Gary: “I have decided to look at a single song. This is a song that I have always enjoyed. Now it’s history is also very interesting.
The Song: Stagger Lee or Stagolee or Stackerlee or Stack O Lee or Stack-a-lee.
The first time that I paid any attention to it was in 1958 when Lloyd Price recorded it and it appeared on American Bandstand, Dick Clark insisted that the colourful terms be omitted; he did not want the mention of Murder and Mayhem on his show.
From what I can tell the song was written in 1910 by John Lomax and the version that reached #1 in 1958, by Lloyd Price was definitely the unedited version.
It was a song that was well known in the African American communities along the Mississippi in the 1910 period.
I have searched and found many different recordings. I hope that you will take the time to listen to each one, as they all bring something new to the table.
I must admit that even white pop singer, Tommy Roe did a great version of the song. I love that one, and Lloyd’s, but the folk version by Doc Watson and even Taj Mahal are great.