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Stone Cold Dead in the Market (He Had It Coming)

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"Stone Cold Dead in the Market (He Had It Coming)" is a 1946 song with lyrics and music by Wilmoth Houdini, a Trinidad and Tobago musician who had moved to the United States. It was recorded by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five on Decca and later included in the Ella Fitzgerald album Ella and Her Fellas. The single was the first of five singles that Louis Jordan would take to the number-one spot on the R&B Juke Box chart.[1] The song also reached number seven on the U.S. pop chart.[2] The B-side of the single, "Petootie Pie," was also an R&B chart hit peaking at number three. This song received later fame in the 2010s with the 2011 release of L.A. Noire in which this song is featured.

The lively tone of the music is matched by the use of dark humor in the lyrics. The song is sung in first-person and tells the story of an unnamed woman who killed her husband with a rolling pin, bashing in his skull while in a marketplace after he went out drinking and then came home and beat her. The narrative shifts back and forth between the wife who repeatedly claims that "he had it coming" and doesn't care about either revenge from his family or facing the electric chair, and the husband who recounts his side of the story apparently from beyond the grave. At the end of the song, the husband vows to come back an exact his revenge, but she repudiates by reminding him the he can't come back from the grave. Throughout the song, both the wife and the husband remind us that she didn't kill anyone else but the husband.

Franklin Bruno argued in a piece in the Journal of Popular Music and Society that "Fitzgerald and Jordan's adoption of an exoticized West African accent, as well as their public personae, effectively produced a comic and ethnic "mask" from behind which the song's subject matter could be presented with relative frankness."[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 798.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 309.
  3. ^ [Bruno, Franklin (February 2011). "'Stone Cold Dead in the Market': Domestic Violence and Americanized Calypso". Popular Music and Society. 34 (1): 7–21. doi:10.1080/03007766.2011.539807.
Preceded by
"The Gypsy" by The Ink Spots
Billboard Most-Played Juke Box Race Records number-one single
July 20, 1946 - August 17, 1946
Succeeded by
"Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" by Louis Jordan and Tympany Five