"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" is a pop song written by Lee Hazlewood and recorded by Nancy Sinatra. It was released on February 22, 1966, and hit No. 1 in the United States Billboard Hot 100 and in the UK Singles Chart.[2]

Subsequently, many cover versions of the song have been released in a range of styles: metal, pop, rock, punk rock, country, dance, and industrial. Jessica SimpsonGeri HalliwellJewelOperation Ivy and KMFDM also released covers of the song.

Contents[edit | edit source]

 [hide*1 Nancy Sinatra version

Nancy Sinatra version[edit][edit | edit source]

Recording[edit][edit | edit source]

Nancy Sinatra was encouraged by Lee Hazlewood to sing the song as if she were "a sixteen-year-old girl who fucks truck drivers."[3][4][5] Sinatra's recording of the song was made with the help of Los Angeles session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew. This session included Hal Blaine on drums, Al CaseyTommy Tedesco, and Billy Strange on guitars, Ollie Mitchell, Roy Caton and Lew McCreary on horns, Carol Kaye on electric bass, and Chuck Berghofer on double bass, providing the notable bass line.

According to Carol Kaye, "Arranger Billy Strange believed in using the two basses together. Producer Lee Hazlewood asked Chuck to put a sliding run on the front of the tune. Chuck complied by playing notes about three tones apart (4-6 frets apart), but Lee stopped the take. 'No Chuck, make your sliding notes closer together', and that is what you hear."[citation needed]

According to Al Casey, "Well, Lee and I had been friends forever, and he said, 'I've got this song I'm working on, and I want the guitar to play this.' And he showed me, because there's a little bit more than banging on an 'E-chord', which is what most people do. There's more to it than that. He said, 'I want you to do this on the song,' and he sang the song and played the rhythm guitar lick, and I went 'Oh, that's cute!', little suspecting it was gonna be huge."[citation needed]

Nancy Sinatra would later record one of Don Lanier's songs on her 1969 album NancyNick Bonney was the guitarist for the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.

Personnel[edit][edit | edit source]

Other personnel, as seen in the AFM (American Federation of Musicians) contracts for the session include:[6]

Release[edit][edit | edit source]

The second single taken from her debut album Boots, and follow-up to the minor hit "So Long, Babe," the song became an instant success. In late February 1966, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a move it replicated in similar charts across the world.

When the single was first released, some thought it had to do with the subway strike in New York.[citation needed] That same year, Sinatra recorded an early music video for the song. It was produced by Color-Sonics, and played on Scopitone video jukeboxes. In 1986, for the song's twentieth anniversary, cable station VH1 played this music video.

In popular culture[edit][edit | edit source]

In 2006, Pitchfork Media selected it as the 114th best song of the 1960s. Critic Tom Breihan described the song as "maybe the finest bitchy kiss-off in pop history".[7]

The song was used in a number of ways related to the Vietnam War:

  • During television news coverage in 1966/67, the song was aired as a soundtrack as the cameras focused on US Infantrymen on patrol during the Vietnam War.[citation needed]
  • In 1966 and 1967 Sinatra traveled to Vietnam to perform for the troops. Many US soldiers adopted the song as their anthem, as shown in Pierre Schoendoerffer's academy award winning documentaryThe Anderson Platoon (1967).
  • The song's popularity with US Infantrymen in Vietnam was reprised in a scene in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987).
  • Sinatra played herself, re-enacting her 1960s performance of the song in Vietnam, in episode 6 (June 1988) of the television show China Beach.
  • In 2005, Paul Revere & the Raiders recorded a revamped version of the song using Sinatra's original vocal track. It appeared on the CD Ride to the Wall, Vol. 2, with proceeds going to help Vietnam veterans.
  • Variation of title used in dialog for Four for TexasFrank Sinatra's character says "They tell me those boots ain't built for walking" when Dean Martin's character is walking back towards him after trying to get away. At the end of the scene when Dean's character gets the drop on Frank's, he says "And you're right about those boots. They sure ain't made for walking."

