Afternoon Snack: Cher/Nancy Sinatra, “Bang Bang”

OK, so I am kind of into letting the Spotify do its thing. Mostly, on the 35-minute ride to the links, I have picked an artist and let the streaming rip, but this morning I was feeling nostalgic, so I dug around and found a 60’s hits stream.

There was a bunch of Dylan and Doors, and the Turtles along with the Isley Brothers and ultimately Stevie Wonder when Bang Bang, by Nancy Sinatra came on.

Let’s be clear. I hated These Boots Were Made for Walking (save the cool bass walkdown at the end) from the first time I heard it, as a 13-year old in 1966. I did not think Nancy Sinatra talented. Her singing wasn’t chanteuse-like a la Marlene Dietrich, nor was it pretty, a la Connie Francis (sorry, I had a mad crush on Connie as an eight-year old).

There was nothing that seemed remotely real about Sinatra the daughter (or son, who did redeem himself with a guest shot on Family Guy). And, for extra fun, remember that Frank Jr. was kidnapped out of Harrah’s in 1963, and that Dean Torrance–the Dean of Jan and Dean–was involved in that caper.

Nancy just seemed the epitome of plastic to me: worse, she was a moderate talent at best who was able to cash in on her father’s name and fame, for had she been Jane Doe from Everytown, Iowa, Nancy would never have had a hit record.

There is this quasi Django Rheinhardt gypsy-ish guitar in the background of Nancy’s version, but basically it just blows. I was happy for I Was Made to Love Her to kick on after Bang Bang was shot.

As a means of comparison, I did go out an find the Cher version, which is far more orchestrated than I remember. I do like Cher’s voice: at least I did back then and to a degree for Cher was like Neil Diamond in that I liked her early stuff, but as she got bigger and mainstream, her songs seemed cornier, and I was disinterested.

The thing I like about the Cher version is the clear Phil Spector/Sonny Bono influence. Also, at the time, I knew she was a shitload hotter than Nancy could ever hope to be. I mean, Nancy could only hope to attract the likes of Gene Simmons, Gregg Allman, or Richie Sambora.


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