Just a quick note to say thanks for following me and the Pure Missouri Post this past seven months. I really appreciate you reading these random emails, and I’ve appreciated hearing from many of you.
As of right now, the randomness of the Pure Missouri Post will continue, with me publishing an issue as time allows. I really enjoy researching the history and the oddities of our state, so I am collecting content as we speak, and hope to publish again soon.
In the meantime, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and the most magical of holiday seasons.
—Kevin Worley, The Pure Missouri Post
So, I wasn’t planning on including any editorial with this note, but I just had to add this one timely tidbit.
Do you know the song, “Stagger Lee”, from 1959? If it doesn’t ring a bell, here’s a link, because I bet you’ve heard it somewhere. It starts out slow, but quickly ramps into a swingin’ tune. Get up and dance, or sing along if you feel so compelled; I wouldn’t blame you.
Now, did you know that this classic fifties rocker is based on a 19th-century Christmas Night murder in St. Louis? Yep, in 1895, in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood of ol’ St. Louis, “Stag” Lee Shelton shot and killed Billy Lyons at a saloon following some sort of altercation, apparently involving a Stetson hat. The ensuing African-American folk song was first published in 1911, and Lloyd Price’s 1959 version became a No. 1 hit.
For the full lyrics, and details about “The Vile District” of St. Louis where Stag Lee and Billy Lyons lived and caroused, visit this link to a story by KMOV Television:
And if that isn’t enough, you can dive deeper into the Stagger Lee rabbit hole with this detailed examination of the song in the Financial Times’ “Life of a Song” column:
Until next time….