This song was written by Joey Burns, who is the frontman for the Tucson band Calexico. In 2000, Calexico recorded a song Burns wrote called "Ballad of Cable Hogue," which was titled after a 1970 film of that name. Shortly thereafter, they met Lee Hazlewood, who told them the song reminded him of a duet he did with Nancy Sinatra called "Summer Wine."
A few years later, Burns learned that Nancy was looking for songs for her 2004 album, so he wrote "Burnin' Down the Spark" for her. He wrote the song in New York City on the Fourth of July, 2003. Burns put himself in Nancy's mindset, thinking about what it would be like looking over a city her father influenced in so many ways.
"It's about chasing down that love you have for someone," Burns told us. "The only thing Nancy said was, 'Can you re-record it and I'll sing on top of it? Can you transpose it to a different key?' And I said, 'No problem.' So it was so easy to work with her. And then a couple of years later we were performing at The Getty Museum in Los Angeles and she came to the show. She loved it and we breakfast together - she bought the whole band breakfast. It was with her daughter A.J. It was really cool. So it was a very special time to get to meet her and since then I've followed what she's been doing. She's great. She's very true to some of her causes, like performing for troops and veterans of the Vietnam War. That's something I really admire about someone of that caliber: she's still really connected and grounded."