stagolee shot billy

Robert Hunter and the Myth of Stagger Lee

Stagger Lee shot Billy DeLyon.  It’s a story that’s been told countless times, and in many of those stories Stagger Lee is the hero.  But for Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, the hero was found not in Stagger Lee, but Billy’s widow.  This paper looks at how Hunter accomplished this and compares the song he wrote with another song about Stagger Lee, written and performed by Lloyd Price.

This is a paper I wrote for a university English class, and the paper is still formatted like a university paper, complete with references.  I hope this may be of use to someone else who is researching a topic this paper touches on.

Many thanks to my friend Sarah Masek, who proofread the paper and offered several suggestions to improve it, most of which I followed.  Many thanks to professor Stoker as well for his challenging but rewarding class.

Click here to read/download the paper in PDF format.