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Archivist Jeff Place on Lead Belly's Legacy

Huddie Ledbetter, known to the world as Lead Belly, died in 1949, but his influence lives on. His songs have been covered by everyone from the Weavers (Goodnight Irene, 1950) to Led Zeppelin (Gallows Pole, 1970), Mark Lanegan with Kurt Cobain (Where Did You Sleep Last Night, 1989) and Nirvana (Where Did You Sleep Last Night, 1994), and most recently musicians such as Jack White (Goodnight Irene, 2014), Valerie June (Goodnight Irene, 2014), and Smog (In the Pines, 2005).

Smithsonian Folkways producer and archivist Jeff Place takes us through a history of the singer's biggest hits as he discusses the importance of modern incarnations in keeping the Lead Belly legacy alive.

Purchase Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection