The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest

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"The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"
Song by Bob Dylan
from the album John Wesley Harding
Released December 27, 1967
Recorded October 17, 1967
Genre Folk rock
Length 5:35
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) Bob Johnston
John Wesley Harding track listing

"The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" is a song on Bob Dylan's 1967 album John Wesley Harding. The plainly spoken ballad is the longest song on John Wesley Harding, without chorus, bridge, or a refrain to vary its structure. Like the rest of the album, the instrumentation is very sparse. The story has Frankie Lee responding to suggestions and temptations of his friend Judas Priest, which leave him to die "of thirst" after 16 nights and days in a home with 24 women.

Unusually for a Dylan song, the song ends with a moral, telling the listener:
"The moral of this song
Is simply that one should never be
Where one does not belong.
So when you see your neighbor carryin’ somethin’
Help him with his load
And don’t go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road"[1]

Heavy metal band Judas Priest derived their name from this song.[2]


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