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.