So why is Nancy Sinatra’s Start Walkin’ 1965-1976 on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
I have a vague memory from early childhood of a family member, or perhaps a friend of my parents, being dismissive of Nancy Sinatra’s musical career. They said something derisive to the effect of, “You know, she did that boots are always walking song.”
So it was that I recall making the connection to Nancy Sinatra – in addition to, you know, being Frank’s daughter and all – while watching the Stanly Kubrick-directed Vietnam War movie, Full Metal Jacket, around the time I was thirteen or fourteen years old.
As an aside, Full Metal Jacket was a full-fledged Big Deal movie for my friends and I during that era. I revisited it a few years ago, and it holds up exceptionally well. It’s gritty and harrowing at times, but it’s also darkly satirical (see: my friends and I loving it) and has brilliant performances, particularly R. Lee Ermey as the brutal and borderline sadistic drill sergeant (who carries the weight of the film on his no BS shoulders though the film’s brilliant first half).
And then there was that boots are always walking song, which is of course better known as, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” I’ve always been entranced by that twangy guitar line, those glorious late 1960s-era horns, and especially Sinatra’s voice: powerful and beautiful and alluring. For me, it’s both aligned with the greatness of Full Metal Jacket while standing alone as a great song.
And as much as I love it, I’ve listened to the ska punk version, called “One of These Days,” by Operation Ivy, many times more over the years. It’s incredible, and one of the best cover songs you’ll ever hear.
And back to Nancy, here’s her performance of “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” on The Ed Sullivan Show.
I was familiar with Sinatra’s “You Always Live Twice,” as it was tied to the 1967 James Bond film of the same name, and liked it well enough, but hadn’t really given it a real chance until it was featured in the final scene of the Mad Men Season 5 finale, “The Phantom.”
It’s an iconic scene from an iconic show, and in that moment everything changed for me with relation to the song. I now understand that it’s beguiling and wonderful and devastating all at once. I can’t get enough of it, in a similar way that I’ve gone through lengthy stretches of never being able to get enough of Mad Men over the years.
As you can see, Nancy Sinatra’s music has a way of quickly looping into a pop cultural… well, loop for me. With “Sugar Town,” my immediate feeling is that this is the most Quentin Tarantino movie song ever that hasn’t (yet) been in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Also: it’s great, poppy and sweet and wonderful.
I could go on with more of Start Walkin’s 23 tracks, but I think you can see why it’s an easy top 500 pick for me for the best 1,000 albums ever project.
Some stats & info about Nancy Sinatra – Start Walkin’ 1965-1976
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Pop Music, AM Pop
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Start Walkin’ 1965-1976 released? 2021
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #478 out of 1,000
Nancy Sinatra’s Start Walkin’ 1965-1976 on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Nancy Sinatra’s Start Walkin’ 1965-1976 that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
You only live twice, or so it seems – one life for yourself, and one for your dreams.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.