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Jerry Lee Lewis

"the killer"

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Jerry Lee Lewis - Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On
 
Jerry Lee Lewis
 
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Jerry Lee Lewis
 
Million Dollar Quartet
Million-dollar quartet
Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash
 
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 Presley.

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 off again.

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.

DISCOGRAPHY:

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
Title
 
Date
Remarks
       
CRAZY ARMS/END OF THE ROAD
WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN/IT'LL BE ME
GREAT BALLS OF FIRE/YOU WIN AGAIN BREATHLESS/DOWN THE LINE
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
    Sun
       
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 US     Smash
       
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     Electra
       
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     MCA
       
SIXTEEN CANDLES (1986) GREAT BALLS OF FIRE/BREATHLESS (1989) IT WAS THE WHISKEY TALKING (1990) GOOSEBUMPS/YOUNG BLOOD (1995)   1988 -  
       
 
 

Jerry Lee coming to UK - 2015

Jerry Lee Lewis
The "Killer" is coming to UK for three dates in 2015. The dates and venues are still to be announced.
 
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FAQ - Not Killer after all !

"They studied your life all through these years and finally they figured out I'm not a real killer, I'm just called that."
- Jerry Lee Lewis on his Grammy award.

 
Jerry Lee at 2005 grammy awards
 
 
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Jerry Lee Lewis
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Sun Studio, Memphis
Sun Studios
"Lets go back to Sun ...
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jerry Lee Lewis
 
Jerry Lee Lewis
 
Rock and Roll is Fifty - check out our visit to Memphis, Nashville and New Orleans - [ click here ]
 
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Great Balls of Fire Jerry Lee Lewis - Jerry Lee Lewis: The Hits - Great Balls of Fire
Whole Lotta Shakin Going On Jerry Lee Lewis - Jerry Lee Lewis: The Hits - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
 
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jerry with sam phillips
 

An alternative bio

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."
Denny Ray Miller
copyright 1996
 
Jerry Lee Lewis - Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On
 
Jerry Lee Lewis - Great Balls Of Fire
 
Jerry lee Lewis - Great Balls of Fire 1957
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