Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis (born September 29, 1935) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Nicknamed the Killer, he has been described as “rock n’ roll’s first nice wild man and some of the influential pianists of the twentieth century.”[9] A pioneer of rock and roll and rockabilly music, Lewis made his first recordings in 1956 at Solar Information in Memphis. “Loopy Arms” offered 300,000 copies within the South, nevertheless it was his 1957 hit “Entire Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” that shot Lewis to fame worldwide. He adopted this with the key hits “Nice Balls of Fireplace”, “Breathless”, and “Excessive College Confidential”. Nevertheless, his rock and roll profession faltered within the wake of his marriage to Myra Gale Brown, his 13-year-old cousin.

His recognition shortly eroded following the scandal and with few exceptions similar to a canopy of Ray Charles’s “What’d I Say”, he didn’t have a lot chart success within the early Nineteen Sixties. His reside performances at the moment have been more and more wild and energetic. His 1964 reside album Dwell on the Star Membership, Hamburg is regarded by music journalists and followers as one of many wildest and biggest reside rock albums ever.[10][11][12][13][14] In 1968, Lewis made a transition into nation music and had hits with songs similar to “One other Place, One other Time”. This reignited his profession, and all through the late Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies he commonly topped the country-western charts; all through his seven-decade profession, Lewis has had 30 songs attain the High 10 on the Billboard Nation and Western Chart.[15] His No. 1 nation hits included “To Make Love Sweeter for You”, “There Should Be Extra to Love Than This”, “Would You Take One other Probability on Me” and “Me and Bobby McGee”.

Lewis’s successes continued all through the a long time and he embraced his rock and roll previous with songs similar to a canopy of The Massive Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace” and Mack Vickery’s “Rockin’ My Life Away”. Within the twenty first century, Lewis continues to tour all over the world and nonetheless releases new albums. His 2006 album Final Man Standing is his best-selling launch up to now, with over 1,000,000 copies offered worldwide. This was adopted by Imply Outdated Man in 2010, which has obtained among the finest gross sales of Lewis’s profession.

Lewis has a dozen gold information in each rock and nation. He has received 4 Grammy awards, together with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and two Grammy Corridor of Fame Awards.[16] Lewis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in 1986, and his pioneering contribution to the style has been acknowledged by the Rockabilly Corridor of Fame. He was additionally a member of the inaugural class inducted into the Memphis Music Corridor of Fame.[17] In 1989, his life was chronicled within the film Nice Balls of Fireplace, starring Dennis Quaid. In 2003, Rolling Stone listed his field set All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology quantity 242 on their checklist of “500 Best Albums of All Time”.[18] In 2004, they ranked him No. 24 on their checklist of the 100 Best Artists of All Time.[19] Lewis is the final surviving member of Solar Information’ Million Greenback Quartet and the album Class of ’55, which additionally included Johnny Money, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Elvis Presley.

Music critic Robert Christgau has stated of Lewis: “His drive, his timing, his offhand vocal energy, his unmistakable boogie-plus piano, and his absolute confidence within the face of the void make Jerry Lee the quintessential rock and curler.”[20]


An exhibit on the Delta Music Museum in Ferriday, Louisiana representing “Ferriday’s Well-known Cousins”; from left to proper: Jimmy Swaggart, Lewis and Mickey Gilley

Lewis was born to Elmo Kidd Lewis Sr. and Mary “Mamie” Herron[21] Lewis in Ferriday, Concordia Parish. He grew up in an impoverished farming household in jap Louisiana. In his youth, he started enjoying the piano with two of his cousins, Mickey Gilley (later a preferred nation music singer) and Jimmy Swaggart (later a preferred tv evangelist). His mother and father mortgaged their farm to purchase him a piano. Lewis was influenced by a piano-playing older cousin, Carl McVoy (who later recorded with Invoice Black’s Combo), the radio, and the sounds from Haney’s Massive Home, a black juke joint throughout the tracks.[22] On November 19, 1949, Lewis made his first public efficiency of his profession, enjoying with a rustic and western band at a automobile dealership in Ferriday. The hit of his set was a canopy of R&B artist Sticks McGhee’s “Drinkin’ Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee”.[23] On the reside album By Request, Extra of the Best Dwell Present on Earth, Lewis is heard naming Moon Mullican as an artist who impressed him.[24]

