Lyrics to
Stagger Lee

Released by Grateful Dead in 1978
From the Album: Shakedown Street |

This version of Stagger Lee was released by Grateful Dead in 1978.

Our Grateful Dead Songs profile has Stagger Lee lyrics from 1978 and most if not all of the lyrics by Grateful Dead that we have here at Decade Lyrics.

Here's more interesting things in songs and lyrics tied to Grateful Dead or about the 1970s in general.

1948, Xmas eve, with a full moon over town
Stagger Lee shot Billy DeLions
And he blew that poor boy down.
Do you know what he shot him for?
What do you make of that?
Cause Billy DeLions threw the lucky dice
Won Stagger Lee’s Stetson hat.

Bayo, Bayo, tell me how can this be?
You arrest the girls for turning tricks
But you’re scared of Stagger Lee.
Stagger Lee is a madman and he shot my Billy D.
Bayo go get him or give the job to me.

Delia DeLions, dear sweet Delia-D
How the hell can I arrest him? He’s twice as big as me.
Well don’t ask me to go downtown, I won’t come back alive .
Not only is that mother big but he packs a .45 .

Bayo, Delia said, just give me a gun
he shot my Billy dead now I’m gonna see him hung.
She went into the DeLion’s club through Billy DeLions blood
Stepped up to Stagger Lee at the bar,
Said, “Buy me a gin fizz, love.”

As Stagger Lee lit a cigarette she shot him in the balls
Blew the smoke off her revolver, had him dragged to city hall
Bayo, Bayo, see you hang him high
He shot my Billy dead and now he’s got to die.

Delia went a walking down on Singapore Street
A three-piece band on the corner played “Near My God to Thee”
But Delia whistled a different tune, what tune could it be?

The song that woman sung was “Look Out Stagger Lee”.
The song that Delia sung was “Look Out Stagger Lee”.


Want more lyrics and songs by Grateful Dead?

Grateful Dead has released many songs over the years besides Stagger Lee. Grateful Dead released songs from 1967 to 1989 spanning across albums like The Grateful Dead, Anthem Of The Sun, Live / Dead, Aoxomoxoa, American Beauty, Workingman's Dead, Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses), Europe '72, History Of The Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice), Wake Of The Flood, Grateful Dead From The Mars Hotel, Blues For Allah, Steal Your Face, Terrapin Station, Shakedown Street, Go To Heaven, Reckoning, In The Dark, and Built To Last. Decade Lyrics has over lyrics & songs by Grateful Dead.

If you're a fan of 1970s music looking for more songs from 1978 or the 1970s overall, you've come to the right place!

About Lyrics and Stagger Lee by Grateful Dead

When you decide to study the lyrics to Stagger Lee, you're looking at the words, verses and background chorus from the 1978 song by Grateful Dead. Some of the lyrics to Stagger Lee have clear meanings and some contain metaphorical references. Like most songs, only Grateful Dead and their collaborators know the full story behind any of the their songs.

You can understand the lyrics to Stagger Lee if you take apart the structure of the words. The word "lyric" itself derives from the Latin word lyricus, with the actual English word lyrics applied to the definition "words set to music" listed in Stainer and Barrett's 1876 Dictionary of Musical Terms. Continuing the chain, the Latin word lyricus derives from the Greek word λυρικός or lyrikós. This somewhat means "poetry accompanied by the lyre" or "words set to music." You can easily see that by looking at the background of the word lyric, that the "lyrics to Stagger Lee" means the words set to the music of Stagger Lee, or poetry accompanied by the lyre played by Grateful Dead. The singular form "lyric" is still used to mean the complete words to a song. However, the singular form lyric is also commonly used to refer to a specific line (or phrase) within a song's lyrics. Hence, by this analysis of word structure, you could say that the lyric to Stagger Lee and the lyrics to Stagger Lee are both one and the same thing. None of this talk about the word Lyrics is really relevant to fans of Grateful Dead who came here looking just for the lyrics to Stagger Lee, but we feel it is still fun to learn what's behind commonly used words and lyrics in songs.

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