It saddens me deeply to report this sort of news, but word just came down the wire that the great Lee Hazlewood passed away in>"/>
It saddens me deeply to report this sort of news, but word just came down the wire that the great Lee Hazlewood passed away in Las Vegas last night. I just spoke with Hazlewood proprietor Drew Church, and he assures me they'll be holding some sort of memorial event at the bar that was named in his honor--I'll post details about that local event as they become available. The complete press statement from Hazlewood's family is after the jump.
His Boots Will Keep On walking
It is with great sadness that we announce that LEE HAZLEWOOD has died peacefully at his home outside Las
Vegas, USA, after a three year struggle with cancer. He celebrated his 78th birthday earlier this month
surrounded by family and friends from around the world. He passed away on August 4th, 2007, in Henderson, Nevada, and is survived by his son Mark, his daughters Debbie and Samantha, and his devoted wife Jeane.
For over half a century, LEE HAZLEWOOD proved himself to be one of the most ingenious, inspired and
impressively stubborn sons-of-a-bitch the music industry ever saw. His career – a word that HAZLEWOOD
himself scorned – saw him take on almost every aspect of the music industry – a word that HAZLEWOOD himself was equally dismissive of – and come out on top every time. Most famous for his work with Nancy Sinatra – he wrote and produced many of her biggest hits, including These Boots Were Made For Walking, Sugartown and the unforgettable Some Velvet Morning – HAZLEWOOD in fact started his musical career as a DJ in Coolidge, Arizona. It was here he first met Duane Eddy, with whom he began to flesh out and record some of his songs. In 1955 he set up Viv Records and in 1956 hit paydirt with Sanford Clark’s legendary The Fool, and the following year he gave up DJing to focus on production and writing. In the early 1960s he
established the LHI label (which is best known for having released the debut album by Gram Parson’s first
group, The International Submarine Band) and began releasing his own solo albums, including the
extraordinary "Trouble Is A Lonesome Town".
In the mid sixties, in the face of The British Invasion (led by the likes of The Beatles), HAZLEWOOD
retired to the shadows (where he was always most comfortable) only to be reluctantly dragged out to
work with Nancy Sinatra. Their work together – including the iconic Boots – was an overnight success
and saw her become a star in her own right worldwide, but she also insisted that HAZLEWOOD step out in front of the microphone himself, leading to the release of three "Nancy & Lee" albums.
In the early 1970s HAZLEWOOD moved to Sweden to ensure his son was not drafted by the US military. He
recorded a series of solo albums there as well as collaborating with film director Torbjörn Axelman, but
then ‘retired’ again, working only occasionally over the next two decades. Instead he began to follow an
itinerant lifestyle which he pursued until very recently, living in Ireland, Germany, Spain and of course America. However it was the rediscovery of this work two decades later by a new generation of
musicians – including the likes of Sonic Youth, whose drummer Steve Shelley tracked HAZLEWOOD down and
reissued a number of his solo albums on his Smells Like Records imprint – that led to a resurgence of
interest in his work as a performer. In the late 90s he returned to the studio to record the typically
cryptically titled standards album "Farmisht, Flatulence, Origami, ARF!!! and Me", and in 1999 he
returned to the stage at the invitation of Nick Cave who was curating that year’s Meltdown Festival in
London. Following a sold out show at the Royal Festival Hall he sanctioned the release of two albums
of unreleased material, most notably "For Every Solution There’s A Problem", toured Europe, and then
returned to the studio to record his final album, "Cake Or Death", which was released to worldwide
acclaim in 2006.
The family have requested that those wishing to honor LEE HAZLEWOOD should make donations to the Salvation Army.