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Huddie William Ledbetter

Also Known As: "Walter Boyd"
Birthplace: Mooringsport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, United States
Death: December 06, 1949 (61)
New York, New York, United States
Place of Burial: Mooringsport, Caddo, Louisiana, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Wesley Ledbetter and Sallie Brown
Husband of Martha Promise and Aletha Henderson

Occupation: Folk and Blues musician
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Lead Belly

Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter was a folk and blues singer and musician who led a notoriously violent life. He was imprisoned for murder in Texas in 1918, but won early release in 1925 combined by good behavior an by singing a song for the Texas Governor. He was imprisoned again for attempted murder in 1930, where he was discovered by folklorists John and Alan Lomax, who were collecting songs for the Library of Congress. Lead Belly was released early, again due to good behavior and singing for the Governor of Louisiana.

Lead Belly moved to New York to establish himself as a musician. He was arrested in 1939 for attempted murder and served an 8 month sentence. After his release, Lead Belly appeared in two radio series and landed his own weekly radio show. He also recorded an album "The Midnight Special and Other Southern Prison Songs". He recorded several songs in Los Angeles with Capitol Records. In 1949 he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

He is best remembered for songs "Goodnight Irene", "The Midnight Special" and "Cotton Fields". He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.


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Lead Belly's Timeline

January 20, 1888
Mooringsport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, United States
December 6, 1949
Age 61
New York, New York, United States
Shiloh Baptist Church Cemetery, Mooringsport, Caddo, Louisiana, United States