Original Lee

We assume you’ve all heard Bono and The Corrs’ collaborations on Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood’s ‘Summer Wine’. We thought we’d treat you to the original and some background information.

Lee Hazlewood was most known as a composer, but he was also a solo artist, a producer and a label owner. He songs were covered by Sinatra, Dusty Springfield and Elvis and he produced Duane Eddy, Dean Martin and Chet Atkins.

His breakthrough as a solo artist came in 1965 when he joined forces with Nancy Sinatra. First he was brought in to salvage her career. He lowered her voice a key and a half to make it more natural for her. Then they recorded his song ‘These Boots are made for Walking’. It went to number one in the US charts. Later, Lee was involved in the production of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Something Stupid’.

‘Fucking up the mainstream’ before Bono coined the phrase, Hazlewood’s complex ‘boy-girl’ songs often had a darker edge, with plenty of intentional subtext. PopVoid writes about Summer Wine:

“Superficially, this song tells the story of a young cowboy who stops for a drink when a mysterious young woman offers it to him. The drink, it turns out, is drugged. When the cowboy awakens, he discovers that he has been robbed of all his valuables. But there is more going on under the surface here. “She took my silver spurs, my dollar and a dime/ And left me craving for more Summer Wine.” Clearly, the man has not learned his lesson-or is the Summer Wine addictive? In which case, is this song about heroin? Is this song about anything? Or was Lee just trying to rhyme?”

In recent years his work has been covered by Einstuerzende Neubauten, Lydia Lunch, Nick Cave and Courtney Love. A tribute album, “Total Lee” is scheduled for 2002. Artist contributing are: Jarvis Cocker, Madrugada, Tindersticks, Evan Dando, and many others.

In his seventies now, Hazlewood says: “I was offered opportunities to record with people — it’s a hell of a compliment. I mean, I wouldn’t want my grandfather in the studio with me.”