His mom enrolled him on the Southwest Bible Institute in Waxahachie, Texas in order that he might sing evangelical songs completely. When Lewis daringly performed a boogie-woogie rendition of “My God Is Actual” at a church meeting, it ended his affiliation with the college the identical night time. Pearry Inexperienced, then president of the scholar physique, associated how throughout a expertise present Lewis performed some “worldly” music. The following morning, the dean of the college known as Lewis and Inexperienced into his workplace to expel them. After that incident, he went dwelling and began enjoying at golf equipment in and round Ferriday and Natchez, Mississippi, changing into a part of the burgeoning new rock and roll sound and slicing his first demo recording in 1952 for Cosimo Matassa in New Orleans.[25] Round 1955, he traveled to Nashville, the place he performed in golf equipment and tried to construct curiosity, however was turned down by the Grand Ole Opry, as he was already on the Louisiana Hayride nation stage and radio present in Shreveport.[26]


Solar Information

Solar Information in Memphis, Tennessee, the place Lewis started his profession and recorded lots of his most well-known singles

Publicity picture of Lewis, c. Nineteen Fifties

Solar Information artist Ray Harris singing the music “Buck Greenback”, with Lewis enjoying the piano

In November 1956, Lewis traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to audition for Solar Information. Label proprietor Sam Phillips was in Florida, however producer and engineer Jack Clement recorded Lewis’s rendition of Ray Value’s “Loopy Arms” and his personal composition “Finish of the Highway”. In December 1956, Lewis started recording prolifically, as a solo artist and as a session musician for different Solar artists, together with Carl Perkins and Johnny Money. His distinctive piano enjoying might be heard on many tracks recorded at Solar in late 1956 and early 1957, together with Carl Perkins’s “Matchbox”, “Your True Love”, and “Put Your Cat Garments On” and Billy Lee Riley’s “Flyin’ Saucers Rock’n’Roll”.

On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley dropped in on Phillips to pay a social go to whereas Perkins was within the studio slicing new tracks with Lewis backing him on piano. Johnny Money was additionally there watching Perkins. The 4 then began an impromptu jam session and Phillips left the tape working.[27] These recordings, nearly half of which have been gospel songs, have been launched on CD as Million Greenback Quartet. Tracks additionally embody Elvis Presley’s “Do not Be Merciless” and “Paralyzed”, Chuck Berry’s “Brown Eyed Good-looking Man” and Pat Boone’s “Do not Forbid Me”.

Lewis’s personal singles (on which he was billed as “Jerry Lee Lewis And His Pumping Piano”) superior his profession as a soloist throughout 1957, with hits similar to “Entire Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”, a Massive Maybelle cowl, and “Nice Balls of Fireplace”, his largest hit, bringing him worldwide fame, regardless of criticism for the songs, which prompted some radio stations to boycott them. In 2005, “Entire Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” was chosen for everlasting preservation within the Nationwide Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. In accordance with a number of first-hand sources, together with Johnny Money, Lewis, a religious Christian, was troubled by the sinful nature of his personal materials, which he believed was main him and his viewers to Hell.[28] This facet of Lewis’s character was depicted in Waylon Payne’s portrayal of Lewis within the 2005 movie Stroll the Line, primarily based on Money’s autobiographies.

As a part of his stage act, Lewis pounded the keys together with his heel, kicked the piano bench apart and performed standing, raking his arms up and down the keyboard for dramatic impact, sat on the keyboard and even stood on high of the instrument. Lewis instructed the Pop Chronicles that kicking over the bench initially occurred by chance, however when it received a beneficial response, he stored it within the act.[27] His first TV look, wherein he demonstrated a few of these strikes, was on The Steve Allen Present on July 28, 1957, the place he performed “Entire Lotta Shakin’ Goin On”.[29][30]

His dynamic efficiency type might be seen in movies similar to Excessive College Confidential (he sang the title music from the again of a flatbed truck), and Jamboree. He has been known as “rock & roll’s first nice wild man” and likewise “rock & roll’s first nice eclectic”.[31] Classical composer Michael Nyman has additionally cited Lewis’s type because the progenitor of his personal aesthetic.[32]