Goodyear Tire and Rubber used portions of the song for its 1960s' ad campaign promoting its "wide boots" tires. Nancy Sinatra unsuccessfully sued Goodyear for using the song, claiming that it had violated her publicity rights.[8] In the 1997 film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, the Fembots were introduced to the strains of the opening and closing notes of the song.

The song is mentioned by title in The Stone Roses' 1989 song "Fools Gold" ("These boots were made for walking/The Marquis de Sade don't wear no boots like these").

Episode 1 of the 2004 BBC miniseries Blackpool featured the Sinatra recording, accompanied on screen by the singing and dancing of the characters, as part of the story.

The song is featured in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode #9.24 "All In", air date May 14, 2009.

The song also is featured in Are You There, Chelsea? episode 11 ("Boots", March 21, 2012).

The song is also featured in the Family Guy episode, Quagmire's Dad.

The song was parodied in Pizza Hut ads starring Jessica Simpson and Miss Piggy ("These bites are made for poppin', and that's just what they'll do; once of these days these bites are gonna pop right into you.")

The song's lyrics were varied in the computer game Spy Fox 2: "Some Assembly Required", in a scene where villain Napoleon LeRoach has ordered spit-roasted boot bernaise (an entree in the shape of the boot). ("This boot was made for eating." "And that's just what I'll do!" "Pretty soon that boot is going to be inside of you.")

Charts[edit][edit | edit source]

Chart (1966) Peak


U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
UK Singles Chart[2] 1
Australia Kent Music Report 1
Italian Singles Chart 3

Dika Newlin version[edit][edit | edit source]

In the 1995 documentary film Dika: Murder City, the 74-year-old Dika Newlin, dressed in leather and backed by the band Apocowlypso, performed a punk rock version of the song in a concert sequence.[9]

Megadeth version[edit][edit | edit source]

Megadeth covered the song on their 1985 debut album Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!, which is track four on the original release and eight on the 2002 re-release. Their version (entitled "These Boots") was more of a parody than a cover and featured altered lyrics.

When the album started selling well, the writer of the song, Lee Hazlewood, began demanding that the song be omitted, due to its being a "perversion of the original". Megadeth guitarist and frontman Dave Mustaine made the point that Hazlewood had been paid royalties for years before he made the complaint, although Mustaine eventually omitted the song anyway from newer pressings of the album. When the album was remixed in 2002, a censored version of the song was included as a bonus track. In 2011, an uncensored live version recorded in 1987 was released as part of the 25th anniversary edition of the album Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?.

Geri Halliwell version[edit][edit | edit source]

In 2000, Geri Halliwell recorded this song for the soundtrack to the film Rugrats in Paris: The Movie. It was also included as a B-Side in her single Bag It Up, ranking number one in the UK charts.

Jessica Simpson version[edit][edit | edit source]

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
Single by Jessica Simpson
from the album The Dukes of HazzardOriginal Soundtrack
Released May 26, 2005 (US)

August 29, 2005 (UK)

Format Digital downloaddigital maxi single
Genre Country popdance-pop
Length 4:10 (radio edit)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Lee Hazlewood; Jessica Simpson (additional; uncredited)
Producer(s) Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Certification Gold(RIAA


Jessica Simpson singles chronology
"What Christmas Means to Me"


"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"


"A Public Affair"


Music video
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" at VEVO.com

Jessica Simpson recorded her own version of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (and added her own lyrics) for the soundtrack to the film The Dukes of Hazzard (2005). Simpson's cover was co-produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and was released as the soundtrack's first single in 2005. It became Simpson's fifth top-twenty single in the United States, and its music video drew some controversy because of its sexual imagery.[10][11]

The song was listed at #90 on ARIA Charts: Best of All Time - Singles.[12]

Recording and release[edit][edit | edit source]

Simpson's version of the song is performed from the point of view of her character in The Dukes of HazzardDaisy Duke, and it has several major differences from Sinatra's version. The song's lyrics were changed almost completely as Simpson felt that they did not accurately convey the feelings needed for the film; in the original Sinatra dealt with a cheating boyfriend, while in the new version Simpson explored Daisy Duke's personality and experiences. She rewrote the majority of the lyrics herself, although some elements were retained such as the opening line "You keep saying you got something for me..." and the spoken "Are you ready, boots? Start walkin'".

