Announcing the newest 33 1/3s

Today’s the day! We are thrilled to announce the next batch of 15 books for the 33 1/3 series. From Kendrick Lamar to Britney Spears to Earth, Wind & Fire, we have a variety of new artists and albums to add to the series lineup. We look forward to seeing what our brilliant authors have to say about their music.  We received many outstanding proposals, which we delighted in reading and discussing. As always, it was difficult to select just 15. We are continually impressed by your dedication to music…

When Frankie Shot Johnny

Image of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Santi Elijah Holley on the story of Allen Britt and Frankie Baker While most murder ballads traditionally center on the murder of a woman by a man, a few notable ballads flip the script. The most immediate one that comes to mind is, of course, the classic ballad of the spurned woman, “Henry Lee” (or “Love Henry,” as it’s also known), which Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds included on their album Murder Ballads. Though not referenced on Murder Ballads, one of the most popular and widely adapted ballads in…

The Love and Tragedy of Henry Lee

Santi Elijah Holley on the story behind Nick Cave and PJ Harvey’s ballad duet For young Americans living under the specter of the Cold War and imminent nuclear annihilation, where the ideological divide between younger and older generations was growing wider and wider, an obscure collection of bluegrass, country, folk, blues, and gospel music was a surprising choice as a countercultural “bible.” But that’s exactly what Greenwich Village folksinger Dave Van Ronk called the Anthology of American Folk Music, the six-LP collection of eighty-four songs that had originally been recorded…

The Legend of the Bad Man Stagger Lee

Santi Elijah Holley on the history of murder ballads In a saloon in St. Louis, Missouri, an African American man named Billy Lyons was shot dead by an African American man named Lee Shelton, also known as “Stagger Lee,” following a dispute over a Stetson hat. This murder was otherwise unremarkable—it was one of five murders in St. Louis on that Christmas night in 1895—but the cold-bloodedness of Shelton’s killing and the callousness with he walked away from Lyon’s prone body quickly spread by word-of-mouth, with each successive narrator creating…

ANNOUNCEMENT: NEW 33 1/3 BOOKS + UPCOMING AUTHOR TAKE-OVER!

Calling all music lovers, it’s that time of the year again! That’s right, today marks the publication of 3 new 33 1/3 titles—24-Carat Black’s Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Murder Ballads, and Elvis Presley’s From Elvis in Memphis,. And with this new batch of books, we are celebrating the publication of our 150th book in the series! All of our books submerge you in the world of performances and production while also exploring the history and culture beyond the music as you learn more about artists and the albums they created.  To coincide with these releases, we’re having the ultimate author take-over. Over the…