RIP Billy Strange–Arranger, Guitarist And Collaborator On “These Boots Are Made For Walking”
You may not know the name [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Billy Strange[/lastfm], but chances are you’ve heard his music.
From his work playing on and helping arrange the Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood hit “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” to the Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet “Something Stupid,” to songs by Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, and Willie Nelson, Strange has certainly left his mark.
Billy Strange passed away Wednesday, Feb. 22 at his home in Nashville. He was 81.
Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Strange picked up musical influences from, among other sources, performing on radio with his parents, and traveling the honky-tonk circuit as a teenager.
He also worked worked in the rodeo, as a truck driver and as a stunt man before settling into music. Early gigs included performing with such legends as Spade Cooley, Roy Rogers, Count Basie, and the amazing guitar duo of Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant.
As a writer, Strange penned “A Little Less Conversation” and “Memories.” He also wrote Chubby Checker’s hit, “Limbo Rock.” As a player, he became a member of the legendary L.A.-based session players the Wrecking Crew. Artists he played with included the Beach Boys, the Everly Brothers, Randy Newman, Willie Nelson, and Nat King Cole.
He also released a series of solo recordings, which veer between playful and haunting–and cross frequently between pop, rock and country–but are always masterful.
Here’s his own (mostly) instrumental take on “Boots”:
Below you can watch Billy Strange accompanying Nancy Sinatra on a knockout, low-key version of her hit “Bang Bang”:
And hear Billy talk about writing the Elvis hit “A Little Less Conversation” in an outtake from the Wrecking Crew documentary:
Latest News from WCBSFM.com >
- Listen to an Alternate Version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’
- Brand New Little Brother Wonders Where His Sister’s “Weenie” Is
- Price Is Right Contestant Takes Celebrating To New Heights
- Interview: Joe Perry on Marriage, His New Memoir and the Future of Aerosmith
- Annie Lennox Says Twerking Has Nothing to Do with Feminism
- Neil Diamond Nearly Broke Down Into Tears Upon Returning To Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn
- Ringo Starr to Star in Skechers Ad Campaign
- Q&A: Jimmy Page on His Favorite Led Zeppelin Album, Beastie Boys, and a Good ‘D’yer Mak’er’ Joke
- Singing Nun Releases Debut Single and It’s Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’
- Paul McCartney Shares Previously Unheard Version of Wings’ ‘Beware of Love’ Featuring Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham