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 >
- 5 Things About ‘The Interview’ from Someone Who Has Seen It
- George Harrison, Bee Gees to Receive GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Awards
- Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, ABBA Among 2015 GRAMMY Hall of Fame Inductees
- Game of Thrones Author Offers to Screen ‘The Interview’ at His Movie Theater
- An Animated Questlove Chases Patti LaBelle and Fried Chicken: Watch
- Watch Stephen Colbert Attempt to Sell Michael Stipe at a Yard Sale
- Derby The Disabled Dog Learns How To Run On 3D Printed Legs
- Joan Jett to Open for The Who
- Cyclist Collides with Deer, Cyclist Wins
- Paul McCartney Talks Video Games with Jon Stewart: Watch