This is the series where I feature The Guardian’s idea of the 100 best UK #1s ever, and we see what I have to say about them (which usually isn’t much, to be honest).
We’re staying in the 60s for this week’s entry. Here’s what The Guardian had to say about it:
Had These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ been sung by a man, as its author, Lee Hazlewood, had intended, it would just have been nasty. Sung with insouciant cool by the recently divorced Nancy Sinatra, however, it became something else entirely: camp but tough, funny but fierce, completely irresistible.
I love a bit of Nancy, but have always thought it a shame that this remains her best known, most loved and most iconic songs. For my money, her recorded collaborations with Lee Hazlewood – who, as The Guardian point out, wrote “…Boots…” – are much more interesting, and way better than this, great though it is.
Hazlewood doesn’t appear on Nancy’s version – not singing, anyway, though he is credited as being the “supervisor” of the sessions during which it was recorded – but he did record a version of it himself. Let’s see how on the money The Guardian were when they said it would sound “nasty”:
I’m not sure that “nasty” is quite the way to describe it. Oddly paced and full of weird spoken asides, sure – but nasty? Nah. Although I see how it could have been, if sung by someone with a seedier reputation. Frank Bough, for example. (Young people: look him up, but remember to clear your browsing history immediately afterwards.)
Anyway, Nancy’s version happened to come up on her Twitter feed the other day when she retweeted an invitation to recreate her video for the song as it had “taken over TikTok“. You know TikTok, right? With all the young people, filming themselves?
I had a look on TikTok to see what the fuss is about; I found 132 very short videos, none of which are worthy of your time (admittedly, I didn’t check all 132).
I did track down (by which I mean: typed the words “Nancy” and “boots” into YouTube) the original video in question, which pretty much just shows Nancy strutting her stuff in a pair of boots (not wellingtons) whilst a group of sub-Pan’s People dancers who appear to have forgotten to put their trousers on flail about around her.
See for yourself:
That’s iconic, alrighty.