HER SWINGIN' '60s CREDENTIALS: This heavily styled songstress scored major mid-'60s success with hit movies like Elvis's Speedway and hit songs like "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," "Sugar Town," and the smooth "Somethin' Stupid" with dad Frank.
CATEGORIES OF SWINGIN' CHICK: Songbird, Elvis Girl, Movie Star, and TV Star
BIRTH: She was born in '40, so she hit the decade at nineteen. Her exotic birthplace: Jersey City, New Jersey.
IMPACT ON THE '60s: The eldest child of the legendary Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra established herself in the '60s as one of the decade's pre-eminent teen rebels, a nice departure from the gentle vocals of early-'60s stars like Annette Funicello and Shelley Fabares. In '66 she hit the top of the charts with her assertive anthem, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'." "Summer Wine," "Sugar Town," "Love Eyes," and "Somethin' Stupid" quickly followed giving her a total of ten top-forty hits in a three-year period. Then she was a movie star, highlighted by her prominent screentime in Elvis's Speedway in '68. In it she belted out "Your Groovy Self," one of the few times an actress was allowed to solo in an Elvis movie. Her popularity is credited with helping the movie do boffo box-office biz.
CAREER IN THE '60s: She was busy most of the decade first as a budding singer, then as a young singin' movie star that teens could idolize. Early in the decade she was appearing in teen-oriented movies like Get Yourself a College Girl and For Those Who Think Young (both in '64), but her singing, while popular in other countries, was still mired in saccharine puddles of soft pop and novelty tunes. A radical remake of her image mid-decade positioned her as a tough, no-nonsense alternative to conservative singers like Lesley Gores and Connie Francis. "Boots" and her other hits fortified her movie career. She sang the song "Geronimo" in The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini in '66, a movie that also had Deborah Walley (Nancy was singing by the pool wearing hiphuggers and a tank top). A starring role alongside Peter Fonda in The Wild Angels ('66) was followed by a starring role alongside Elvis in Speedway ('68). During this time she had her own innovative TV special, "Movin' with Nancy," which brought her a Golden Globe nomination as Best TV Star. In '67 she also joined a select group of vocalists who sang a theme song for a James Bond movie (You Only Live Twice). Then when she appeared on an episode of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." called "The Take Me to Your Leader Affair," she played a character named Coco Cool and sang a song -- called "Trouble" -- with Illya Kuryakin, played by David McCallum. In '67 and '68 she performed in Vietnam for the troops, and in '69 she headlined in Vegas (some kind of record was set during her stint, because her dad and brother were also performing in separate hotels at the same time).
CAREER OUTSIDE THE '60s: She was born in Jersey in '40, and by the end of the '44 everybody knew her name because of her dad's song about her, "Nancy with the Laughin' Face" (one of the song's co-writers was funnyman Phil Silvers). Nancy's first major showcase was on Frank's '59 TV show, where she sang as part of a vocal group called the Tri-Tones. A year later she was on her dad's celebrated TV special, the one with Elvis as a guest star. Then came her movie roles and hit songs. After the '60s, Nancy spent the next two decades concentrating on her family, with only sporadic recording. Her most famous post-'60s exposure came in the pages of Playboy, where she posed nude in May '95; to her credit, she still looked remarkably good (supposedly her dad was coolly accepting of the idea). In the summer of '99 she appeared at L.A.'s legendary Whisky nightclub to promote the post office's release of a new "peace" stamp, part of a new stamp series devoted to the '60s (others in the series include Barbie and Ford Mustang stamps). Proving that she is still one of the most durable and popular stars to emerge from the '60s, her concert appearances now are wonderful nostalgic visits to a gently remembered past. On December 29th of 2000 she played the legendary Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip, joined there by Eric Burdon for a well-received show that was being recorded for Nancy's first-ever live album. She wore a gold miniskirt and boots, and she rocked the club with a blend of old hits and covers of newer songs like the Georgia Satellite's "Keep Your Hands to Yourself." Praising her, the L.A. Times wrote that she "convincingly projected the sweet-sexy bombshell image of her youth. Let's see Britney Spears do that 40 years from now." Among those in attendance: reclusive producer Phil Spector.
TALENT: She was a Sinatra, so you know she had the goods. Nancy herself downplayed her talent when she told the S.F. Chronicle in April '99: "What little success I have can be directly attributed to the songs," and she credits singer Lee Hazlewood with creating her distinctive sound "part spaghetti Western, and part Los Angeles pop, liberally sprinkled with strange lyric twists."
HER '60s LOOK: Big hair and high makeup ... uh, or is that high hair and big makeup, a look that she perfected and popularized in the mid- and late-'60s. Really that look was a throwback to the glamour girls of an earlier era, and it soon fell out of favor as the more natural "hippy" look gained favor at the end of the decade. She helped make go-go boots a fashion staple, of course; according to that April '99 Chronicle article, she proudly states that her "success wasn't all Hazlewood's doing, I took it a step from there with the image." Scoring hit songs overseas before she stormed the U.S. pop charts, she said, "I traveled, and I brought back fashions that hadn't yet been seen here, like [designer] Mary Quant, I had the good fortune of going to Carnaby Street in the early '60s. Of course, when I came back here, my friends would ask me where I was gonna go play tennis, because they'd never seen a miniskirt! Of course, the boots were an absolute necessity because of the song."
LIFESTYLE: In '60, twenty-year-old Nancy married pop singer Tommy Sands, who would star with Annette in Babes in Toyland a year later. Nancy and Tommy divorced in '65. Later stories linked her with both Bobby Darin and Elvis. Whatever her brief relationship was with Elvis, it allegedly broke off when his wife, Priscilla Presley, announced she was pregnant. Nancy then threw Priscilla's baby shower. Early in the '70s Nancy remarried and gave birth to two girls. Upping her coolness quotient, she hung out a lot with Frank Sinatra, probably more than anyone else at this site.
EXTRAS: She's the older sister of Tina and Frank, Jr. ... according to the April '99 Chronicle article:
"Three decades after stumbling onto the prototype for the no-nonsense woman in rock, Sinatra has adopted a certain attitude. 'It's not negative, exactly. It's more self-confidence, and also a bit of self-preservation.' She's comfortable with her place in pop history. 'I'm not going to go down as one of the world's greatest singers. I don't have a shot at that. But I still have people say they always know it's me when they hear a record of mine, even if they don't recognize the song. I guess that's something."
... one of her latest projects is a statue of Frank Sinatra that's she's hoping will be erected in New York's Times Square, Nancy has proposed and commissioned the work by sculptor Neil Estern, in fact the statue may be interactive and will croon tunes on command ... Nancy has her own Web site: Nancy's Official Web Site.