Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny
Bio - Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis is one of the all time great
icons of popular music. He is a founding father
of Rock and Roll. His unique piano playing is
a primal force of modern music. He is one of the
great vocalists of popular music.
His versatility is as renowned as his originality.
As well as Rock and Roll he has made prodigious
contributions to Rythum and Blues, Country and
Western and Gospel music. He is a charasmatic
performer who can command and enthral a live audience
like no other. Enormous as his contribution to
music has been he is often just as famous or infamous
for his so called wild personal life.
The extraordinary life of Jerry Lee Lee Lewis
began on 29th of September 1935 in Ferriday Louisiana
U.S.A. He was born to Elmo and Maimie Lewis into
dirt poor white trash poverty. Apart from a large
extended family the young Jerry Lee's main socializing
took place at the Assembly Of God church in Ferriday.
It was here that he was first introduced to the
piano and it was in the church that he first learnt
to sing. When he was nine his mother declared,
"I believe Jerry lee is a natural born piano player".
His parents mortgaged their house to buy him a
piano. He has said that within a couple of months
he had mastered it. His father would load the
upright on the back of his truck and Jerry Lee
would tour the local area playing and singing.
He recently recalled how after one performance
the hat was taken around and he earned the grand
total of nine dollars which was at the time more
money than he had ever seen. As a teenager he
was torn between his religious background and
the music he heard and loved to play in the local
honky-tonks. A travelling preacherand his daughter
came to town. Jerry lee and the girl became involved.
In an attempt to avoid a scandal Jerry lee married
Dorothy. And to apease his in-laws and his wife
he went to Texas to study at a Bible College to
become a preacher.
However his wild piano playing in the church caused
him to be expelled. He left his wife Dorothy and
became involved and with another girl Jane Mitcham.
She became pregnant and Jerry lee without divorcing
Dorothy married Jane. They had a child Jerry Lee
Lewis jnr. In his early twenties Jerry lee formed
a band with his cousin J.W. Brown and through
J.W. met J.W.'s young daughter Myra. Jerry Lee
had heard a record from another local singer Elvis
He decided to go to the 'Sun Studios' in Memphis
and see if he too could get a record out. At 'Sun'
Jack Clements first heard and recorded Jerry lee
doing a version of 'Crazy Arms'. This was released
and became a local hit. Sam Phillips the owner
of 'Sun Records' was very impressed with the young
piano player and organised more recording sessions.
Jerry Lee and Myra had become involved by this
time and although he had not divorced Dorothy
or Jane he married for a third time. He was 22,
Myra was 13. This occurred in the midst of his
work at 'Sun'.
Out of these early sessions came some of the great
classics of Rock and Roll as well as some of the
finest country, gospel and rhythum and blues work
in the history of American music. Jerry Lee's
public debut really occurred on the Steve Allen
Show with his extraordinary performance of 'Whole
lotta Shakin Goin On'. This rocketed Jerry Lee
into the national and international spotlight.
'Whole Lotta Shakin' was followed by 'Great Balls
Of Fire' - and Jerry Lee's place in modern music
history was assured. Tom Jones has said that the
recording of 'Great Balls Of Fire' was the real
beginning of Rock And Roll.
Following 'Great balls Of Fire' came two more
rock classics: 'High School Confidential' and
'Breathless'. In 1958 on a tour in England the
press discoved that Myra was 13 and Jerry Lee's
cousin. Jerry Lee himself saw no reason to hide
either fact but it outraged conservative England
and his tour was cancelled and he was hounded
out of the country. In the U.S.A. his reception
was little better. His records were band from
the airways and for all intents and purposes his
carrer was finished. Myra gave birth to a son
Steve Allen in 1959. Only three years latter tragedy
struck when Stevie accidentally drowned in the
family swinmming pool.
Throughout the early sixties Jerry lee continued
to work in and out of the recording studio. After
his contract with 'Sun' expired he went to 'Mecury
Records' and there began a second extraordinary
period of creativity. During this time his live
performances became legenday and two recordings
from this period are 'The Greatest Live Show On
Earth' and 'Live At The Star Club', are considered
classics. He produced some fine Rhythum and Blues
music with the albums 'Soul My Way' and 'Memphis
Beat' but it was only when he returened whole
heartedly to country music that his carrer took
During the late sixties and throughout the seventies
Jerry Lee on 'Mercury Records' recorded a string
of classic country albums such as 'Another Place
Another Time', 'There Must be More to Love Than
This', 'Would You Take Another chance On Me?',
'Sometimes A Memory Aint Enough', 'The Country
Hall Of Fame Vols. I and II', and 'Country Memories'.
