Obit of the Day: Long, “Strange” Trip
When Nancy Sinatra put on her walking boots Billy Strange was there. When her baby shot her down, Bill Strange was there. When Elvis made memories, Bill Strange was there. When the Beach Boys recorded pet sounds, Billy Strange was there.
Billy Strange was a guitarist, songwriter, and arranger who worked with some of the best-known artists and made some of the most popular records of the 1960s. He arranged Nancy Sinatra’s hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” and played guitar on “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).” (“Bang Bang” was featured on the soundtrack of Kill Bill.) When Elvis came to Los Angeles, Strange wrote “Memories” and “A Little Less Conversation” for the star.
Strange began playing guitar when he was 14 years old and became a touring musician at 16. Later he became part of a group of session musicians living in L.A. They played on albums by the Beach Boys (including Pet Sounds), The Byrds, Sonny and Cher, and Frank Sinatra. The gentlemen earned the nickname “The Wrecking Crew” because older session musicians thought that rock and roll would “wreck” music.
Billy Strange and the other members of the Wrecking Crew were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee in 2007. Mr. Strange died at the age of 81.
(How Does That Grab You? is copyright of Boots Enterprises, Inc., 2006)