Lee Hazlewood

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Lee Hazlewood
Lee Hazlewood and Siw Malmkvist in 1968.jpg
Siw Malmkvist and Lee Hazlewood in 1968
Background information
Birth name Barton Lee Hazlewood
Born (1929-07-09)July 9, 1929
Mannford, Oklahoma, U.S.
Origin Port Neches, Texas, U.S.
Died August 4, 2007(2007-08-04) (aged 78)
Henderson, Nevada, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active 1958–2006
Associated acts
Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra on The Hollywood Palace, 1968

Barton Lee Hazlewood[1] (July 9, 1929 – August 4, 2007) was an American country and pop singer, songwriter, and record producer, most widely known for his work with guitarist Duane Eddy during the late 1950s and singer Nancy Sinatra in the 1960s.[2]

Hazlewood had a distinctive baritone voice that added a resonance to his music. His collaborations with Nancy Sinatra as well as his solo output in the late 1960s and early 1970s have been praised as an essential contribution to a sound often described as "cowboy psychedelia" or "saccharine underground".[3]

Early life

The son of an oil man, Hazlewood was born in Mannford, Oklahoma,[1] and spent most of his youth living between Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Louisiana. His paternal grandmother was Native American. He grew up listening to pop and bluegrass music.[4] Lee spent his teenage years in Port Neches, Texas, where he was exposed to a rich Gulf Coast music tradition. He studied for a medical degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.[1] He served with the United States Army during the Korean War.[1]


Following discharge from the military, Hazlewood worked as a disc jockey in Phoenix while honing his song writing skills. His first hit single as a producer and songwriter was "The Fool", recorded by rockabilly artist Sanford Clark in 1956. He partnered with pioneering rock guitarist Duane Eddy in Phoenix,[1] producing and co-writing a string of hit instrumental records, including "Peter Gunn", "Boss Guitar", "Forty Miles of Bad Road", "Shazam!", "Rebel-'Rouser" and "(Dance With The) Guitar Man".

Hazlewood is perhaps best known for having written and produced the 1966 Nancy Sinatra U.S./UK No. 1 hit, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and "Summer Wine". He also wrote "How Does That Grab Ya, Darlin'", "Friday's Child", "So Long, Babe, "Sugar Town" and many others for Sinatra.[2] Among his most well-known vocal performances is "Some Velvet Morning", a 1967 duet with Nancy Sinatra. He performed that song along with "Jackson" on her 1967 television special Movin' With Nancy. Early in 1967, Lee also produced the number 1 hit song for Frank & Nancy Sinatra "Somethin' Stupid". Jimmy Bowen was listed as co-producer but wasn't there at the time. Hazlewood just gave him credit as per a previous agreement with Jimmy. Lee also wrote the theme song "The Last of the Secret Agents", the theme song of the 1966 spy-spoof film of the same title. Nancy Sinatra, who had a role in the film, recorded the song for the soundtrack. For Frank Sinatra's 1967 detective movie, Tony Rome, Hazlewood also wrote the theme song which was performed by Nancy.

He wrote "Houston", a 1965 US hit recorded by Dean Martin. He also produced several singles for Martin's daughter, Deana Martin, including her country hit, "Girl of the Month Club," while Deana was still a teenager. Other tunes on that project were "When He Remembers Me," "Baby I See You" and "The Bottom of My Mind," all recorded during the 1960s.

Hazlewood also wrote "This Town", a song that was recorded by Frank Sinatra that appeared on his 1968 album Greatest Hits and is the basis for Paul Shaffer's "Small Town News" segment theme on the Late Show with David Letterman.

In 1967, Hazlewood started his own record label, LHI Records (Lee Hazlewood Industries). Though it did not receive much attention at the time, the International Submarine Band, led by a then-unknown Gram Parsons, signed with LHI in 1967 and released their one and only album, Safe at Home. Shortly after the album was recorded, Parsons left the band to join The Byrds, contributing several songs to their 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The contract Parsons had signed with Hazlewood's LHI caused a great deal of trouble for himself and The Byrds, and in the court settlement most of Parson's material on Sweetheart of the Rodeo had the vocals removed and re-recorded by Roger McGuinn. This situation led to Parson's departure from the Byrds not long after the album's release. As LHI producer and Hazlewood's ex-girlfriend Suzi Jane Hokom later noted, Hazlewood was a performer and not a businessman, and his lack of business acumen figured greatly in the label's 1971 demise.