As well as string of country hits during this
time he produced some great Rock And Roll recordings.
His 1972 album 'The Killer Rocks On', his 1973
'The Session In London' and the follow up album
'Southern Roots' are unsurpassable in their energy
and creativity. However while his professional
carrer had hit new heights his personal life was
once again troubled. In the early seventies Myra
divorced him ending their 18 year marriage. Tragedy
struck too again with the death of his son Jerry
Lee Jnr. in an automobile acident. It has been
said the late seventies read like a police bulletin
board for Jerry Lee. He was arrested a number
of time for firearms violations and drink driving
offences. He accidentally shot his base player
and was arrested outside 'Graceland's' with a
weapon. He married again to Jaren his fourth wife.
During this period his health suffered from his
alcohol and drug use. At this time too he was
mercilessly hounded by the I.R.S. In 1978 he signed
with 'Electra Records' and once again produced
a series of great albums. His first for the new
label a self titled album was a true 'killer'
piece of work. 'Rockin My Life Away', 'No.1 Lovin
Man' and 'I Wish I Was 18 again' are just three
of the excellent tracks from this session. He
followed this up with 'When Two Worlds Collide'
and 'Killer Country'. These albums are like Jerry
lee himself - strong uncompromising and creatively
stunning. It was during this time with 'Electra'
that Jaren died accidentally in a swimming pool
accident. The following year with his 50th birthday
coming up Jerry Lee took his fifth wife Shawn.
Two months latter she died of a drug overdose.
In 1982 Nick Tosches wrote the Jerry lee Biography
entitled'Hellfire'. It was said by 'Rolling Stone'
to be the best Rock and Roll biography ever written.
At this time he was recording with M.C.A. 'Let
My Fingers Do the Talkin' 'Get Out Your Big Roll
Daddy'and 'I Am What I Am' were three great albums
from this period. Jerry Lee married again to Kerrie
McCarver and she gave him a son Jerry lee III
in early 1987. In 1989 the hollywood film 'Great
Balls Of Fire' was released and once again Jerry
lee was in vogue. In 1995 he wrote his own story
'Killer' with Charles White and a recorded the
'Electra/Sire' album 'Youngblood'. This was a
fine showcase of his musical genius. The album
contained rock, rhythum and blues, traditional
country and some modern piano classics done in
the unique Jerry Lee Lewis style. It was in Jerry
Lee's view "the best album I've ever made." In
the year 2001 Jerry Lee was honoured by the 'Smithsonian
Institute' for his contribution to American life.
The 'Smithsonian' produced a T.V. doco. entitled,
'The Piano Grand' in which Jerry Lee appeared
with other great exponents of the piano. In 2002
it was announced that Jerry lee and Kerrie would
be divorcing. The music world is hoping he will
return to the recording studio soon. With his
musical genius and his extradordinary endurance
in the face of great tragedy Jerry Lee has the
status of a living legend. To see him in Concert
is to be a witness to true greatness.
b. 29 September 1935, Ferriday, Louisiana, USA.
The "Killer' is the personification of 50s rock
'n' roll at its best. He is rowdy, raw, rebellious
and uncompromising. The outrageous piano-pounder
has a voice that exudes excitement and an aura of
arrogance that becomes understandable after witnessing
the seething hysteria and mass excitement at his
concerts. As a southern boy, Lewis was brought up
listening to many musical styles in a home where
religion was as important as breathing. In 1950,
he attended a fundamentalist bible school in Waxahachie,
Texas, but was expelled. The clash between the secular
and the religious would govern Lewis" life and art
for the remainder of his career. He first recorded
on The Louisiana Hayride in 1954 and decided that
Elvis Presley's label, Sun Records, was where he
wanted to be. His distinctive version of country
star Ray Price's "Crazy Arms" was his Sun debut,
but it was his second single, a revival of Roy Hall's
"Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" in 1957 that propelled
him to international fame. The record, which was
initially banned as obscene, narrowly missed the
top of the US chart, went on to hit number 1 on
the R&B and country charts and introduced the fair-haired,
one-man piano wrecker to a world ready for a good
shaking up. He stole the show from many other stars
in the film Jamboree in which he sang the classic
"Great Balls Of Fire", which became his biggest
hit and topped the UK chart and made number 2 in
the USA. He kept up the barrage of rowdy and unadulterated
rock with the US/UK Top 10 single "Breathless",
which, like its predecessor, had been written by
Otis Blackwell. Problems started for the flamboyant
"god of the glissando" when he arrived in Britain
for a tour in 1958, accompanied by his third wife,
Myra, who was also his 13-year-old second cousin.
