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

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stagger Lee Saturdays: Lloyd Price Month

Here's an insane story. In 1958, Lloyd Price was on tour to promote his huge hit "Stagger Lee." While in Louisville, Kentucky, he met a young kid outside the Top Hat Lounge, too young to go in but full of piss and vinegar. The kid was a boxer, he said, and he was gonna be the heavyweight champion of the world. Sure you will, said Lloyd, and made friends with the kid. That kid's name was Cassius Clay. (And now you know, as the man says, the rest of the story.)

Harold Logan, who co-wrote "Personality" and Lloyd's take on Stag, was a Cleveland boy, and introduced Lloyd to a guy he knew from Cleveland, named Donald King, a numbers runner and smalltime boxing promoter. And so Lloyd Price, hisownself, introduced Don King to Muhammad Ali.

(Sometimes I get the feeling that, if I study Stag long enough, I'll learn a little bit about everything ever in the history of the universe.) And as interesting as that story is, the only reason I told you is this: in 1998, HBO was making a movie about Don King, which was going to star Ving Rhames (who'd go on to win the Golden Globe and give it to Jack Lemmon). Price and Logan were also portrayed in the film, by Vondie Curtis-Hall and Lou Rawls, respectively. And Lloyd was approached about rerecording his two biggest hits for the soundtrack.

He went to a young friend of his, Freddie Foxxx, and asked him to rap over "Stagger Lee" and "Personality." So here is Lloyd's 1998 take on Stag. Lloyd sings the story, as Freddie interpolates his version of the lyrics in his raps, linking the original 1958 "badass" story to the gangsta style of forty years later.

(This glorious page says that Price had previously rerecorded Stag in 1989, but I've never heard that one.) One final note -- my webhost is being a real bitch today (this post has been written for four hours while I tried to upload one song), so I'm trying out a new one. Let me know what you think.


CD said...

Hey, it worked this time!!!

Mark H. Besotted said...

Thanks for your input -- as you'll see in the new post, I'll be putting most things in 2 places from now on to eliminate these headaches.