Marriage controversy

Lewis’s turbulent private life was hidden from the general public till a Might 1958 British tour the place Ray Berry, a information company reporter at London’s Heathrow Airport (the one journalist current), discovered about Lewis’ third spouse Myra Gale Brown. She is Lewis’s first cousin as soon as eliminated[33][34] and was 13 years previous (although Lewis stated that she was 15) – whereas Lewis was 22 years previous. The publicity precipitated an uproar, and the tour was cancelled after solely three concert events.[35]

In 1960, Phillips opened a brand new state-of-the-art studio at 639 Madison Avenue in Memphis,[36] abandoning the previous Union Avenue studio the place Phillips had recorded B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Lewis, Johnny Money and others, and likewise opened a studio in Nashville. It was on the latter studio that Lewis recorded his solely main hit throughout this era, a rendition of Ray Charles’s “What’d I Say” in 1961. In Europe, different up to date variations of “Candy Little Sixteen” (September 1962 UK) and “Good Golly Miss Molly” (March 1963) entered the hit parade. On standard EPs, “Dangle Up My Rock and Roll Footwear”, “I’ve Been Twistin'”, “Cash” and “Good day Josephine” additionally turned turntable hits, particularly in nascent discothèques. One other recording of Lewis enjoying an instrumental boogie association of the Glenn Miller Orchestra favourite “Within the Temper” was issued on the Phillips Worldwide label below the pseudonym “the Hawk”.[37]

Smash Information

Lewis’s Solar recording contract resulted in 1963, and he joined Smash Information, the place he made a number of rock recordings that didn’t additional his profession. The group at Smash (a division of Mercury Information) got here up with “I am on Fireplace”, a music that they felt could be excellent for Lewis and, as Colin Escott writes within the sleeve to the retrospective A Half Century of Hits, “Mercury held the presses, considering that they had discovered Lewis’s comeback hit, and it may need occurred if The Beatles hadn’t arrived in America, altering radio playlists nearly in a single day. Mercury did not actually know what to do with Lewis after that.” Considered one of Smash’s first choices was to file a retread of his Solar hits, Golden Hits of Jerry Lee Lewis, which was impressed by the persevering with enthusiasm European followers had proven for Lewis’s firebrand rock and roll. In June 1963, Lewis returned to the UK for the primary time because the scandal that almost ended his profession 5 years earlier, to headline a efficiency on the MV Royal Daffodil, for a cross-channel rock and roll cruise from Southend, Essex, UK to Boulogne, France. For this efficiency, he was backed by Ritchie Blackmore and the Outlaws.[38] Nevertheless, regardless of his profitable reside excursions, none of Lewis’s early Smash albums, together with The Return of Rock, Memphis Beat, and Soul My Means, have been industrial successes.

Dwell on the Star Membership, Hamburg

One main success throughout these misplaced years was the live performance album Dwell on the Star Membership, Hamburg, recorded with the Nashville Teenagers in 1964, which is taken into account one of many biggest reside albums ever.[10][12][13][14][39] In Joe Bonomo’s e-book Misplaced and Discovered, producer Siggi Loch said that the recording setup was uncomplicated, with microphones positioned as near the devices as doable and a stereo mic positioned within the viewers to seize the atmosphere. The outcomes have been sonically astonishing, with Bonomo observing, “Detractors complain of the album’s crashing noisiness, the shortage of subtlety with which Jerry Lee revisits the songs, the truth that the piano is blended too loudly, however what is definite is that Siggi Loch on this spring night captured one thing brutally trustworthy in regards to the Killer, in regards to the primal and timeless centre of the perfect rock & roll…” The album showcases Lewis’s expertise as a pianist and singer, honed by relentless touring. In a 5-out-of-5-stars overview, Milo Miles wrote in Rolling Stone journal that “Dwell on the Star Membership, Hamburg just isn’t an album, it is a crime scene: Jerry Lee Lewis slaughters his rivals in a thirteen-song set that seems like one lengthy convulsion.”

