The Riff
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The Riff

The Legend of Stagger Lee

An 1895 Murder Triggered 400 Songs

For well over a century, this American folk story still inspires brilliant music

This is the location of “Stag” Lee Shelton’s “Lid” club (whorehouse). 911 N. 12th Street (Tucker Blvd. now) in downtown St. Louis, Mo. Lee Shelton also owned a nightclub called “The Modern Horseshoe Club.” (Photo by køpper from STL, USA). Artists from left to bottom right: Woody Guthrie, Joe Strummer, Ma Rainy, Lloyd Price, and lyrics from The Clash and The Black Keys. Image by the author/ Pixlr.

A song about a murder composed in 1911 led to an avalanche of great and diverse renditions and covers— as diverse as Duke Ellington in 1927 to The Clash in 1980 to Bob Dylan in 1993 to The Black Keys in…

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Walter Bowne

Walter Bowne

2.2K Followers

This “trophy husband” writes on just about everything. Follow him on Spotify and Youtube: Down with Bowne (rhymes with clown) and Walter Bowne.