“Bang Bang” is best known from the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s kung fu revenge splatter-pic Kill Bill. The song was written by vertically challenged Republican politician and sometime pop star Sonny Bono, but the definitive version was recorded by Nancy Sinatra for her 1966 album How Does That Grab You?, a record best known for the duet with Lee Hazlewood, “Sand”. The song starts a bit like Rolf Harris’ “Two Little Boys” in that the boy and girl are introduced as children riding on “horses made of sticks“. Rather than fight on opposing sides, the two grow up to become lovers and then to wed. Nancy is abandoned, though:
Now he’s gone, I don’t know why
And till this day, sometimes I cry
He didn’t even say goodbye
He didn’t take the time to lie.
Bang bang, he shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, my baby shot me down
The arrangement eschews her usual bouncy swinging sixties pop for something that is dark, wistful and melancholy – more Francoise Hardy than Sandie Shaw. It’s my favourite of her recordings, with the possible exception of “Some Velvet Morning”. As well as appearing on the Kill Bill soundtrack, “Bang Bang” crops up on Unkle’s Edit Music For A Film – a superb, but under-appreciated double CD.