Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It's what's beneath that mass of blonde hair and thick mascara. A.K.A. It's not the father and definitely not the boots.

You may have known her to be Frank Sinatra's daughter or the girl with the boots made for walking or you may not know her at all. You may know her by name because Lana Del Rey said she's one of her influences, that she's a "gangsta Nancy Sinatra" or because you heard a Glee version of her song so you looked for it in YouTube. Well either you know her or not is not really my problem.

Lately I've been having trouble sleeping and exams are being thrown at me from all directions and most of the sleepless nights I spend with the naughty little Sinatra girl. I remember first hearing her on Sunday radio when I was just a kid. My mom used to listen to the radio in full volume on Sunday mornings (1. music makes cleaning not that tiring 2. the radio screaming early in the morning will definitely make us get out of bed and help her).

I have a certain inclination to women with deep and raspy singing voices (i.e. Kim Carnes has the best raspy voice in her Bette Davis Eyes) and Nancy Sinatra is one of them. She has this haunting seductive voice that gets even better because of the way she stares, like she has a secret, like she's not happy at all and she has this certain Nancy Sinatra swagger – a provocative yet square and glamorous bad girl.

I have handpicked fifteen songs that I like most. I swear it was really hard to keep it at fifteen. Actually I was only planning to choose five, and then it became ten, and now it's fifteen, and I thought to myself this has got to end. (It's hard to rank them in number too.)  Anyway, tell me you didn't feel any fondness to her or her songs after taking the time listening. Or not.

15. Burning Down The Spark – If you have watched Django Unchained, you'd probably couldn't help but think about it while listening to the first parts of Burning Down the Spark. And then it gets a bit jazzy cowboy with the strings and horns. And you'd probably couldn't help but sing to "All these memories still come to haunt me."

14. Sugar Town (1967) – Zooey Deschanel has sung this and she has done good. This song is pink clouds, rainbows and cups of sunshine in a sexy catsuit.

13. Let Me Kiss You (2004) – Morrissey made this song for Nancy (a big plus!). It's Morrissey all the way but it's Nancy through and through

12. Light My Fire (1969) – It's not a secret that I love The Doors more than anything that's why this cover is in the list. Too seductive and too lustful. That's all.

11. Kinky Love (1976) – Though it sounds like a song from a chick flick, Kinky Love was allegedly banned because of its highly suggestive content, "I need you kinky love. Take me inside and let the honey slide." The 90's cover by the Pale Saints is noteworthy.

10. Jackson (1967) – This is not another bias choice. This is here not because it's my second favorite Johnny Cash and June Carter song (Ring of Fire being the first), but because it's so good it's in par with the original version.

9. It Ain't Me Babe – This being a Bob Dylan original is a plus, and this having been covered by Cash is another plus, and this being one of my favorite songs is yet another plus. All the pluses aside, this is a really good cover of the song, my favorite female cover together with that of Joan Baez.'

8. Machine Gun Kelly (2006) – A rare single recorded in the 70's but released in 2006. This was an original James Taylor song inspired by an American gangster and his wife. 

7. You've Lost That Lovin Feelin' (1968) – Originally by The Righteous Brothers, is another one of the numerous duets with Lee Hazelwood. One of my favorite ballads that shows how good Lee and Nancy complement each other's voices.

6. Love Eyes (1966) – Another ballad, but more on the blues side. I don't know why but every time this song plays I'd go crave for some The Platters and more, more blues.

5. Kind Of A Woman (1972) – This should better be in your list of lady feel good songs. There's so much lady spirit here. "Well I'm a no man's lady if you're no lady's man." Makes you want to play hard to get.
4. California Dreamin' (1970) – from the all over the place harmonies of the original version to this minimal cover with just Nancy's voice and a wistful guitar solo by Billy Strange, you'd think that this song was made to be sung by Nancy.

3. Summer Wine – Another Lee and Nancy duet. You'll easily get captivated  in the "Strawberries, cherries and an angel's kiss in spring," and you'll hardly notice it, but you'll be singing along with the "Ooh summer wine" at the end of every verse, and before you know it you'll get dancey (I know it's not a word) and the song will end, but it's okay because you'll play it again.

2. Something Stupid (1966) – If my number one song in this list is not eternally the number one song in this list, this would probably take its place. (You might think: "Of course it's number two, so if number one's gone, it will take its place." But you get me, I know you get the same feeling sometimes.) Aside from the fact that this is a duet between Nancy Sinatra and Frank Sinatra, the strings at the beginning and throughout, the melody of the whole song, the lyrics, and it being so so sweet, is just perfect.

1. Bang Bang (1966) – I'm almost certain that you know this song, especially if you know Beatrix Kiddo a.k.a. The Bride. a.k.a. Black Mamba. If you listen to this ballad-ish dreamy version again and again, you'd think Cher's uptempo original sounds weird, like it's a bad cover of Nancy's.

Other notables:
Some Velvet Morning (1967)
This Boots Are Made for Walking (1966) – This is the song that made her known, but I don't really like it and at the same time I feel obliged to put this here.
Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone (1971)
Friday's Child (1966)
You Only Live Twice (1966)

All images courtesy of Google. It was hard to look for the original source.

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