The songwriter and guitarist Billy Strange has died aged 81.
The musician co-wrote several songs for Elvis Presley with Mac Davis, including ‘A Little Less Conversation’, which, while only a minor success on release in 1968, became a worldwide hit after it was heard in 2001 film ‘Ocean’s 11’ thanks to Junkie XL’s remix.
As well as his work with ‘The King’, Strange also played guitar on records by, among others, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Wanda Jackson and The Beach Boys – including several tracks on their seminal ‘Pet Sounds’ – while perhaps his most-famous performance came on Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’.
Strange and Nancy Sinatra had a long and fruitful relationship. He arranged most of the singer’s Lee Hazlewood-produced recordings in the 1960s, including ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’, also working with her on the non-soundtrack version of James Bond theme ‘You Only Live Twice’ and her duet with her father ‘Something Stupid’.
Sinatra announced the news of Strange’s death on her Twitter page, saying her “heart was shattered” by the news.
Strange was also a singer, and performed the vocals for Steve McQueen in ‘Baby The Rain Must Fall’.
Strange died in Nashville, Tennessee on February 22. As yet the cause is unknown. He had two children, Russell and Kelly, from two marriages.