The UK media stirred up a hornet's nest and the
tour had to be cancelled after only three concerts,
even though the majority of the audience loved him.
The furore followed Lewis home and support for him
in his homeland also waned; he never returned to
the Top 20 pop chart in the USA. His last big hit
of the 50s was the title song from his film High
School Confidential, which made the UK Top 20 in
1959 and number 21 in the USA. Despite a continued
high standard of output, his records either only
made the lower chart rungs or missed altogether.
When his version of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say"
hit the UK Top 10 in 1960 (US number 30) it looked
like a record revival was on the way, but it was
not to be. The fickle general public may have disowned
the hard-living, hellraiser, but his hardcore fans
remained loyal and his tours were sell-outs during
the 60s. He joined Smash Records in 1963 and although
the material he recorded with the company was generally
unimaginative, there were some excellent live recordings,
most notably The Greatest Live Show On Earth (1964).
In 1966, Lewis made an unexpected entry into rock
music theatre when he was signed to play Iago in
Jack Good's Catch My Soul, inspired by Othello.
After a decade playing rock 'n' roll, Lewis decided
to concentrate on country material in 1968. He had
often featured country songs in his repertoire,
so his new policy did not represent an about-face.
This changeover was an instant success - country
fans welcomed back their prodigal son with open
arms. Over the next 13 years Lewis was one of country's
top-selling artists and was a main attraction wherever
he put on his "Greatest Show On Earth". He first
appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in 1973, playing
an unprecedented 50-minute set. He topped the country
chart with records such as "There Must Be More To
Love Than This" in 1970, "Would You Take Another
Chance On Me?" in 1971 and a revival of "Chantilly
Lace" a year later. The latter also returned him
briefly to the transatlantic Top 40. However, he
also kept the rock 'n' roll flag flying by playing
revival shows around the world and by always including
his old 50s hits in his stage shows. In fact, long-time
fans have always been well catered for - numerous
compilations of top-class out-takes and never previously
issued tracks from the 50s have regularly been released
over the last 20 years. On the personal front, his
life has never been short of tragedies, often compounded
by his alcohol and drug problems. His family has
been equally prone to tragedy. In November 1973,
his 19-year-old son, Jerry Lee Jnr., was killed
in a road accident following a period of drug abuse
and treatment for mental illness. Lewis' own behaviour
during the mid-70s was increasingly erratic. He
accidentally shot his bass player in the chest -
the musician survived and sued him. Late in 1976,
Lewis was arrested for waving a gun outside Elvis
Presley's Gracelands home. Two years later, Lewis
signed to Elektra Records for the appropriately
titled Rockin' My Life Away. Unfortunately, his
association with the company ended with much-publicized
lawsuits. In 1981, Lewis was hospitalized and allegedly
close to death from a haemorrhaged ulcer. He survived
that ordeal and was soon back on the road. In 1982,
his fourth wife drowned in a swimming pool. The
following year, his fifth wife was found dead at
his home following a methadone overdose. The deaths
brought fresh scandal to Lewis' troubled life. Meanwhile,
the IRS were challenging his earnings from the late
70s in another elongated dispute. A sixth marriage
followed, along with more bleeding ulcers and a
period in the Betty Ford Clinic for treatment for
his pain-killer addiction. Remarkably, Lewis' body
and spirit have remained intact, despite these harrowing
experiences. During his career he has released dozens
of albums, the most successful being The Session
in 1973, his sole US Top 40 album, on which many
pop names of the period backed him, including Peter
Frampton and Rory Gallagher. Lewis was one of the
first people inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall
Of Fame in 1986. In 1989, a biopic of his early
career, Great Balls Of Fire, starring Dennis Quaid,
brought him briefly back into the public eye. In
1990, a much-awaited UK tour had to be cancelled
when Lewis and his sixth wife (who was not even
born at the time of his fateful first tour) failed
to appear. He moved to Dublin, Eire, to avoid the
US tax man, but eventually returned to Memphis.
In 1995, he jammed with Bruce Springsteen at the
opening of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame building
in Cleveland. His cousin Mickey Gilley is an accomplished
country artist, while another cousin, Jimmy Lee
Swaggart, has emerged as one of America's premier
television evangelists. Any understanding of the
career of Jerry Lee Lewis is inextricably linked
with the parallel rise and fall of Swaggart. They
were both excellent piano players, but whereas Lewis
devoted his energies to the "devil's music", Swaggart
damned rock 'n' roll from the pulpit and played
gospel music. Lewis has often described his career
as a flight from God, with Swaggart cast in the
role of his conscience and indefatigable redeemer.
