Thursday, August 16, 2012

Speedway (1968).

Speedway (1968). Musical/action film. Cast: Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra. Scenes were shot at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. The film features guest appearances by many top stock-car better known now as NASCAR drivers . This would be the final "formula" musical film of Presley's career. The only guitar to be featured in the film during the performance of, 'Aint Nothing Like a Song' a sunburst Fender Coronado is used.

Playboy Steve Grayson, spends most of his time earning a living as a Stock-Car racer and helping his friend Abel Esterlake, support his large family. Steve, soon finds out that his manager, Kenny Donford, has lost all his prize money gambling at the race track.

To make matters worse, Steve owes a large sum of back taxes and Internal Revenue Service, sends Susan Jacks, to investigate the Steve's finances. After a ruff start Susan and Steve, fall in love and together they try to come up with the money he owes.

While qualifying for a race, Steve has an accident that seriously damages his car. Will he be able to repair the car in time for the race?

I thought this was a fun film and the chemistry between Elvis and Bixby and Elvis and Nancy are believable. The best musical numbers, "Your Time Hasn't Come Yet Baby" and Nancy's solo number "Your Groovy Self".

Fun Facts:

Nancy Sinatra sings the song, "Your Groovy Self" in this movie. The song was also included in the soundtrack LP, making it the first and only song by another artist to be released on an official Elvis Presley record.

Script originally offered to Sonny Bono and Cher.

Director Norman Taurog had his granddaughter in the film as an extra.

Racing sequences was filmed with 10 cameras.

Petula Clark was the first choice for the female lead but she turned it down. Annette Funicello was also briefly considered.

Nancy Sandra Sinatra (born June 8, 1940),was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the daughter of singer/actor Frank Sinatra and his first wife, Nancy Barbato Sinatra. Sinatra began to study music, dancing, and voice at the University of California in Los Angeles. She dropped out after a year and made her professional debut in 1960 on her father's television special, The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis, welcoming the return of Elvis Presley home from Europe following his discharge from service in the US Army. Nancy was sent to the airport on behalf of her father to welcome Elvis when his plane landed. On the special, Nancy and her father danced and sang a duet, "You Make Me Feel So Young/Old".

Sinatra was signed to her father's label, Reprise Records, in 1961. Her first single, "Cuff Links and a Tie Clip", went unnoticed. However, subsequent singles charted in Europe and Japan. Without a hit in the US by 1965, she was on the verge of being dropped. Her singing career received a boost with the help of songwriter/producer/arranger Lee Hazlewood, who had been making records for ten years, with Duane Eddy.

Hazlewood became Sinatra's inspiration. He had her sing in a lower key and crafted pop songs for her. He gave her a make over with bleached-blonde hair, frosted lipstick, heavy eye make-up and Carnaby Street fashions.  Sinatra made her mark on the American and British music scene in early 1966 with "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", its title inspired by a line in Robert Aldrich's 1963 western comedy 4 for Texas starring her father and Dean Martin.

One of her many hits written by Hazlewood, it received three Grammy Award nominations, including two for Sinatra and one for arranger Billy Strange. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The camp promo clip featured a big-haired Sinatra and six young women in loose sweaters, go-go boots and hot pants. The song has been covered by artists such as Geri Halliwell, Megadeth, Jessica Simpson, Lil' Kim, Little Birdy, Billy Ray Cyrus, Faster Pussycat, KMFDM, Symarip, Operation Ivy and the Del Rubio Triplets and The Supremes.

A run of chart singles followed, including the two 1966 Top 10 hits "How Does That Grab You, Darlin'?" and "Sugar Town". "Sugar Town" became her second million seller. The ballad "Somethin' Stupid" a duet with her father hit #1 in the US and the UK in April 1967 and spent nine weeks at the top of Billboard's easy listening chart. It earned a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year and remains the only father-daughter duet to hit No.1 in the US It became Sinatra's third million-selling disc.

Other 45s showing her forthright delivery include "Friday’s Child" (1966), and the 1967 hits "Love Eyes" and "Lightning’s Girl". She rounded out 1967 with the raunchy but low-charting "Tony Rome", the title track from the detective film Tony Rome starring her father, while her first solo single in 1968 was the more wistful "100 Years".