In the 1970s Hazlewood moved to Stockholm, Sweden, where he wrote and produced the one-hour television show Cowboy in Sweden together with friend and Director Torbjörn Axelman, which also later emerged as an album.[5]

Lee was semi-retired from the music business from the late 1970s and all through the 1980s. However, his own output also achieved a cult status in the underground rock scene, with songs recorded by artists such as Rowland S. Howard, Kim Salmon and the Surrealists, Miles Kane, Vanilla Fudge, Spell, Lydia Lunch, Primal Scream, Entombed, Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Hooverphonic, KMFDM, Anita Lane, Megadeth, The Ukiah Drag,[6] Beck, Baustelle, the Tubes, Thin White Rope, Yonatan Gat, Zeena Schreck/Radio Werewolf[7][8][9][10] and Slowdive.[11]

In 2006, Hazlewood sang on Bela B.'s first solo album, Bingo, on the song "Lee Hazlewood und das erste Lied des Tages" ("Lee Hazlewood and the first song of the day"). He said that he loved producing and writing albums.[12]

Last recordings and death

In 2005, Hazlewood was diagnosed with terminal renal cancer,[1] and he undertook an extensive round of interviews and promotional activities in support of his last album, Cake or Death.

His last recording was for the vocals of Icelandic quartet Amiina's single "Hilli (At the Top of the World)".[13]

Hazlewood died of renal cancer in Henderson, Nevada, on August 4, 2007, survived by his wife Jeane, son Mark and daughters Debbie and Samantha.[14]

Trouble Is a Lonesome Town cover album 2013

Musician and producer Charles Normal and a group of musician friends, including Black Francis of the Pixies, Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, Larry Norman, Pete Yorn and members of Art Brut and the Dandy Warhols, released their own version of Trouble Is a Lonesome Town in July 2013.


  • 1963 – Trouble is a Lonesome Town
  • 1964 – The N.S.V.I.P.'s
  • 1965 – Friday's Child
  • 1966 – The Very Special World of Lee Hazlewood
  • 1967 – Lee Hazlewoodism: Its Cause and Cure
  • 1968 – Nancy & Lee – a collaboration with Nancy Sinatra
  • 1968 – Something Special
  • 1968 – Love and Other Crimes
  • 1969 – The Cowboy and the Lady – a collaboration with Ann-Margret.
  • 1969 – Forty
  • 1970 – Cowboy in Sweden – two songs are on Forty, and one on Love and Other Crimes
  • 1971 – Requiem for an Almost Lady
  • 1971 – Nancy & Lee - Did You Ever? – a collaboration with Nancy Sinatra
  • 1972 – 13
  • 1973 – I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
  • 1973 – Poet, Fool or Bum
  • 1974 – The Stockholm Kid Live at Berns
  • 1975 – A House Safe for Tigers
  • 1976 – 20th Century Lee
  • 1977 – Movin' On
  • 1977 – Back on the Street Again
  • 1993 – Gypsies & Indians – a collaboration with Anna Hanski
  • 1999 – Farmisht, Flatulence, Origami, ARF!!! & Me...
  • 2002 – For Every Solution There's a Problem
  • 2004 – Nancy & Lee 3 – a collaboration with Nancy Sinatra
  • 2006 – Cake or Death


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Obituary: Lee Hazlewood". BBC. August 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
  2. ^ a b "Singer songwriter Hazlewood dies". BBC. August 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
  3. ^ Michel, Sia (February 1, 2007). "Pop svengali hangs up his boots". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
  4. ^ "LEE Hazlewood interview". Loserslounge.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  5. ^ Leigh, Spencer (August 6, 2007). "Lee Hazlewood Obituary". The Independent. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2007.
  6. ^ "The Ukiah Drag – In The Reaper's Quarters – Wharf Cat Records". Wharfcatrecords.com. September 9, 2014. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  7. ^ "Discogs for Zeena/Radio Werewolf-Boots/Witchcraft". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
  8. ^ "Zeena/Radio Werewolf Boots Single: Cover by fetish photographer Helmut Wolech". Zeena.eu. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
  9. ^ "YouTube of the Zeena/Radio Werewolf version". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
  10. ^ "Discogs for Radio Werewolf/The Vinyl Solution". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
  11. ^ "Discogs for Slowdive/Souvlaki". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
  12. ^ [1] Archived October 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Lee Hazlewood With Amiina: "Hilli (At The Top Of The World)"". Pitchfork Media. October 18, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-16.
  14. ^ Bennun, David (2007-08-06). "Lee Hazlewood 1929-2007". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-11-17.

External links

  • Official website
  • theage.com.au – 'Requiem for a pop hit master'
  • NewYorkNightTrain.com Lee Hazlewood obituary and record guide
  • Lee Hazlewood timeline September 2007
  • Guardian interview
  • Pitchfork article

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