Singer-songwriter-producer Lee Hazlewood, best known for writing and producing “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ ” for Nancy Sinatra, died of complications from kidney cancer Aug. 4 at his home in Henderson, Nev., just outside of Las Vegas. He was 78.
Besides “Boots,” he worked with Frank Sinatra’s daughter on such hits as “Sugartown” and “Some Velvet Morning” and also produced “Something Stupid,” a duet Nancy recorded with her father in 1967.
In addition, he produced for Duane Eddy and Gram Parsons as well as performed on a number of solo albums and with Nancy Sinatra in three “Nancy & Lee” albums.
Hazlewood was diagnosed with renal cancer in 2005 and released his final album, “Cake or Death” in 2006.
Born Barton Lee Hazlewood in Mannford, Okla., he grew up in Port Neches, Texas, where he picked up a love of music and lyrics. Later he studied medicine at Southern Methodist U., was drafted by the Army and served in Korea. After his discharge, he moved to Phoenix, where he worked as a songwriter and producer, scoring a hit for 1956’s Sanford Clark recording of his song “The Fool.” Eddy’s instrumental recordings of “Rebel Rouser” and “Forty Miles of Bad Road” brought Hazlewood additional hits.
Moving to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, Hazlewood ended up at Frank Sinatra’s Reprise label to produce for Dino, Desi & Billy, the rock band that included the sons of Dean Martin, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.
He first worked with Nancy Sinatra on “So Long Babe” in 1965, followed by “Boots” the next year.
He is survived by his third wife, Jeane Kelley; a son; two daughters; several grandchildren; and great-grandchildren.