“One of my fondest memories
of the California Girl collection
is throwing a rough vocal
on ‘Cuando calienta el sol’ in the booth,
with Derol Caraco
playing guitar in the studio,
and having it come out well enough
for the release!
Who’da thunk it.”
Written by brothers Carlos and Mario Rigual, “Cuando calienta el sol” was popularized internationally in 1962 by their vocal group with third sibling Pedro: Los Hermanos Rigual.
There would be almost 500 different interpretations globally by 1964 (according to Cash Box), including English language versions as “Love Me With All Your Heart.”
“The English version does not
even come close
to the Spanish.
It’s a completely different song.”
“Cuando calienta el sol
Aquí en la playa
Siento tu cuerpo vibrar
Cerca de mi
Es tu palpitar
Es tu cara
Es tu pelo
Son tus besos
Oh, oh, oh”
“The lyrics talk about
how when the sun is hot on the beach,
passions rise and
‘I’ can get delirious with desire…
…wanting ‘your’ arms around me
and so forth.
It’s a very sexy song.
But then, making out on the beach
is always sexy –
if I remember correctly.”
“There’s something important
going on with that song.
People react to it
because it’s so powerful.”
“[Hal David’s lyrics]
do give you a description
of something that’s just fascinating.”
– Albert Hammond
Composer Albert Hammond and lyricist Hal David were without their longtime collaborators by early 1975. Hammond had generated an impressive catalog of songs with Mike Hazlewood, including Hammond’s signature hit, “It Never Rains In Southern California.” Prolific and legendary songwriting duo Burt Bacharach & Hal David had also recently parted ways after a string of hits by songstress Dionne Warwick throughout the 1960s. Hammond would team up with David to create one of the most memorable songs of the 1970s: “99 Miles From L.A.”
Albert Hammond and Hal David
In a 2009 interview with Will Hodgkinson for Sky Arts’ Songbook series, Hammond recalled meeting Hal David and how he had initially underestimated Hal’s lyrics for “99 Miles.”
“I thought I was having a baby!
I had stomach ache.
This is like one of the greatest songwriters
in the world.
I’m gonna write with him!
What am I gonna do?
“We did very well.
He’s a wonderful person:
understood that I was nervous. …
“At first, after Mike,
‘I don’t think I like these lyrics,
but how do I tell Hal David that?’ …
I later said to myself,
What a mistake I was making.’ …”
– Albert Hammond
Renditions of “99 Miles From L.A.” were released by Johnny Mathis, Art Garfunkel and Hammond, all in 1975. Hammond’s version became a number one hit in the U.S. on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart, reached the Hot 100, and provided the title track for his 1975 U.K. album which he and Hal David primarily wrote and produced. Of the single, Cash Box’s March 15, 1975 review opined:
“Albert Hammond is driving to L.A.,
seeing his lady
in every passing piece of scenery,
and delivers a behind-the-wheel song
that will get behind your heart.
Deep impressions are left
by this fine production
by Hammond and Hal David.”
The long and winding history of a Nancy signature song continues. Nancy’s 1966 rendition of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” is sampled on the track “Good Guy” from former One Direction band member Zayn Malik’s new album, Icarus Falls.
“It shows how important it is
to keep the good old stuff coming back
so new generations
can make it their own.”
“Billy Strange created the arrangement
and the haunting sound.
I asked Billy
to do something wonderful
with his guitar,
and he did!
It’s his lonely guitar
that makes our record memorable.”
Nancy’s collaborations with arranger, guitarist, producer, music publishing partner and dear friend Billy Strange spanned five decades. In an interview conducted a few years before his passing in 2012, Billy reminisced about his work with Nancy and “Bang Bang” in particular.
“Nancy Sinatra gave me this instrument.
This is the guitar
I did ‘Bang Bang’ with.
“I got on an airplane
to fly to … Italy or France.
And she came on board the airplane,
carrying this guitar,
and handed it to me.
It’s a Gibson 335,
which is just an unheard of guitar.
I mean it’s unbelievable.
– Billy Strange
At the annual Memorial Day weekend Rolling Thunder events in Washington, D.C. in 2004, Nancy received a very special gift in appreciation for all that she has done in support of our troops and veterans. Cliff Treese and Ron Shouse, former Marines who had survived the Viet Nam War’s Battle of Khe Sanh, presented to Nancy a custom-made jacket with a yellow rose and her name embroidered on the front and a pair of combat boots on the back, along with a pink cap from fellow survivor Glen Rappold. (Special thanks to Cliff Treese and Cole Pierce for providing the photos from Rolling Thunder.)
Cliff Treese, Nancy and Ron Shouse
“The boots on the back
were the actual ones
worn by Cliff at Khe Sanh.
He took a picture of them
and then had them embroidered
on my jacket.”
Cliff Treese at home in 2003, with the boots
that would be represented on the back of Nancy’s jacket.
“The fact that he went to so much trouble
for a gift for me is humbling.
“Another example of
how we get back so much more
than we can EVER give these guys.”