Amoeblog


Lee Hazlewood 1929 - 2007

Posted by Whitmore, August 5, 2007 10:30am | Post a Comment


Yesterday, August 4, Lee Hazlewood passed away from renal cancer at the age of 78 in his home in Las Vegas. Born Barton Lee Hazlewood in Mannford, Oklahoma in 1929, he was a music legend and viewed as one of the more iconoclastic figures of 20th-century pop. Just his baritone voice alone made him sound like a cantankerous, hard living son of a bitch. I suspect he was.

Hazlewood was mostly known for his work from the 1950s through the 1970s, he composed such masterpieces as “These Boots Are Made For Walking,”  “Some Velvet Morning,”  “Sand,”  “The Fool,”  “Summer Wine,”  “Houston” and “Trouble Is A Lonesome Town.” He built a reputation as a solo artist, producer, and label owner. In the 1950s he produced Duane Eddy developing the whole ‘twangy’ guitar sound. The single “Rebel Rouser,” co-written by both Eddy and Hazlewood, became a huge international hit in 1958.  As far as being in the public eye, 1965 was his breakthrough year when he teamed up with Nancy Sinatra for a string of hit singles and an album Nancy and Lee.  A few years later his own LHI label, released what is widely considered the first country-rock record, the International Submarine Band featuring Gram Parsons. Over the next couple of decades he produced a series of beautifully odd solo albums that were mostly unheard of in America until Sonic Youth reissued them in the 1990s. His final release, Cake Or Death (Ever), was released earlier this year. 

Side note: I once recorded one of Hazlewood’s songs about 6 or 7 years ago in a duet with Lisa Papineau. The song, “Leather and Lace” from The Cowboy in Sweden album, was the only cut from my CD that got any airplay. But hey! It charted in North Dakota, or was that South Dakota … Minnesota? And Mr. Hazlewood never sued me!

Some Velvet Morning” is one of my favorite Lee Hazlewood song’s. What the hell is it about? Who knows! All I know is that “Phaedra” in Greek mythology commits suicide when she is scorned by her lover Hippolytus. Anyway, it doesn’t matter what it’s about. It’s simply, and weirdly, brilliant.  For all you number nuts out there, the single peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1968, always a good year for music. Here are the lyrics:

Lee:
Some velvet morning when I'm straight
I'm gonna open up your gate
And maybe tell you 'bout Phaedra
and how she gave me life
and how she made it in
Some velvet morning when I'm straight

Nancy:
Flowers growing on the hill
Dragonflies and daffodils
Learn from us very much
Look at us but do not touch
Phaedra is my name

Lee:
Some velvet morning when I'm straight
I'm gonna open up your gate

And maybe tell you 'bout Phaedra
and how she gave me life
and how she made it in

Some velvet morning when I'm straight

Nancy:
Flowers are the things we knew
Secrets are the things we grew
Learn from us very much
Look at us but do not touch
Phaedra is my name

Lee:
Some velvet morning when I'm straight

Nancy:
Flowers growing on the hill

Lee:
I'm gonna open up your gate

Nancy:
Dragonflies and daffodils

Lee:
And maybe tell you 'bout Phaedra

Nancy:
Learn from us very much

Lee:
And how she gave me life

Nancy:
Look at us but do not touch

Lee:
and how she made it in

Relevant Tags

1950's (53), 45's (53), Lee Hazlewood (3), Nancy Sinatra (2), Gram Parsons (5), 1960's (84), Obits (63)