Nancy Sinatra

[Singer/Fashion Icon]

“I Can’t Seem to Get Out of This Trap. I’m Either Frank’s Daughter or the Person Who Sang with Lee Hazlewood.”
Fashion designers mentioned in this interview:
Mary Quant
Emilio Pucci Laura Aponte
André Courrèges
Coco Chanel

Nancy Sinatra is one of the most fluid superstars of the last fifty years. As a singer, movie starlet, multimedia trendsetter, proto-feminist muse, and fashionista, Sinatra has maintained an undeniable presence in contemporary culture. Through a series of mythic collaborations with Lee Hazlewood, Mel Tillis, Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, Morrissey, and her famous father, she popularized the form of the male-female duet in American rock and roll. Her susurrating vocal style, sourced and echoed a hundred times over by the likes of Kim Gordon, Britta Phillips, and Lana Del Rey, divined the best elements of European chansons, jazz-blues, and confectionary standards with a loping, almost sardonic drawl that belies her New Jersey birthright. Heard in baroque masterpieces like “How Does that Grab You, Darlin’?” and “Summer Wine,” this vocal persona (whose apocryphal description as a “fourteen-year-old who screws truck drivers” is attributed to Hazlewood) caused the producer to refer to her by the affectionate moniker “Nasty.” Her bleached bouffant and leather boots introduced a particularly Californian “go-go” aesthetic from Europe, immortalized in the Movin’ with Nancy TV specials and her omnipresent classic “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.”

Nancy Sinatra’s career mirrors that of countless female artists who have come before and after her; namely, the fact that its prescience and influence have often been diminished (by both men and other women) because of her gender, and that its great successes are sometimes yoked unfairly to the men who surrounded her.

Erik Morse is the author of Dreamweapon: Spacemen 3 and the Birth of Spiritualized (2005) and, with Tav Falco, Bluff City Underground: A Roman Noir of the Deep South (2011). He lives in Los Angeles and is an adjunct lecturer at Southern California Institute of Architecture.

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