The relationship, however, was more complex than
that, and the spirits of these two American institutions
were latterly revealed as more complementary than
antithetical. When Swaggart was discovered with
a prostitute in a motel, the evangelist created
a scandal that surpassed even his cousin's series
of dramas. Tragedy, scandal and, above all, rock
'n' roll have seldom played such an intrinsic role
in one musician's life.
Jerry Lee Lewis (Sun 1957)****, Jerry Lee Lewis
And His Pumping Piano (London 1958)***, Jerry Lee's
Greatest (Sun 1961)****, Rockin' With Jerry Lee
Lewis (Design 1963)***, The Greatest Live Show On
Earth (Smash 1964)***, with the Nashville Teens
Live At The Star Club, Hamburg (Philips 1965)***,
The Return Of Rock (Smash 1965)***, Country Songs
For City Folks (Smash 1965)***, Whole Lotta Shakin'
Goin' On (London 1965)****, Memphis Beat (Smash
1966)***, By Request - More Greatest Live Show On
Earth (Smash 1966)***, Breathless (London 1967)***,
Soul My Way (Smash 1967)***, Got You On My Mind
(Fontana 1968)***, Another Time, Another Place (Mercury
1969)***, She Still Comes Around (Mercury 1969)***,
I'm On Fire (Mercury 1969)***, Jerry Lee Lewis'
Rockin' Rhythm And Blues (Sun 1969)***, with Linda
Gail Lewis Together (Mercury 1970)***, She Even
Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye (Mercury 1970)***, A Taste
Of Country (Sun 1970)***, There Must Be More To
Love Than This (Mercury 1970)***, Johnny Cash And
Jerry Lee Lewis Sing Hank Williams (Sun 1971)***,
Touching Home (Mercury 1971)***, In Loving Memories
(Mercury 1971)***, Would You Take Another Chance
On Me (Mercury 1972)***, The Killer Rocks On (Mercury
1972)***, Old Tyme Country Music (Sun 1972)***,
with Johnny Cash Sunday Down South (Sun 1972)**,
The Session (Mercury 1973)****, Live At The International,
Las Vegas (Mercury 1973)***, Great Balls of Fire
(Hallmark 1973)***, Southern Roots (Mercury 1974)****,
Rockin' Up A Storm (Sun 1974)***, Rockin' And Free
(Sun 1974)***, I'm A Rocker (Mercury 1975)***, Odd
Man In (Mercury 1975)***, Jerry Lee Lewis (Elektra
1979)***, Killer Country (Elektra 1980)***, When
Two Worlds Collide (Elektra 1980)***, with Johnny
Cash, Carl Perkins The Survivors (Columbia 1982)***,
My Fingers Do The Talking (MCA 1983)***, I Am What
I Am (MCA 1984)***, with Webb Pierce, Mel Tillis,
Faron Young Four Legends (Pulsation 1985)***, with
Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison Class Of
'55 (America 1986)***, Interviews From The Class
Of '55 Recording Sessions (America 1986)**, Keep
Your Hands Off It (Zu Zazz 1987)***, Don't Drop
It (Zu Zazz 1988)***, Live In Italy (Magnum Force
1989)**, Great Balls Of Fire!