Nation comeback

Lewis performing with Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Money on The Johnny Money Christmas Particular in November 1977

Annoyed by Smash’s incapability to attain a success, Lewis was planning on leaving the label when promotions supervisor Eddie Kilroy known as him and pitched the thought of slicing a pure nation file in Nashville. With nothing to lose, Lewis agreed to file the Jerry Chesnut music “One other Place, One other Time”, which was launched as a single on March 9, 1968, and, to everybody’s amazement, shot up the nation charts. On the time of the discharge, Lewis had been enjoying Iago in a rock and roll adaptation of Othello known as Catch My Soul in Los Angeles however was quickly rushed again to Nashville to file one other batch of songs with producer Jerry Kennedy. What adopted was a string of hits that nobody might have ever predicted, though nation music all the time remained a significant a part of Lewis’s repertoire. As Colin Escott observes within the sleeve to the 1995 compilation Killer Nation, the conversion to nation music in 1968 “seemed on the time like a radical shift, nevertheless it was neither as abrupt nor as sudden because it appeared. Jerry had all the time recorded nation music, and his nation breakthrough “One other Place, One other Time” had been preceded by international locations nation information beginning together with his first, ‘Loopy Arms’, in 1956.” The final time Lewis had a music on the nation charts was with “Pen and Paper” in 1964, which had reached quantity 36, however “One other Place, One other Time” would go all the best way to quantity 4 and stay on the charts for 17 weeks.

Between 1968 and 1977, Lewis had 17 High 10 hit singles on the Billboard nation chart, together with 4 chart-toppers. Hits embody “What’s Made Milwaukee Well-known (Has Made A Loser Out of Me)”, “To Make Love Sweeter For You”, “She Nonetheless Comes Round (To Love What’s Left of Me)”, “Since I Met You Child”, “As soon as Extra With Feeling”, “One Has My Title (The Different Has My Coronary heart)”, and “Generally A Reminiscence Ain’t Sufficient”. The manufacturing on his early nation albums, similar to One other Place, One other Time and She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye, was sparse, fairly completely different from the slick “Nashville sound” that was predominant on nation radio on the time, and likewise expressed a full dedication by Lewis to a rustic viewers. The songs nonetheless featured Lewis’s inimitable piano prospers, however critics have been most bowled over by the rock and roll pioneer’s effortlessly soulful vocals, which possessed an emotional resonance on par with probably the most revered nation singers of the time, similar to George Jones and Merle Haggard. In his e-book Jerry Lee Lewis: His Personal Story, biographer Rick Bragg notes that the songs Lewis was recording “have been of the type they have been beginning to name ‘onerous nation’, not as a result of it had a rock beat or crossed over into rock in an actual means, however as a result of it was extra substantial than the cloying, overproduced mess on the market on nation radio”.

In a exceptional turnaround, Lewis turned probably the most bankable nation star on the planet. He was so large in 1970 that his former Smash producer Shelby Singleton, who bought Solar Information from Sam Phillips in July 1969, wasted no time in repackaging lots of Lewis’s previous nation recordings with such effectiveness that many followers assumed they have been latest releases. Considered one of his latter unreleased Solar recordings, “One Minute Previous Eternity”, was issued as a single and soared to quantity 2 on the nation chart, following Lewis’s latest Mercury hit “She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye”. Singleton would milk these unreleased recordings for years, following The Golden Cream of the Nation with A Style of Nation later in 1970.

Grand Ole Opry look

Lewis performed the Grand Ole Opry for the primary and solely time on January 20, 1973. As Colin Escott writes within the liner notes to A Half Century of Hits, Lewis had all the time maintained ambivalent emotions in the direction of Music Metropolis ever since he’d been turned away as an aspiring musician earlier than his glory days at Solar Information: “It was 18 years since he had left Nashville broke and disheartened… Lewis was by no means really accepted in Nashville. He did not transfer there and did not schmooze there. He did not slot in with the household values crowd. Lewis household values weren’t essentially worse, however they have been completely different.”

As recounted in a 2015 on-line Rolling Stone article by Beville Dunkerly, Lewis opened together with his comeback single “One other Place, One other Time”. Ignoring his allotted time constraints— and, thus, industrial breaks— Lewis performed for 40 minutes (the typical Opry efficiency is 2 songs, for about eight minutes of stage time most) and invited Del Wooden— the one member of the Opry who had been type to him when he had been there as a teen— out on stage to sing with him. He additionally blasted by “Entire Lotta Shakin’ Going On”, “Workin’ Man Blues”, “Good Golly Miss Molly”, and a bunch of different classics.[40]

