Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Duglas Bandit on Lee Hazlewood...

"I wanted to write something here about Lee Hazlewood, who died after a 3 year battle with cancer on August 4th.
I wanted to say something about how his remarkable records were often more like "movies for the ears" rather than just songs, a bit like the Shangri-las but completely different.
I wanted to say how he would live on through the legacy of not just his own recording but the multitude of artists that have made music with clear shades of Lee in them (Johnny Thunders, Belle & Sebastian, Nick Cave, My Bloody Valentine, Dean & Britta, Richard Hawley, The Vaselines, Lambchop, Pulp, Sonic Youth, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Isobel Campbell, Primal Scream, BMX Bandits are just a few).
I wanted to say something about his moustache, about his exile in Sweden, about Duane Eddy's Girl on Death Row, about Dino, Desi & Billy and about the recordings with Suzi Jane and with Nancy.
The first time I ever heard Some Velvet Morning it moved me in a way only a few records ever move you in a life time and it still does "it" for me on every listen.
But somehow I couldn't get together the words to say what I wanted to say about Lee Hazlewood...sorry about that. But never fear I discovered this set of posts from Lee's most famous "musical wife" Nancy that I think say much more than any old words could ever say."
Thanks also to Tony (Ron) Thewlis for also sending that link.

Dean Wareham on Lee from a Dean and Britta myspace bulletin...

Just back from a weekend at the beach, launched my computer and found five different emails about Lee Hazlewood's passing yesterday at age 78. It has been a week of big losses – Bergman, Antonioni, and now Hazlewood. Inspirations all, but it is Hazlewood whose death hits me the hardest. We put "Soul's Island" by Lee on the stereo last night and drank a glass of wine in his honor.

I spent an afternoon with Lee in 1999. I had been given the opportunity to conduct an interview – on the phone – for CMJ magazine. Figuring this might be my only chance to meet in person, I bought myself a ticket to Orlando, FL, where he was living. We spent the afternoon at his house near the airport, drinking white wine, smoking cigarettes and chatting about his records (he also signed my entire Hazlewood collection).

I was first given a mixtape of Lee's songs in 1990, while touring Europe with Galaxie 500, and began looking for his out-of-print vinyl wherever I traveled. Great titles like Requiem for An Almost Lady, Hazlewoodism: Its Cause and Cure, and my personal favorite Love & Other Crimes.

Hazlewood was an American treasure. A pioneering producer of early rock and roll (producing Duane Eddy) – Phil Spector even visited Lee's studio to learn how he made these records sound so great. A wonderful songwriter, from "These Boots Are Made For Walking," "Some Velvet Morning," "My Autumn's Done Come," "Your Sweet Love" (which string arrangement we borrowed for "Night Nurse") on through "The Old Man", the final song on his most recent album, Cake or Death. And a hugely charismatic singer, whose pipes come at you like the voice of God (he explained exactly how he got that effect). Sure, there are more versatile singers, but his was a voice I always wanted to listen to. Many is the night I have laid on the sofa listening to Nancy & Lee's sing "You've Lost That Loving Feeling".

We will continue to do so, but it won't be the same.

Dean, August 6, 2007

Click here for excerpts from my 1999 interview with Lee.