Discography - singles
CRAZY ARMS/END OF THE ROAD
WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN/IT'LL BE ME
GREAT BALLS OF FIRE/YOU WIN AGAIN BREATHLESS/DOWN
HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL/FOOLS LIKE ME
THE RETURN OF JERRY LEE/LEWIS BOOGIE BREAK
UP/I'LL MAKE IT ALL UP TO YOU I`LL SAIL MY
SHIP/IT HURT ME SO LOVIN UP A STORM/BIG BLONDE
BABY LET`S TALK ABOUT US/BALLAD OF BILLY JOE
LITTLE QUEENIE/I COULD NEVER BE ASHAMED BABY
BABY BYE BYE/OLD BLACK JOE HANG UP MY R&R
SHOES/JOHN HENRY IN THE MOOD/I GET THE BLUES
WHEN IT RAINS LOVE MADE A FOOL OF ME/WHEN
I GET PAID WHAT'D I SAY/LIVIN LOVIN WRECK
IT WON`T HAPPEN WITH ME/COLD COLD HEART SAVE
THE LAST DANCE FOR ME/AS LONG AS I LIVE MONEY/BONNIE
BEE I`VE BEEN TWISTIN/RAMBLIN ROSE SWEET LITTLE
SIXTEEN/HOW'S MY EX GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY/I
CAN`T TRUST ME
TEENAGE LETTER/SEASONS OF MY HEART
HIT THE ROAD JACK/PEN AND PAPER I`M ON FIRE/BREAD
AND BUTTER SHE WAS MY BABY/THE WHOLE HE SAID
HE`D DIG HIGH HEEL SNEAKERS/YOU WENT BACK
ON YOUR WORD HOLD ME CLOSE/I BELEIVE IN YOU
CARRY ME BACK/I KNOW WHAT IT MEANS (SUN) ROCKIN
PNEUMANIA/THIS MUST BE THE PLACE GREEN GREEN
GRASS OF HOME/BABY YOU'VE GOT STICKS & STONES/WHAT
A HECK OF A MESS MEMPHIS BEAT/ IF I HAD IT
ALL TO DO IT'S A HANG UP BABY/HOLDIN' ON TURN
ON YOUR LOVE LIGHT/SHOTGUN MAN ANOTHER PLACE,ANOTHER
TIME/WALKIN THE FLOOR WHAT'S MADE MILWAUKEE/ALL
THE GOOD IS GONE SHE STILL COMES AROUND/SLIPPIN
AROUND TO MAKE LOVE SWEETER/LET`S TALK ABOUT
DON`T LET ME CROSS OVER/WE LIVE IN TWO DIFFERENT
WORLDS ONE HAS MY NAME/I CAN'T STOP LOVIN
YOU INVITATION TO YOUR PARTY (SUN) SHE EVEN
WOKE ME UP TO SAY GOODBYE/ECHOES ONE MINUTE
PAST ETERNITY (SUN) ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN/SECRET
PLACES ONCE MORE WITH FEELING/YOU WENT OUT
OF YOUR WAY I CAN`T SEEM TO SAY GOODBYE (SUN)
THERE MUST BE MOR TO LOVE/HOME AWAY WAITING
FOR A TRAIN BEFORE THE SNOW FALLS/ SOLO (Linda
G Lewis) IN LOVING MEMORIES/I CAN'T HAVE A
MERRY XMAS TOUCHING HOME/WOMAN WOMAN GET OUT
LOVE ON BROADWAY (SUN) WHEN HE WALKS ON YOU/FOOLISH
KIND OF MAN WOULD YOU TAKE ANOTHER/ME & BOBBY
MCGEE CHANTILLY LACE/THINK ABOUT IT DARLIN
LONELY WEEKENDS/TURN ON YOUR LOVE LIGHT ME
& JESUS/HANDWRITING ON THE WALL WHO'S GONNA
PLAY/NO HONKY TONKS NO MORE HANGINH ON/THE
MERCY OF A LETTER DRINKIN WINE SPOO-DEE-O-DEE/R&R
MEDLEY NO HEADSTONE ON MY GRAVE/JACK DANIELS
NO7 SOMETIMES A MEMORY/I THINK I NEED TO PRAY
I'M LEFT YOUR'RE RIGHT/I THINK I NEED TO JUST
A LITTLE BIT/MEAT MAN TELL TALE SIGN/COLD
MORNING LIGHT HE CAN'T FILL MY SHOES/TOMORROW'S
TAKIN I CAN STILL HEAR/IM THE ONE THAT LOVES
YOU BOOGIE WOOGIE COUNTRY MAN/I`M STILL JEALOUS
A DAMN GOOD COUNTRY SONG/WHEN I TAKE DON'T
BOOGIE WOOGIE/THAT KIND OF FOOL LET'S PUT
IT BACK/JERRY LEE'S R&R REVIVAL THE CLOSEST
THING/YOU BELONG TO ME MIDDLE AGE CRAZY/GEORGIA
ON MY MIND COME ON IN/WHO`S SORRY NOW I`LL
FIND IT/DON'T LET THE STARS GET IN SAVE THE
LAST DANCE FOR ME (SUN) COLD COLD HEART (SUN)
Smash / Mercury
ROCKIN` MY LIFE AWAY/I WISH I WAS 18 WHO
WILL THE NEXT FOOL BE/RITA MAY WHEN TWO WORLDS
COLLIDE HONKY TONK STUFF OVER THE RAINBOW/FOLSOM
PRISON BLUES 39 AND HOLDING/CHANGE PLACES
I'M SO LONSOME I COULD CRY (MERCURY) I'D DO
IT ALL AGAIN
MY FINGERS DO THE TALKIN COME AS YOU WERE/CIRCUMSTANTIAL
EVIDENCE WHY YOU BEEN GONE SO LONG/SHE SINGS
I AM WHAT I AM/ THAT WAS THE WAY IT WAS
SIXTEEN CANDLES (1986) GREAT BALLS OF FIRE/BREATHLESS
(1989) IT WAS THE WHISKEY TALKING (1990) GOOSEBUMPS/YOUNG
Jerry Lee coming to UK - 2015
The "Killer" is coming to UK for three dates in 2015. The dates and venues are still to be announced.
