Thomas Hart BentonU.S. 1889-1975
Frankie and Johnnie 85.0004
Frankie and Johnnie is considered one of America's greatest indigenous ballads. Over one hundred versions of the song have been recorded. The theme of the lyrics, which describes the revenge of a scorned woman, provides much of the drama for the song. Benton believed a source for the lyrics came from an event that occurred in St. Louis around 1890 although he acknowledged that the music was much older. In any event, the legend is now associated with St. Louis and has become part of the mythology of Missouri.
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