The Session and Southern Roots

Lewis returned to the pop charts with “Me and Bobby McGee” in 1971 and “Chantilly Lace” in 1972, and this flip of occasions, coupled with a revitalized public curiosity in classic rock and roll, impressed Mercury to fly Lewis to London in 1973 to file with a cadre of gifted British and Irish musicians, together with Rory Gallagher, Kenney Jones, and Albert Lee. By all accounts the classes have been tense. The remake of Lewis’s previous Solar lower “Consuming Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” could be the album’s hit single, reaching quantity 20 on the Billboard nation chart and peaking at quantity 41 on the pop chart. The Session could be Lewis’s highest pop charting album since 1964’s Golden Hits of Jerry Lee Lewis, hitting quantity 37. It did much better on the nation albums chart, rising to quantity 4. Later that very same 12 months, he went to Memphis and recorded Southern Roots: Again Residence to Memphis, a soul-infused rock album produced by Huey Meaux. In accordance with Rick Bragg’s approved 2014 biography, “the Killer” was in a foul temper when he confirmed up at Trans Maximus Studios in Memphis to file: “Throughout these classes, he insulted the producer, threatened to kill a photographer, and drank and medicated his means into however not out of a fog.” Throughout one alternate that may be heard on the 2013 reissue Southern Roots: The Authentic Classes, Meaux asks Lewis, “Do you wanna strive one?”, that means a take, to which Lewis replies, “Should you received sufficient fuckin’ sense to chop it.”[41] Lewis was nonetheless pumping out nation albums, though the hits have been starting to dry up. His final massive hit with Mercury was “Center Age Loopy”, which made it to quantity 4 in 1977.

Lewis performing in 1977

Later profession

Lewis performing in 2009

In 1979, Lewis switched to Elektra and produced the critically acclaimed Jerry Lee Lewis, though gross sales have been disappointing. In 1986, Lewis was one of many inaugural inductees into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame. Though wanting frail after a number of hospitalizations attributable to abdomen issues, Lewis was liable for starting an unplanned jam on the finish of the night, which was finally included into all future occasions. That 12 months, he returned to Solar Studio in Memphis to group up with Orbison, Money, and Perkins together with longtime admirers like John Fogerty to create the album Class of ’55.

In 1989, a significant movement image primarily based on his formative years in rock and roll, Nice Balls of Fireplace!, introduced him again into the general public eye, particularly when he determined to re-record all his songs for the film soundtrack. The movie was primarily based on the e-book by Lewis’s ex-wife, Myra Gale Lewis, and starred Dennis Quaid as Lewis, Winona Ryder as Myra, and Alec Baldwin as Jimmy Swaggart. The film focuses on Lewis’s early profession and his relationship with Myra and ends with the scandal of the late Nineteen Fifties. A 12 months later, in 1990, Lewis made minor information when a brand new music he recorded known as “It Was the Whiskey Talkin’ (Not Me)” was included within the soundtrack to the hit film Dick Tracy. The music can also be heard within the film, enjoying on the radio. The general public downfall of his cousin, tv evangelist Jimmy Swaggart across the identical time, resulted in additional antagonistic publicity to a troubled household. Swaggart can also be a piano participant, as is one other cousin, nation music star Mickey Gilley. All three listened to the identical music of their youth and frequented Haney’s Massive Home, the Ferriday membership that featured black blues acts. Lewis and Swaggart have had a fancy relationship through the years.

Lewis performing on the Rhythm Pageant in Bedford, England in 2006

In 1998, Lewis toured Europe with Chuck Berry and Little Richard.[42] On February 12, 2005, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Recording Academy.[16] On September 26, 2006, a brand new album titled Final Man Standing was launched, that includes lots of rock and roll’s elite as visitor stars. Receiving constructive critiques, the album charted in 4 completely different Billboard charts, together with a two-week keep at primary on the Indie charts. A DVD entitled Final Man Standing Dwell, that includes live performance footage with many visitor artists, was launched in March 2007.

