Nancy Sinatra and Dolly Parton are very different performers, however, Sinatra once recorded one of Parton’s songs. During one take, the track moved Sinatra to tears — and that’s the version of the song released. Here’s the story of Sinatra’s cover and how the public reacted to it.
Nancy Sinatra said one of Dolly Parton’s songs ‘was the most difficult song’ for her vocally
Sinatra gave the world some songs that are very easy to interpret — like her No. 1 hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” On the other hand, some of her other songs have oblique lyrics like “Some Velvet Morning” and “You Only Live Twice.” Erik Morse of The Believer asked Sinatra if recording songs with otherworldly lyrics was more or less difficult than recording normal songs.
“It was honest,” Sinatra replied. “When you’re an actor—which is what you are when you’re recording songs, you’re acting a part—you just interpret the story. That’s what I’d do: just tell stories. I think the most difficult task I ever had was ‘Down from Dover,’ the Dolly Parton song…. That was the most difficult song for me vocally.”
How Nancy Sinatra reacted to ‘Down from Dover’
For context, “Down from Dover” is a song about a teenager who has a stillborn child. It’s quite frank for its era. Sinatra’s version is a duet with Lee Hazelwood, a country musician she collaborated with many times.
“It’s highly emotional,” Sinatra said. “It’s one of Dolly’s best songs. And I wanted to do justice to it. I had to play the role of this girl who’s waiting for this guy who’s impregnated her to come down from Dover and give this child a name. It was a very dramatic story, and it moved me to tears. When I was crying at the very end of the take, Lee was celebrating in the booth. And he kept that take. But that’s what happens when you’re acting a part. You get wrapped up in it.”
During an interview with The Independent, Sinatra contrasted “Down from Dover” with her most famous track, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” She said “Down from Dover” and other duets allowed her to show off her voice. On the other hand, she viewed “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” as a novelty song.
How the world reacted to Nancy Sinatra’s version of ‘Down from Dover’
Sinatra’s version of “Down from Dover” was not a hit. After all, Sinatra was not nearly as big of a star as her father, Frank Sinatra. However, The Go! Team sampled her cover of “Down from Dover” for their song “Ladyflash” from their album Thunder, Lightning, Strike. The Official Charts Company reports the song reached No. 26 on the British charts. Considering The Go! Team released “Ladyflash” in 2004, Sinatra’s cover seems to have resonated many years after its initial release.
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