The Rulers – Wrong Em Boyo, (The Stagger Lee Story)


The Clash – Wrong ’em boyo

Taj Mahal – Stagger Lee

Stagger Lee , Blues Fest

The night was clear, and the moon was yellow
And the leaves came tumblin’ down. . .

I was standin’ on the corner
When I heard my bull dog bark.
He was barkin’ at the two men
Who were gamblin’ in the dark.

It was Stagger Lee and Billy,
Two men who gambled late.
Stagger lee threw a seven,
Billy swore that he threw eight.

“Stagger Lee,” said Billy,
“I can’t let you go with that.
“You have won all my money,
“And my brand-new Stetson hat.”

Stagger Lee went home
And he got his .44.
He said, “I’m goin’ to the ballroom
“Just to pay that debt I owe.”


Go, Stagger Lee

Stagger Lee went to the ballroom
And he strolled across the ballroom floor.
He said “You did me wrong, Billy.”
And he pulled his .44.

“Stagger Lee,” said Billy,
“Oh, please don’t take my life!
“I’ve got three hungry children,
“And a very sickly wife.”

Stagger Lee shot Billy
Oh, he shot that poor boy so hard
That a bullet went through Billy
And broke the bartender’s bar.

Go, Stagger Lee, go, Stagger Lee!
Go, Stagger Lee, go, Stagger Lee!
(to fade)

Stagger Lee – Mississippi John Hurt

Ike and Tina Turner – Stagger Lee and Billy

Stagger Lee Blue’s
From the cover of this book you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s going to be a Western. But while it’s set in the right period to qualify, Stagger Lee isn’t your typical cowboy. The character of Lee is based in historical fact but has become a folk anti-hero, heralded in songs from the dawn of recorded music through to the artists of today, via such illustrious but varied names as Duke Ellington, James Brown, The Clash and Nick Cave.

Stagger LeeThe story of Stagger Lee is basically straightforward – two men get involved in a drunken brawl, possibly over something as insubstantial as a Stetson, one of them gets shot and the other is punished for his crime. But this is about all that the various songs are capable of agreeing on.


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