She'll Grow Back: Stagger Lee Saturdays: Lloyd Price Month

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stagger Lee Saturdays: Lloyd Price Month

So the story goes like this: Dick Clark didn't like the violence in Lloyd Price's hit version of Stag. So he asked Price to go back in the studio and re-record it. Time and time again, Clark is accused of this, but I've never seen any proof, or a definitive statement from anyone who was there, or anything I'd trust. Price appeared on Bandstand and sang Stag unbowdlerized, with the shooting intact, so I question just how much of the blame for this rests on Dick Clark's head.

This version has no Stetson hat, no killing, not even any gambling or drinking. Here Stag and Billy argue, not over cheating at dice or politics, but over Stag's girlfriend. These lyrics are so terrible, I have to assume they're at least a little tongue-in-cheek. Stagger Lee, the badass to end all badasses, is turned into a little whiny bitch in this version: "I don't wanna see him no more"??

Musically, I still like this version -- since it was recorded at basically the same time, with as far as I can tell the same musicians, it doesn't suffer from the usual curse of rerecordings. (And boo hiss for rerecordings!) Instead it suffers from the curse of the well-meaning censor. (Also, boo hiss for well-meaning censors!)

Come back next week to hear a much later rerecording...


CD said...

Alright, i hate to say this to you, but the shiznass is still fuknazz.

i would love for you to send me the last two Lloy pieces.

Or don't.

Your call.

Mark H. Besotted said...

Like I said up there, I have no problem with this musically.

I actually haven't ripped next week's track yet. Or listened to it, at all, since the year I bought it, almost a decade ago. (I don't remember how good or bad it is, so no promises either way.)

Tom Hughes said...

My interest is in Chuck Willis' recording of Betty & Dupre also in 1958. It has been suggested Willis dropped the original murder in the song from the traditional lyrics and the song became one about a guy buying a ring for his girl. This was supposedly in response to the reaction to the "violence" in Staggerlee.
Any thoughts.