Sinatra, performed many duets with Hazlewood, starting with "Summer Wine" . Their biggest hit was a cover of the country song, "Jackson" in 1967.

 In December they released the song, "Some Velvet Morning", regarded as one of the more unusual singles in pop, and the peak of Sinatra and Hazlewood’s vocal collaborations.

 In 1967 she recorded the theme song for the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice. In the liner notes of the CD reissue of her 1966 album, Nancy In London, Sinatra states that she was "scared to death" of recording the song, and asked the songwriters: "Are you sure you don't want Shirley Bassey?" There are two versions of the Bond theme. The first is the lushly orchestrated track featured during the opening and closing credits of the film. The second more guitar-heavy version appeared on the double A-sided single with "Jackson".

In 1966 and 1967 Sinatra traveled to Vietnam to perform for the troops. Many US soldiers adopted her song "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" as their anthem, as shown in Pierre Schoendoerffer's academy award winning documentary, The Anderson Platoon (1967) and reprised in a scene in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987). Sinatra recorded several anti-war songs, including "My Buddy", featured on her album Sugar, "Home", co-written by Mac Davis, and "It's Such A Lonely Time of Year", which appeared on the 1968 LP, The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas.

In 1988 Sinatra recreated her Vietnam concert appearances on an episode of the television show China Beach. Today, Sinatra still performs for charitable causes supporting US veterans who served in Vietnam, including Rolling Thunder Inc..

Sinatra starred in three 'beach party' films: For Those Who Think Young (1964), Get Yourself a College Girl (1964) and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966). She was also scheduled to appear in the role that went to Linda Evans in, Beach Blanket Bingo, but was unable.

In 1966 she also starred in, The Wild Angels with Peter Fonda and Bruce Dern and in 1968 she shared the screen with Elvis Presley in Speedway, her final film. She was the only singer to have a solo song on an Elvis album or soundtrack while he was still alive. Since his death, several previously unreleased Ann-Margret solo recordings have appeared on Elvis albums, but Sinatra's was the first.

She also made appearances on: The Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Virginian and starred in television specials. These include the Emmy-nominated 1966 Frank Sinatra special A Man and His Music - Part II and the 1967 NBC Emmy Award nominated for 'Special Classification of Individual Achievements' by choreographer David Winters TV special Movin' With Nancy, in which she appeared with Lee Hazlewood, her father and his Rat Pack pals Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., with a cameo appearance by her brother Frank Sinatra, Jr. and guest star appearance by West Side Story dancer David Winters. At one point in the video, Sinatra shared a kiss with Sammy Davis, Jr. She has stated "The kiss one of the first interracial kisses seen on television and it caused some controversy then, and now. The special also features Winters' choreography, dancing and dancers. As there was no Emmy Award category for Choreography – the shows Emmy Nomination was placed in the 'Special Classification of Individual Achievements' category.

Possibly due to this specials choreography a new category for 'Outstanding Choreography' was created by the Emmys the next year. Movin' With Nancy was sponsored by Royal Crown Cola.

1970s and 1980s Sinatra remained with Reprise until 1970. In 1971, she signed with RCA, resulting in three albums: Nancy & Lee – Again (1971), Woman (1972), and a compilation of some of her Reprise recordings under the title This Is Nancy Sinatra (1973). That year she released a non-LP single, "Sugar Me" b/w "Ain't No Sunshine". The former was written by Lynsey De Paul/Barry Blue and, with other covers of works by early-70s popular songwriters, resurfaced on the 1998 album How Does It Feel.

In the autumn of 1971 Sinatra and Hazlewood’s duet "Did You Ever?" reached number two in the UK singles chart. In 1972 they performed for a Swedish documentary, Nancy & Lee In Las Vegas, which chronicled their Vegas concerts at the Riviera Hotel and featured solo numbers and duets from concerts, behind-the-scenes footage, and scenes of Sinatra's late husband, Hugh Lambert, and her mother.

