“I love Here We Go Again. What a beautiful song.”
“I don’t know why every singer on earth didn’t record it.”
“A country gem, this is beautifully arranged and produced by Billy Strange.
One of the writers was our friend, Don Lanier.
His nickname was ‘Dirt.’ I still have no idea why.”
Here We Go Again
Songwriter, musician, session contractor and record label executive Don “Dirt” Lanier passed away on July 23rd.
Initially a country guitarist, Lanier became a musicians contractor, booking players for recording sessions, through his association with friend and former Rhythm Orchids bandmate Jimmy Bowen. Bowen would emerge as Reprise Records’ head of a&r (artists and repertoire) and be responsible for the professional union of Nancy and Lee Hazlewood.
Pictured at one of Nancy’s 1960s sessions are Don Lanier, producer Lee Hazlewood, arranger Billy Strange and Nancy.
“Dirt was one of the good guys.”
Cherished by Nancy and her fans alike, her recording of “Here We Go Again” carries an especially interesting history, which includes its aerial incarnation at 30,000 feet in October 1969. The song originally made a significant impression on the record-buying public as a 1967 chart hit for Ray Charles. Six years earlier, one of Ray’s 1961 shows at the Zebra Lounge had made a significant impression on Nancy.
“It was the night of my 21st birthday and my then husband, Tommy Sands, [...] planned a surprise party for me at a club in downtown Los Angeles.
[...] it was a small funky place that was mostly a bar.
“So we are sitting there waiting for the show to start and somebody says, ‘What’s going on? Where is Ray?’ It seems Ray was outside in his car waiting for his money before he would go on. There were grumpy people left
but we stayed until the man came on.
It was worth every minute of fidgeting.
He was so good I cried.
My mom loved him too.”
This summer marks the golden anniversary of Nancy’s silver screen debut. Released in June 1964, the collegiate romantic comedy For Those Who Think Young signaled the birth of what Nancy has humorously called her “epic film career.” Six more motion pictures would follow, culminating in two big box office hits: The Wild Angels (with Peter Fonda) and Speedway (with Elvis Presley). The latter two would make Nancy the “Top Female Box Office Personality” in 1967 and 1968 respectively, according to the motion picture exhibitors’ organization.
“…I was definitely a Hollywood kid–my feet firmly rooted in celluloid,
in glorious Technicolor.”
Nancy began her acting career in 1963, with guest roles on two recently launched television series: a singing barmaid on The Virginian (pictured, left) …
“I was scared to death because it was my maiden voyage as an actress.
I sang a song called, ‘If I Had Tears’ and, since I played a barmaid,
I was supposed to drink shooters like a sailor might.
(No offense to the US Navy.)
“It was a disaster!
… and a secretary on Burke’s Law (pictured, right). Coincidentally, Nancy had briefly attended Speedwriting/secretarial classes after her time at the University of Southern California.
“When I graduated from high school, I enrolled in college–at USC. I loved school except for one problem familiar to so many students–the subjects that I wanted to take had so many prerequisites that I had to take two years of garbage in order to get to my major. I wanted music appreciation, but I ended up dissecting frogs and wondering what I was doing in college.
I left school in my first semester to pursue a career as a singer.”
An emissary of peace, Nancy emerges as Morrissey’s mysterious muse. Bearing an attaché case containing thought-provoking lyrics, Nancy delivers a quietly powerful performance in World Peace Is None of Your Business, a daring promotional video directed by Natalie Johns for Morrissey’s latest single and forthcoming album of the same name.
Demonstrating Nancy’s observation that “Irony and Morrissey seem to go together,” Morrissey challenges the status quo:
“World peace is none of your business
You must not tamper with arrangements
Work hard and simply pay your taxes
Never asking what for
Oh you poor little fool, oh you poor little fool
World peace is none of your business”
In an April 28, 2014 tweet, Nancy intimated that their latest alliance was imminent.
Prior to the release of Nancy & Morrissey’s 2004 collaboration on “Let Me Kiss You,” they were photographed by Amanda.
For more about Nancy and Morrissey,
see “There’s a place in the sun…”: Nancy & Morrissey