We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Lee Hazlewood was country music’s answer to Scott Walker, or perhaps Serge Gainsbourg: a stylist of lush, stylish (if au courant) pop melodies and arrangements that stood in perfect contrast to the dark or dryly humorous stories he told in the songs. The most famous example, of course, was his composition “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” whose campy sound still, after 40 years, obscures its wry tongue-in-cheekness (“You keep lyin’ when you oughta be truthin'”), but his other collaborations with Nancy Sinatra— “Summer Wine” and “Some Velvet Morning” being among the best—had a certain haunting mystery to them, as did most of his work.
But I just heard of Hazlewood’s death (after a two-year battle with renal cancer) at 78 this past Saturday…and it’s just sad enough that I can’t quite bring myself to memorialize him with any of his more depressing songs today. So instead I present a clip and a song both guaranteed to bring a smile to your face: the charming “Hey Cowboy,” shown here in a clip from his 1970 Swedish TV special Cowboy in Sweden (where he looks surprisingly like Gainsbourg, by the way).