Stagger Lee

This morning my friend Bob gave me a copy of the death certificate of Lee Shelton, who died in the prison here in Jefferson City, MO, of tuberculosis in 1912. Shelton was an African American cab driver and pimp convicted of murdering William “Billy” Lyons on Christmas Eve, 1895 in St. Louis, Missouri. [More on Shelton at Wikipedia]

The crime was immortalized in a popular song that has been recorded by numerous artists. Here are just a few:

  • Grateful Dead
  • Tom Jones
  • Pat Boone
  • James Brown
  • Neil Diamond
  • Fats Domino
  • Dr. John
  • Bob Dylan
  • Duke Ellington
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Bill Haley & His Comets
  • The Isley Brothers
  • Huey Lewis and the News
  • Taj Mahal
  • Wilson Pickett
  • Sam the Sham
  • Ike and Tina Turner

You might need a account to listen to the two versions I’ve linked above.

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