Nancy Sinatra had some big shoes to fill. Fortunately for the daughter of legendary Frank Sinatra, her smash hit single happened to be about shoes. After “These Boots Were Made For Walkin’” topped the charts in 1966, Nancy became known for her signature mini skirts, big hair and go-go boots.
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During the 1960s, her female-empowering lyrics, like “These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do/one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you,” were groundbreaking, and today, her songs still remain girl-anthems for generations.
The eldest daughter of Frank Sinatra and his first wife Nancy Barbato, Sinatra was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on June 8, 1940. When she was five her legendary father immortalized her in song with “Nancy (with the Laughing Face).” He clearly wanted her to follow in his footsteps, and she spent much of her childhood having singing, piano, dance and drama lessons.
In the late 1950s she was studying music, dancing and voice at the University of California, but she dropped out. In 1961 Sinatra signed to her father’s label, Reprise Records and released her debut single “Cuff Links and a Tie Clip.” Besides a few chart appearances in Europe and Japan, she was going nowhere, and by 1965 she was on the verge of being dropped. It was around this time that Reprise introduced her to Lee Hazlewood, who had been making records for ten years, notably with Duane Eddy.
Hazlewood’s collaboration with Sinatra began when Frank Sinatra asked Lee to help boost his daughter’s career. When recording “These Boots are Made for Walkin’,” Hazlewood is said to have suggested to Nancy, “You can’t sing like Nancy Nice Lady anymore. You have to sing for the truckers.” She later described him as “part Henry Higgins and part Sigmund Freud.”