Lewis performing in 2006

In October 2008, as a part of a profitable European tour, Lewis appeared at two London exhibits a particular personal present on the 100 Membership on October 25 and on the London Discussion board on October 28 with Wanda Jackson and his sister, Linda Gail Lewis.[43] In August 2009, prematurely of his new album, a single entitled “Imply Outdated Man” was launched for obtain. It was written by Kris Kristofferson. An EP that includes this music and 4 extra was additionally launched on November 11. On October 29, 2009, Lewis opened the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame twenty fifth Anniversary live performance at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York Metropolis.[44]

In Might 2013, Lewis opened a brand new membership on Beale Road in Memphis.[45][46] Lewis continues to be thought of actively performing in live performance,[47] although he needed to cancel all exhibits since his February 28, 2019 stroke, ready for his docs’ go-ahead.[48]

In 2017 Lewis made a private look at The Nation Music Tv ‘Skyville Dwell’ present. It was a specifically recorded efficiency that includes a complete array of artists paying tribute to the music of Lewis.[49][50]

In March 2020, it was introduced that Lewis, along with producer T-Bone Burnett, was recording a brand new album of gospel covers. It was the primary time he entered a recording studio following his stroke.[51]

On October 27, 2020, to have fun Lewis’ eighty fifth birthday, a livestream aired on YouTube, Fb and his official web site. The livestream particular, Entire Lotta Celebratin’ Goin’ On, featured appearances and performances by Willie Nelson, Elton John, Mike Love, Priscilla Presley, Joe Walsh, and others. John Stamos served because the host.[52][53]

Music legacy


Lewis’ “Brass Observe” on the Beale Road Stroll of Fame in Memphis

Jerry Lee Lewis Avenue in Ferriday, Louisiana

Together with Johnny Money, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison, Lewis obtained the primary Grammy Award within the spoken-word class for the very uncommon album of interviews launched with some early copies of the Class of ’55 album in 1986.[16] The unique Solar lower of “Nice Balls of Fireplace” was elected to the Grammy Corridor of Fame in 1998, and Lewis’s Solar recording of “Entire Lotta Shakin’ Goin On” obtained this honor in 1999.[54] Solely recordings which can be a minimum of 25 years previous and have left an enduring impression can obtain this honor. On February 12, 2005, Lewis obtained the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award the day earlier than the Recording Academy’s major Grammy Awards ceremony, which he additionally attended.[55]

In June 1989, Lewis was honored for his contribution to the recording trade with a star alongside Hollywood Boulevard on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame. On October 10, 2007, Lewis obtained the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame’s American Music Masters Award. His subsequent album, Imply Outdated Man, was launched in September 2010 and reached No. 30 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

On November 5, 2007, the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame and Case Western Reserve College in Cleveland, Ohio, honored Lewis with six days of conferences, interviews, a DVD premiere and movie clips, devoted to him and entitled The Life And Music of Jerry Lee Lewis.[56] On November 10, the week culminated with a tribute live performance compered by Kris Kristofferson. Lewis was current to just accept the American Music Masters Award and closed his personal tribute present with a rendition of “Over the Rainbow”. On February 10, 2008, he appeared with John Fogerty and Little Richard on the fiftieth Grammy Awards, performing “Nice Balls of Fireplace” in a medley with “Good Golly Miss Molly”. On June 4, 2008, Lewis was inducted into the Louisiana Music Corridor of Fame and appeared on A Capitol Fourth and carried out the finale’s remaining act with a medley of “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Entire Lotta Shakin’ Goin On” and “Nice Balls of Fireplace”.

In December 2019, Lewis was honored with a Mississippi Nation Music Path marker at his ranch in Nesbit, Mississippi to have fun his contributions to nation music.[57]

Piano type

Lewis was an incendiary showman who usually performed together with his fists, elbows, ft, and bottom, generally climbing on high of the piano throughout gigs and even apocryphally setting it on hearth.[58] Like Chuck Berry’s guitar enjoying, Lewis’s piano type has develop into synonymous with rock and roll, having influenced generations of piano gamers.

