elvis Presley from Europe following his discharge from service in the U.S. 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 largely unnoticed. However, subsequent singles charted in Europe and Japan. Without a hit in the US 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 songs for her. Bolstered by an image overhaul—including bleached-blonde hair, frosted lips, heavy eye make-up 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 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 Award nominations, including two for Sinatra and one for arranger Billy Strange. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. She appeared on TV in high boots, and with colorfully dressed go-go dancers, a craze during the late '60s, and created a popular and enduring image of the Swinging Sixties.
A run of chart singles followed, including the 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 her 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. It 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 Sinatra's third million-selling disc. Other 45s showing her 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 the raunchy but low-charting "Tony Rome" (U.S. No. 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" (U.S. No.69). In 1968 she recorded the Kenny Young song "The Highway Song" with Mickey Most producing for the U.K. and European markets. The song reached 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 #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 No. 26 in the US. 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.)
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 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 nineteen-week chart run (in the Top 50) that saw the single become the 70th-best-selling single of 1967 in the U.K.
In 1966 and 1967 Sinatra traveled to Vietnam to perform for the US troops. Many US 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 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 US veterans who served in Vietnam, including Rolling Thunder Inc..
Films and television
Sinatra starred in three teen musicals ("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 featured her in a singing role. She was also scheduled to appear in the role that went to Linda Evans in Beach Blanket Bingo. Nancy did not do the film as her character was kidnapped and the parallel to her brother Frank Sinatra Jr.'s kidnapping was not considered tasteful.
In 1965 Sinatra was a guest with Woody Allen on the game show Password.
In 1966 she appeared as herself in The Oscar, and starred in The Last of the Secret Agents, as well as singing the title song. She also starred in Roger Corman's biker story The Wild Angels with Peter Fonda and Bruce Dern, then in 1968 she shared the screen with Elvis Presley in his musical comedy Speedway—her final film. She was the only singer to have a solo song on an Elvis album or soundtrack. Ann-Margret had performed a solo in the film Viva Las Vegas in 1964. However, the film's soundtrack was an EP and not a full-length LP album.
Sinatra 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, The Virginian, and in a 1967 Christmas-themed episode of The Dean Martin Show that featured the Sinatra and Martin families. Nancy starred in television specials that included the 1966 Frank Sinatra special A Man and His Music – Part II, and the 1967 NBC TV special Movin' With Nancy. 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. and guest-star appearance by West Side Story dancer David Winters. Jack Haley, Jr. was the director and producer of the special and received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Music or Variety. At one point in the program, Sinatra shared a kiss with Sammy Davis, Jr. 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." The special features choreography and dancing by David Winters. As there was no Emmy Award category for Choreography—the shows one of two Emmy nominations was placed in the "Special Classification of Individual Achievements" category. Winters lost to co-winners The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Jackie Gleason Show. Possibly due to this special's success and its choreography a new category for "Outstanding Choreography" was created by the Emmys the next year. Movin' With Nancy was sponsored by Royal Crown 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 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 (citation needed). Among those released were "Kinky Love", "Annabell of Mobile", "It's for My Dad," and "Indian Summer" (with Hazlewood). "Kinky Love" was banned by some radio stations 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, 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 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 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."
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.
On Monday 12 August 2002, Nancy appeared live in-concert for the first time in the UK at The Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh as part of the official Edinburgh International Festival. Her Musical Director & keyboardist was long-time collaborator & former member of "The Wrecking Crew" Don Randi. This sold-out one-off concert was filmed by The BBC. An edited version including brief interview & tourist-type segments was later broadcast on BBC4.
In 2004 she collaborated with former Los Angeles neighbor 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, titled Nancy Sinatra, 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 recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's 'Hip-Hop Literacy' campaign, encouraging reading of Tarantino screenplays and related books.
Sinatra now[when?] hosts a weekly show called Nancy for Frank on Sirius Satellite Radio, Siriusly Sinatra, where she shares her personal insights about her late father.
On April 11, 2011, Black Devil Disco Club released their second album featuring Sinatra's vocals on "To Ardent". A single featuring the album version and several remixes of "To Ardent" was released on May 23, 2011.
The single "Jack in Boots" by Lempo and Japwow, was also released in 2011 on SuSu Music, featuring Nancy on vocals, reaching #13 in The Music Week Club Chart (UK) and #36 on Beatport, plugged on Capital FM, BBC 6Music and BBC Radio One.
In Irvine, California, on August 3, 2013, Sinatra joined alt-rock band Wilco on "Bang Bang" and "These Boots are Made for Walkin'" at the Bob Dylan-headlining AmericanaramA tour.
On December 3, 2013, Sinatra released the digital-only album Shifting Gears, featuring 15 previously unreleased tracks from the vault, including a stirring 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 May 2017, Sinatra's 1967 hit duet with Lee Hazlewood, Summer Wine, was used by clothing-retail giant, H&M in their "The Summer Shop 2017" ad campaign. As a result, the song debuted at #1 on Billboard magazine and Clio's Top TV Commercial chart for May 2017.
Children (with Lambert):
- Angela Jennifer "AJ" Lambert Paparozzi (whose godparents are James Darren and his second wife Evy Norlund)
- Amanda Catherine Lambert
(Both women were left $1 million from their grandfather Frank Sinatra's will in a trust fund started in 1983)
- For Those Who Think Young (1964)
- Get Yourself a College Girl (1964)
- 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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