The Tragic Story Behind a Mountain Goats Lyric

Frankie Lymon and the Mountain Goats. Photos: Getty Images and

Near the beginning of “Harlem Roulette,” on the Mountain Goats’ excellent new album Transcendental Youth, John Darnielle sings a few lines that establish the song’s particular place and time: “Frankie Lymon’s tracking ’Sea Breeze’ in a studio in Harlem/ It’s 1968/ Just a pair of tunes to hammer out/ Everybody’s off the clock by ten.”

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