These Boots Are Made for Walkin'

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"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
Nancy Sinatra single cover These Boots Are Made for Walkin.jpg
Single by Nancy Sinatra
from the album Boots
B-side"The City Never Sleeps at Night"
ReleasedDecember 1965
RecordedNovember 19, 1965
StudioWestern Recorders, Hollywood, California
Genre
Length2:42
LabelReprise
Songwriter(s)Lee Hazlewood[4]
Producer(s)Lee Hazlewood[5]
Nancy Sinatra singles chronology
"So Long, Babe"
(1965)
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
(1965)
"How Does That Grab You, Darlin'?"
(1966)

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" is a hit song written by Lee Hazlewood and recorded by Nancy Sinatra. It charted on January 22, 1966[6] and reached No. 1 in the United States Billboard Hot 100 and in the UK Singles Chart.[5]

Subsequently, many cover versions of the song have been released in a range of styles: metal, pop, rock, punk rock, country, dance, and industrial. Among the more notable versions are the singles released by Megadeth, Billy Ray Cyrus, Haley Reinhart, and Jessica Simpson.

Nancy Sinatra version[edit]

Recording[edit]

Lee Hazlewood intended to record the song himself, saying that "it's not really a girl's song", but Sinatra talked him out of it, saying that "coming from a guy it was harsh and abusive, but was perfect for a little girl to sing". Hazlewood agreed.[7] Sinatra's recording of the song was made with the help of Los Angeles session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew.[7] This session included Chuck Berghofer on double bass, providing the notable bass line with its quarter-tone descent.[8]

Personnel[edit]

Other personnel, as seen in the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) contracts for the session include:[9]

Release[edit]

The single was released in December 1965,[10] the second song to be taken from her debut album Boots, and was a follow-up to the minor hit "So Long, Babe". The song became an instant success and in late February 1966 it topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a move it replicated in similar charts across the world.

Billboard described the song as "fine folk-rock material" and praised Sinatra's vocal performance and "the Billy Strange driving dance beat."[11]

Promotional film[edit]

In the same year Sinatra recorded a promotional film, which would later be known as the music video, for the song. It was produced for Color-Sonics and played on Scopitone video jukeboxes.[7] The film was directed by choreographer Robert Sidney and was produced by Official Films at Paramount Studios in Hollywood.[12] In 1986, for the song's 20th anniversary, cable station VH1 played the video.

Sinatra told Alison Martino that other videos and performances are from TV shows like The Ed Sullivan Show, Hullaballoo and Shindig![7] These other videos featured Sinatra wearing an iconic pair of red leather boots.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

The song was used by Stanley Kubrick for a scene in his 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, where a Vietnamese woman in a miniskirt propositions a couple of American GIs.[13]

In 2006, Pitchfork Media selected it as the 114th best song of the 1960s. Critic Tom Breihan described the song as "maybe the finest bitchy kiss-off in pop history".[14]

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company used portions of the song for its 1960s ad campaign promoting its "wide boots" tires. Nancy Sinatra unsuccessfully sued Goodyear for using the song, claiming that it had violated her publicity rights.[15]

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Germany
physical sales
400,000[25]
Netherlands 100,000[26]
United Kingdom
physical sales
250,000[25]
United Kingdom (BPI)[27]
sales since 2004
Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[28] Gold 1,000,000^
Summaries
Worldwide 4,000,000[25]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Track listing[edit]

UK promotional single

  1. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" – 3:03
  2. "The City Never Sleeps at Night" – 2:54

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United Kingdom February 1, 2000 Promotional single — digital download EMI, Maverick

Billy Ray Cyrus version[edit]

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
Single by Billy Ray Cyrus
from the album Some Gave All
ReleasedNovember 1, 1992
Recorded1992
GenreCountry, rockabilly
Length3:31
LabelCurb
Songwriter(s)Lee Hazlewood
Producer(s)Joe Scaife, Jim Cotton
Billy Ray Cyrus singles chronology
"Wher'm I Gonna Live?"
(1992)
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
(1992)
"She's Not Cryin' Anymore"
(1993)

In 1992, Billy Ray Cyrus covered the song, whose version is a bit more flippant and the success was quite modest. Nothing was changed by the text. For the first time the cover appeared on the album Some Gave All. Later, the cover can also be found on the compilation De Nationale Voorjaars CD 1993, Alle 40 goed - Country and The Definitive Collection.