By 1975 she was releasing singles on Private Stock, which are the most sought-after by collectors. Among those released were "Kinky Love", "Annabell of Mobile", "It's for My Dad," and "Indian Summer" (with Hazlewood). "Kinky Love" was banned by some radio stations in the 1970s for "suggestive" lyrics. It saw the light of day on CD in 1998 on Sheet Music: A Collection of Her Favorite Love Songs. Pale Saints covered the song in 1991.

By the mid-1970s, she wanted to concentrate on being a wife and mother. She returned to the studio in 1981 to record a country album with Mel Tillis called Mel  and Nancy. Two of their songs made the Billboard Country Singles Chart: "Texas Cowboy Night" and "Play Me or Trade Me".

In 1985, she wrote the book Frank Sinatra, My Father. 1990s–present At 54 Sinatra posed for Playboy in the May 1995 issue and made appearances on TV shows to promote her album One More Time. The magazine appearance caused some controversy. On the talk show circuit, she said her father was proud of the photos. Those close to the Sinatras claimed that family members were upset with the nude photo spread. Sinatra told Jay Leno on a 1995 Tonight Show that her daughters gave their approval, but her mother said she should ask her father before committing to the project. Sinatra claims that when she told her father what Playboy would be paying her, he said, "Double it."

She and Lee Hazlewood embarked on a US tour playing the House of Blues, the Viper Room, the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, the now-defunct Mama Kin in Boston, the Trocadero in Philadelphia, and The Fillmore. That year, Sundazed Records began reissuing Sinatra's Reprise albums with remastered sound, new liner notes and photos, and bonus tracks. She also updated her biography on her dad and published Frank Sinatra: An American Legend.

 In 2003 she reunited with Hazlewood once more for the album Nancy & Lee 3. It was released only in Australia. One of her recordings a cover of Cher's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" was used to open the 2003 Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol. One. In 2005, Sinatra's recording was sampled separately by the Audio Bullys and Radio Slave into dance tracks (renamed into "Shot You Down" and "Bang Bang" respectively), and by hip-hop artist Young Buck in a song titled "Bang Bang", as well as covered for a single and music video by R&B artist Melanie Durrant. Sinatra recorded the song for her second Reprise album, How Does That Grab You? in 1966.

She and Billy Strange worked on the arrangement, and it was Sinatra's idea to change the song into a ballad. Sinatra's father asked her to sing it on his 1966 TV special A Man and His Music - Part II. The footage of Sinatra's performance on that special was used in the Audio Bullys' music video of "Shot You Down." Taking her father's advice from when she began her recording career ("Own your own masters"), she owns or holds an interest in most of her material, including videos.

In 2004 she collaborated with former Los Angeles neighbour Morrissey to record a version of his song "Let Me Kiss You", which was featured on her autumn release Nancy Sinatra. Providing Sinatra with her first hit for over 30 years. The follow-up single, "Burnin' Down the Spark", failed to chart. The album, originally titled To Nancy, with Love, featured rock performers such as Calexico, Sonic Youth, U2, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, Steven Van Zandt, Jon Spencer, and Pete Yorn.

Two years later EMI released The Essential Nancy Sinatra, a UK-only greatest-hits compilation featuring the previously unreleased track, "Machine Gun Kelly". The collection was picked by Sinatra and spans her 40-year career.

Sinatra also recorded "Another Gay Sunshine Day" for Another Gay Movie in 2006. Sinatra received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 11, 2006, which was also declared "Nancy Sinatra Day" by Hollywood’s mayor, Johnny Grant.

In 2002, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to her. Sinatra appeared, as herself, on one of the final episodes (Chasing It) of the HBO mob drama The Sopranos.

Sinatra recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's 'Hip-Hop Literacy' campaign, encouraging reading of Tarantino screenplays and related books.

September 2009 saw the release of Sinatra's digital-only album Cherry Smiles: The Rare Singles, featuring previously unreleased tracks and songs only available on 45.

Sinatra now hosts a weekly show on Sirius Satellite Radio, Siriusly Sinatra, where she shares her personal insights about her father.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice post! I've been looking for an old musical to watch and I think this will be the one this weekend.

    I love Nancy Sinatra's cover of "Bang Bang (Shot Me Down)".



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