In a 2013 interview with Leah Harper, Elton John remembers that up till “Nice Balls of Fireplace”, “the piano enjoying that I had heard had been extra sedate. My dad collected George Shearing information, however this was the primary time I heard somebody beat the shit out of a piano. After I noticed Little Richard on the Harrow Granada, he performed it standing up, however Jerry Lee Lewis truly jumped on the piano! This was astonishing to me, that folks might try this. These information had such an enormous impact on me, and so they have been simply so nice. I discovered to play like that.” Lewis is primarily identified for his “boogie-woogie” type, which is characterised by a daily left-hand bass determine and dancing beat, however his command of the instrument and extremely individualistic type set him aside. Showing on Memphis Sounds with George Klein in 2011, Lewis credited his older piano-playing cousin Carl McVoy as being a vital affect, stating, “He was an awesome piano participant, an awesome singer, and a nice-looking man, carried himself actual effectively. I miss Carl very a lot.” Lewis additionally cited Moon Mullican as a supply of inspiration.[24] Though nearly totally self-taught, Lewis conceded to biographer Wealthy Bragg in 2014 that Paul Whitehead, a blind pianist from Meadville, Mississippi, was one other key affect on him in his earliest days enjoying golf equipment.[59]

Though Lewis’s piano enjoying is usually labelled boogie-woogie, gospel music was one other main affect within the formation of his method. In Joe Bonomo’s 2009 e-book Jerry Lee Lewis: Misplaced and Discovered, Memphis producer and musician Jim Dickinson calls Lewis’s occasional penchant for interrupting the usual boogie woogie left-hand development by omitting the seventh and repeating the fifth and sixth, making a repetitive, driving, quasi-menacing momentum, “revolutionary, nearly inexplicable. Possibly Ella Mae Morse, Moon Mullican had completed it, however not in a means that turned the propelling pressure of the music. Rock and roll piano as much as that time had been outlined by Rosco Gordon, Ike Turner, and to an extent, Ray Charles. None of them was doing that. Even Little Richard, as primitive as he performs, wasn’t doing that shuffle… There was one thing in Jerry Lee that did not need to play that seventh, and that is the church. Actually in white non secular music you keep away from sevenths.”

Private life

Relationships and kids

Lewis has been “married” seven instances, together with bigamous marriages and a wedding together with his personal underage cousin.[60] He had six kids throughout his marriages. In 1962, his son Steve Allen Lewis drowned in a swimming pool accident at age three, and in 1973, Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. died on the age of 19[61][62] when he overturned the Jeep he was driving.[61]

When he was 16, he married Dorothy Barton, the daughter of a preacher.[63] Their union lasted for 20 months from February 1952 to October 1953.[61]

His second marriage in September 1953, to Jane Mitchum, was of doubtful validity as a result of it occurred 23 days earlier than his divorce from Barton was remaining. After 4 years, Lewis filed for divorce in October 1957. The couple had two kids: Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. (1954–1973) and Ronnie Man Lewis (b. 1956).

His third marriage was to 13-year-old Myra Gale Brown, his first cousin as soon as eliminated, on December 12, 1957.[64] Nevertheless, his divorce from Jane Mitchum was not finalized earlier than the ceremony befell, so he remarried Brown on June 4, 1958.[65] In 1970, Brown filed for divorce on the grounds of adultery and abuse,[65] charging that she had been “topic to each kind of bodily and psychological abuse conceivable.”[66] That they had two kids: Steve Allen Lewis (1959–1962) and Phoebe Allen Lewis (b. 1963).

His fourth marriage was to Jaren Elizabeth Gunn Pate (October 1971 – June 8, 1982). Pate drowned in a swimming pool on the dwelling of a pal with whom she was staying, a number of weeks earlier than divorce proceedings could possibly be finalized.[67] That they had one daughter, Lori Lee Lewis (b. 1972).

Mary Kathy ‘Okay.Okay.’ Jones of San Antonio, Texas, testified in courtroom throughout Lewis’ earnings tax evasion trial in 1984 that she lived with him from 1980 to 1983.[68]

His fifth marriage, to Shawn Stephens, lasted 77 days from June to August 1983, ending along with her dying.[69] Journalist Richard Ben Cramer alleged that Lewis abused her and will have been liable for her dying, however the allegations have by no means been verified.[70]

His sixth marriage, to Kerrie McCarver, lasted 21 years from April 1984 to June 2005. They’ve one youngster: Jerry Lee Lewis III (b. 1987).[71]

In 1993, Lewis moved to Eire together with his household in what was steered (however denied) to be a transfer to keep away from points with the Inner Income Service.[72] He lived in a rented home on Westminster Highway in Foxrock, Dublin, and through his time there was sued by the German firm Neue Constantin Movie Manufacturing GmbH for failure to look at a live performance in Munich in 1993.[73] Lewis returned to the US in 1997 after his tax points had been resolved by Irish promoter Kieran Cavanagh.[74]