Track listings[edit]

CD-Maxi

  1. These Boots Are Made For Walkin' - 2:48
  2. Ain't No Good Goodbye - 3:22
  3. Could've Been Me (Acoustic Mix) - 3:45

Charts[edit]

Chart (1992-1993) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 63[29]
New Zealand Singles Chart 11[30]
Dutch Top 40 42[31]
Belgian Singles Chart 32[32]
Danish Singles Chart 27

Jessica Simpson version[edit]

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
Jessicasimpson single thesebootsaremadeforwalking.jpg
Single by Jessica Simpson
from the album The Dukes of Hazzard
ReleasedJune 20, 2005 (2005-06-20)
GenreCountry pop, dance-pop
Length3:41
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)Lee Hazlewood, Jessica Simpson (additional; uncredited)
Producer(s)Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Jessica Simpson singles chronology
"Angels"
(2004)
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
(2005)
"A Public Affair"
(2006)
Music video
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" at VEVO.com

Jessica Simpson recorded her own version of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (and added her own lyrics) for the soundtrack to the film The Dukes of Hazzard (2005). The version was also included in the international version of her fifth studio album, A Public Affair (2006). Simpson's cover was co-produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and was released as the soundtrack's first single on June 20, 2005. It became Simpson's fifth top-20 single in the United States, and its music video drew controversy because of its sexual imagery.[33][34]

Recording and release[edit]

Simpson's version of the song is performed from the point of view of her character in The Dukes of Hazzard, Daisy Duke, and it has several major differences from Sinatra's version. The song's lyrics were changed almost completely as Simpson felt that they did not accurately convey the feelings needed for the film; in the original Sinatra dealt with a cheating boyfriend, while in the new version Simpson explored Daisy Duke's personality and experiences. She rewrote the majority of the lyrics herself, although some elements were retained such as the opening line "You keep saying you got something for me..." and the spoken "Are you ready, boots? Start walkin'".

Simpson also added some new music to her version of the song. Whereas the original version did not have a bridge, she created one for the cover. A risqué rap-like/spoken breakdown was added after the bridge. Because of the legalities of songwriting, Simpson has not been credited for the new music or lyrics that she wrote. The production of the song was altered as well. Producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis gave the cover a country-inspired production because of its relationship to the film The Dukes of Hazzard, but they also added a more hip hop-like beat.

Chart performance[edit]

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" peaked at fourteen on the US Billboard Hot 100, and in late 2005 the RIAA certified the single Gold for 500,000 legal downloads or more. Its digital downloads were high, but radio airplay was low. Due to this, it is the song that reached the lowest chart position on the Billboard Hot 100 for a song topping the Hot Digital Songs chart. It reached the top ten on Billboard's Pop 100 chart, and was Simpson's first single to appear on the chart. On July 23, 2005, the song jumped from 8 - 1 on Hot Digital Songs charts in its second week with 43,000 downloads.[35] On December 11, 2006 the single was certified Gold by the RIAA again, this time by Epic Records. In total, the single has received 1 million digital downloads.

Internationally it was a success, reaching top 5 in several European countries. It became her biggest hit in Australia, where it reached number two and remained in the top forty for twenty-four weeks. In Ireland, the single also reached number 2. The song also cracked the top five in the United Kingdom, where it reached number four and is to date, her highest peaking single in Britain. It reached the top ten in the chart European Hot 100 Singles, Belgium, and New Zealand and the top twenty in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. As the end of the year 2005, the single had sold 69,500 copies in UK.[36]

Music video[edit]

The video, directed by Brett Ratner, has caused some controversy because of its sexual imagery.[37] It famously presents "footage of Simpson writhing suggestively against a suds-soaked motor vehicle".[38]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Radio edit) - 4:10
  2. "With You" (Live from Universal Amphitheater)
  3. "Take My Breath Away" (Live from Universal Amphitheater)
  4. "I Think I'm in Love with You" (Live from Universal Amphitheater)
  5. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Video clip)

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United States June 20, 2005 (2005-06-20) Contemporary hit radio Columbia [67]
Australia September 5, 2005 (2005-09-05) CD [68]

Megadeth version[edit]

"These Boots"
Song by Megadeth
from the album Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!
ReleasedJune 12, 1985
GenreThrash metal
Length3:44
LabelCombat
Songwriter(s)Lee Hazlewood
Producer(s)

American heavy metal band Megadeth covered the song on their 1985 debut album Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!, which is track four on the original release and eight on the 2002 re-release. Their version (entitled "These Boots") featured altered lyrics, and was produced more as a parody than a true cover.

When the album started selling well, the writer of the song, Lee Hazlewood, began demanding that the song be omitted, due to its being a "perversion of the original". Megadeth guitarist and frontman Dave Mustaine made the point that Hazlewood had been paid royalties for years before he made the complaint, although Mustaine eventually omitted the song anyway from newer pressings of the album. When the album was remixed in 2002, a censored version of the song was included as a bonus track. In 2011, an uncensored live version recorded in 1987 was released as part of the 25th anniversary edition of the album Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?. In 1987, Megadeth re-recorded the song as part of the soundtrack for Penelope Spheeris' film Dudes, changing the title to "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". In 2018, the song was released with the original Lee Hazlewood lyrics on the remixed and remastered version of Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!

References[edit]

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External links[edit]