Lee Hazlewood sadly died on the 4th of August this year, and just a week later he was joined by Anthony H. Wilson ,the founder of Factory records. Only last year we also lost the great Syd Barrett and Arthur Lee and Love also in the month of August and within a week of each other.Lee Hazlewood died peacefully at his home just outside of Las Vegas after a three year struggle with cancer.

Lee's musical career started back in 1955. Before he even began to write songs he was a DJ, before eventually teaming up with Duane Eddy and helping to develop Duane's twang style guitar. He wrote as well songs for the young Elvis Presley and set up his own label LHI which released in 1968 'Safe at Home' the only album of the International Submarine Band, Gram Parson's first group to make a recording.

In the 1960's he also teamed up, in what he is most famous for, with Frank Sinatra's daughter Nancy and they did recorded two joint albums together, 'Nancy and Lee' (1968) and 'Did You Ever' (1972) and had various hit singles.

In the 1970's he moved to Sweden and recorded a number of albums which remained quite obscure until these were reissued in the late 1990's on Smell Like Records which was the label of Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth.

Sadly my introduction to him was via a 'Best of' album, which even when I bought it was out of print. No collection of his best work is in print at the moment, and pretty much everything he has recorded is hard to find apart from his final album, 'Cake or Death', which was released last summer.

Lee's most famous songs are 'These Boots Are Made for Walking', which Nancy Sinatra sang twice at her debut UK show at the London Royal Festival Hall during Morrissey's Meltdown Festival and the even better 'Some Velvet Morning' which is one of the best songs ever written and has been covered by Slowdive and Primal Scream. The latter featured Kate Moss on vocal who did Nancy's part. Lee re-recorded both songs for'Cake or Death'.

I saw him in concert only twice, on both occasions at the Royal Festival Hall, and I met him both times. On the first occasion he was the last person to leave the building at 1.20 a.m. on a Monday morning, but on the second occasion he came out and signed for everyone before joining the aftershow. Despite already being ill with the cancer, he did a brilliant show that night of rare Lee material as well as a medley of hits, which was the only time I got to hear a bit of 'Some Velvet Morning' live.

The first solo album I heard was 2002's City Slang's 'For Every Solution, There's a Problem' which is a collection of songs not used and out takes and demos. If anyone else had chucked these away, then it would have been stupid, but Lee's catalogue was so rich and he wrote so much that he could afford not to use them. This was as good a place to starta s any. I have since bought every Lee Hazelwood vinyl LP or CD I have come across and not one record has dissappointed me.

Goodbye, Lee. We miss you dearly.










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