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Frank Talks

Sometime in the sixties, maverick singer, songwriter, and producer Lee Hazlewood was asked by Frank Sinatra to lend a hand in furthering his daughter Nancy’s career.

Lee dropped in at the Sinatra estate one morning to go through some material with Nancy. Frank was in the next room with coffee, cigarettes, and the paper. I can visualise Frank, in an armchair – not a squishy one, rather a more austere, almost upright affair. A quality piece of furniture. There’s a circular glass and steel side table, on which are sat the aforementioned coffee and cigs, a marble ashtray, and an inscribed gold lighter (I like to think it’s from Ava). The chair is positioned so as to benefit from the sunlight flooding in through the French doors, which lead out to the swimming pool. Late-morning sunshine bejewels the water, and the LA sky is a clear Wedgwood blue.

Sinatra is wearing what passes as casual attire for someone who spends a great deal of his time in evening dress. A cream silk shirt, lightweight crimson sweater, and light grey cotton slacks. He wears black indoor loafers, and the toupee is in position.

Wreathed in twists and coils of smoke and engrossed in the paper, he doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to the songs being tried out next door. But, as Nancy and Lee head off to the studio and bid him farewell, he calls for them to wait a minute.

“The Boots number,” he says conspiratorially, “that’s the one.”

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