On February 26, 1966, “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” by Nancy Sinatra hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Sinatra’s signature song became a definitive part of 1960’s pop culture and an expression of the growing independence of women. In her Grammy-nominated song, a sharpshooting Sinatra makes it perfectly clear that the new go-go boot generation of women had swagger. Also, they were ready to start walkin’ if mistreated. A testament to the timelessness of Sinatra’s classic song, it has been covered by a multitude of artists and included in many movie soundtracks. Meanwhile, the original music video for the memorable pop hit has well over a 100 million views on YouTube.
Sinatra was on the brink of getting dropped from her famous father Frank Sinatra’s record label. When she heard “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” she was convinced that she found the hit single she needed. However, songwriter Lee Hazlewood did not see it as “a girl’s song.” Sinatra explained in a 2016 interview with Los Angeles Magazine, “I told him that coming from a guy it was harsh and abusive, but was perfect for a little girl to sing.” Even her father agreed. He told her, “The song about the boots is the best.”
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With its catchy bassline simulating the sound of boots walking, coupled with Sinatra’s assertive delivery, the song became an instant success. Years later, Sinatra attributed her song’s appeal to both its assertive message and fashion: “Girls always want a pair of boots.” To promote the song, Sinatra recorded a fashion-focused music video that now remains an enduring image of the Swinging 60s. Surrounded by a half dozen go-go dancers, Sinatra wears a very short black sparkly outfit, sheer black tights and black boots. She provocatively delivers her song, strutting and dancing the Frug while accompanied by her backup dancers.
Sinatra let her boots do the walking and talking at the dawn of the women’s liberation movement. Over 50 years since its release, “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” continues to be a part of any independent woman’s soundtrack.