Home > Brass quintet > Frankie & Johnny for Brass Quintet (Jazz for 5 brass series)

Frankie & Johnny for Brass Quintet (Jazz for 5 brass series)

Composer
Traditional Arranged by Keith Terrett
Arranger
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
3 minutes
Genre
Jazz music
Instrumentation
Brass quintet
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"Frankie and Johnny" arranged for Brass Quintet, (sometimes spelled "Frankie and Johnnie"; also known as "Frankie and Albert" or just "Frankie") is a traditional American popular song. It tells the story of a woman, Frankie, who finds that her man Johnny was making love to another woman and shoots him dead. Frankie is then arrested; in some versions of the song she is also executed.

The song was inspired by one or more actual murders. One of these took place in an apartment building located at 212 Targee Street in St. Louis, Missouri, at 2:00 on the morning of October 15, 1899. Frankie Baker (1876 – 1952), a 22-year-old woman, shot her 17-year-old lover Allen (also known as "Albert") Britt in the abdomen. Britt had just returned from a cakewalk at a local dance hall, where he and another woman, Nelly Bly (also known as "Alice Pryor"), had won a prize in a slow-dancing contest. Britt died of his wounds four days later at the City Hospital.

On trial, Baker claimed that Britt had attacked her with a knife and that she acted in self-defense; she was acquitted and died in a Portland, Oregon mental institution in 1952.

In 1899, popular St Louis balladeer Bill Dooley composed "Frankie Killed Allen" shortly after the Baker murder case. The first published version of the music to "Frankie and Johnny" appeared in 1904, credited to and copyrighted by Hughie Cannon, the composer of "Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey"; the piece, a variant version of whose melody is sung today, was titled "He Done Me Wrong" and subtitled "Death of Bill Bailey."

The song has also been linked to Frances "Frankie" Stewart Silver, convicted in 1832 of murdering her husband Charles Silver in Burke County, North Carolina. Unlike Frankie Baker, Silver was executed.

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