Simpson also added some new music to her version of the song. Whereas the original version did not have a bridge, she created one for the cover. A risqué rap-like/spoken breakdown was added after the bridge. Because of the legalities of songwriting, Simpson has not been credited for the new music or lyrics that she wrote. The production of the song was altered as well. Producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis gave the cover a country-inspired production because of its relationship to the film The Dukes of Hazzard, but they also added a more hip hop-like beat.

In an interview with GAC Nights, Jessica stated that her record label did not want to promote the song because of its country feel, even though the song is more pop than country. She said that she told the label "It's a great song and Willie Nelson's on it with me" and she said the label told her pop radio wouldn't understand that importance.[citation needed]

Chart performance[edit][edit | edit source]

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" peaked at fourteen on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and in late 2005 the RIAA certified the single Gold for 500,000 legal downloads or more. Its digital downloads were high, but radio airplay was low. Due to this, it's the song that reached the lowest chart position on the Billboard Hot 100 for a song topping the Hot Digital Songs chart. It reached the top ten on Billboard's Pop 100 chart, and was Simpson's first single to appear on the chart. On 11 December 2006 the single was certified Gold by the RIAA again, this time by Epic Records. In total, the single has received 1 million digital downloads.

Internationally it was a success, reaching top 5 in several European countries. It became her biggest hit in Australia, where it reached number two and remained in the top forty for twenty-four weeks. In Ireland, the single also reached number 2. The song also cracked the top five in the United Kingdom, where it reached number four and is to date, her highest peaking single in that territory. It reached the top ten in the chart European Hot 100 SinglesBelgium, and New Zealand and the top twenty in AustriaSwitzerland and Germany. As the end of the year 2005, the single has selling 69,500 copies in UK.[13]

Music video[edit][edit | edit source]

The video, directed by Brett Ratner, has caused some controversy because of its sexual imagery. Mostly have to do with Jessica shaking her rear to numerous men and rubbing her rear against a man's crotch. The scene was well-publicised, with Simpson admitting to the public and the media that she went on the South Beach Diet to achieve her well-toned look in the video. Because of its sexual imagery, the music video is banned in all Middle Eastern and North African nations except AlgeriaIsraelIraqLebanon, and Turkey. In Malaysia, it was eventually edited with some of the scenes removed.[citation needed]

It was parodied as "The Dukes Are Not Worth Watching" by MADtv, with Nicole Parker portraying Simpson.[citation needed]

Charts and certifications[edit][edit | edit source]

Versions[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Soundtrack version) – 4:10
  2. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Original version) – 3:35
  3. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Radio edit) – 4:10
  4. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Instrumental) – 3:35
  5. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Scott Storch Mix) – 4:43
  6. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (E-Smoove Vocal Mix) – 6:59
  7. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Bimbo Jones Vocal Club Mix) – 6:00
  8. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Bimbo Jones Radio Edit) – 3:14
  9. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Bimbo Jones Dub) – 6:03
  10. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Ed n' Richie Club Mix) – 5:16
  11. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Gomi & Escape's Club Mix) – 9:05
  12. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Gomi & Escape Mix) – 9:03
  13. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Gomi & Escape's Dub) – 6:13

CD single[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Radio edit) - 4:10
  2. "With You (Live from Universal Amphitheater)
  3. "Take My Breath Away" (Live from Universal Amphitheater)
  4. "I Think I'm in Love with You" (Live from Universal Amphitheater)
  5. "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Video clip)

Selected list of recorded versions[edit][edit | edit source]

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