Born September 29, 1935 in Ferriday Louisiana, Jerry grew up listening to a variety of music; "The Louisiana Hayride" and "Grand Ol' Opry" broadcasts, 78rpm recordings of country singers and blues men, and the inspired gospel music of the Assembly of God Church. He also spent hours hiding behind the bar at Haney's Big House soaking up the sounds of blues men like, then, 18 year old B.B. King.
Jerry Lee took these different forms of music and combined them to create a style completely his own. A creator in a world of imitators, Jerry Lee Lewis, will be remembered with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley, as one of the true fathers of Rock & Roll. Jerry Lee began to play piano at age eight on a Stark Upright that his parents, Elmo and Mamie Lewis, mortgaged their farm to buy. "My mother and dad...got me a piano and I loved it and worked at it real hard, and they backed me all the way, all their lives.....They were great people.""I'll tell ya, I started playing piano--I learned to play in two weeks."
Along with cousins Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Lee Swaggart, Jerry Lee was constantly playing and practicing on the old Stark. His cousins were as Jerry said, "......like my brothers." but as he would later say, "But boys, were all together now, and I'm gonna tell you something--You all got great talent, but you just got a little of the scrapings. Killer got the talent."
For Jerry Lee Lewis, the word talent describes what he sees clearly as a gift from God.
"Other people--they practice and they practice...these fingers of mine, they got brains in 'em. You don't TELL them what to do--THEY do it. God given talent."
In late 1956, the 21 year old Jerry Lee took his talent to Memphis to 'Eyeball' Sam Phillips at Sun Records after reading a story about Elvis in "Country Roundup" magazine. His family gathered 33 dozen eggs and sold them to Nelson's Supermarket in Ferriday to finance the trip north. Once there, his life would never be the same.
"Whose Barn? What Barn? MY BARN!!" 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' was recorded in one take--2 minutes and 58 seconds of rocking fury.
On Sunday, July 28th, 1957, The Killer performed to a national television audience on the Steve Allen show. "Whole Lotta Shakin'" started moving up the charts and didn't stop until it held the number one spot in all field of music--Pop, Country and Western, and R&B. Only two other people have accomplished this--Elvis and Carl Perkins. However, with his next release, The Killer would leave them all behind.
"Great Balls of Fire" as well, would stand atop the Pop, Country, and R&B charts. No one before or since has duplicated this feat, and probably never will.
The summer of 1958 found Jerry Lee on top of the world. His twelve day engagement at the Paramount Theater in New York broke all attendance records, and his third hit "Breathless" was moving up the charts--until it all came crashing down during a tour of England in the fall of '58.
As the story has been told many, many, times. The British press, discovering his new bride to be only 13 years old and his second cousin (twice removed), attacked him mercilessly. Returning to the states, Jerry faced an equally hostile reaction.
Finding himself blacklisted on radio and T.V., The Killer hit the road for an endless string of one-night-stands. "From $10,000 a night to $250 is a hell of a disappointment." he said, but an unshakable belief in his own talent held him through the rough times.
In 1961 things looks better when his re-make of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" began to receive airplay. A successful 'Battle of the Century' with Jakie Wilson followed, but it wasn't until the late 1960's when Jerry Lee began to release a string of number one and top-ten country singles, that his career regained momentum.
Through it all, Jerry never lost faith in God, or in his own God given talent. Tragedies, such as the deaths of his two sons, have destroyed lessor men, but Jerry Lee Lewis has persevered, and he will never, NEVER! STOP ROCKING!!
"When they look back on me I want 'em to remember me not for all my wives, although I've had a few, and certainly not for any mansions or high livin' money I made and spent. I want 'em to remember me simply for my music......"
"As long as they gimme a piano I'll be out there. They try to take that away, I'm gonna kick some ass."