Lewis lived on a ranch in Nesbit, Mississippi together with his household.[75][76][77]

Lewis married his seventh spouse Judith Lewis (née Brown) on March 9, 2012.[60] The following day, Lewis severed enterprise ties together with his daughter Phoebe Lewis-Loftin who was his supervisor and revoked her energy of lawyer.[78] In 2017, Lewis sued his daughter and her husband Zeke Loftin claiming that she owed him “substantial sums of cash.”[79] Within the lawsuit, Lewis, his spouse Judith Lewis, and his son Jerry Lee Lewis III additionally claimed Loftin defamed them on Fb. Lewis-Loftin and her husband counter-sued, claiming Judith Lewis and Jerry Lee Lewis III interfered within the enterprise relationship. In April 2019, U.S. District Decide Neal Biggers dominated that a lot of the claims have been barred by a three-year statute of limitations besides the defamation claims.[78]

Spiritual beliefs

As a teen, Lewis studied on the Southwest Bible Institute in Waxahachie, Texas earlier than being thrown out for daring to play a boogie-woogie model of “My God Is Actual”, and that early incident foreshadowed his lifelong battle over his religion in God and his love of enjoying “the satan’s music”. Lewis had a recorded argument with Sam Phillips in the course of the recording session for “Nice Balls of Fireplace”, a music he initially refused to file as a result of he thought of it blasphemous (“How can… How can the satan save souls? What are you talkin’ about?” he asks Phillips throughout one heated alternate.) Through the well-known Million Greenback Quartet jam involving Lewis, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Money, they carried out a number of gospel songs. Lewis’s biographer Rick Bragg explains that a part of the rationale the recording solely options Lewis and Elvis singing is as a result of “solely Elvis and Jerry Lee [were] raised within the Meeting of God”, and ‘Johnny and Carl did not actually know the phrases… they was Baptists’, [Lewis] stated, and subsequently disadvantaged.”[80]

Within the 1990 documentary The Jerry Lee Lewis Story, Lewis stated to the interviewer, “The Bible would not even communicate of faith. No phrase of faith is even within the Bible. Sanctification! Are you sanctified? Have you ever been saved? See, I used to be a superb preacher, I do know my Bible? I discover myself falling in need of the glory of God.”

Gospel music was a staple of his performing repertoire. After a string of hit nation albums, he determined to file a gospel album for the primary time in 1970.

Graceland arrest

On November 22, 1976, Lewis was arrested exterior Elvis Presley’s Graceland dwelling for allegedly aspiring to shoot him.[81] Lewis nearly killed his personal bass participant, Butch Owens, on September 29, 1976 (Lewis’s forty first birthday) when a .357 Magnum by accident went off in his hand.[82] In Rick Bragg’s 2014 approved biography, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Personal Story, Lewis stated that the reclusive Presley had been attempting to achieve him and at last did on November 23, imploring him to “come out to the home.” Lewis replied that he would if he had time, however that he was busy attempting to get his father, Elmo, out of jail in Tunica for driving below the affect. Later that night time, Lewis was at a Memphis nightclub known as Vapors ingesting champagne when he was given a gun. Lewis all of the sudden remembered that Elvis wished to see him and, climbing aboard his new Lincoln Continental with the loaded pistol on the sprint and a bottle of champagne below his arm, tore off for Graceland. Simply earlier than three o’clock within the morning, Lewis by accident smashed into the well-known Graceland gates.

Presley’s astonished cousin Harold Lloyd was manning the gate and watched Lewis try and hurl the champagne bottle out the automobile window, not realizing the window was rolled up, smashing each. Bragg studies that Lewis denies ever aspiring to do Presley hurt, that the 2 have been mates, however “Elvis, watching on the closed-circuit tv, instructed guards to name the police. The Memphis police discovered the gun within the automobile and put Lewis, protesting, hollering, threatening them, away in handcuffs.” Lewis stated, “The cops requested Elvis, ‘What would you like us to do? And Elvis instructed ’em, ‘Lock him up.’ That harm my emotions. To be petrified of me – knowin’ me the best way he did – was ridiculous.” Lewis was charged with carrying a pistol and public drunkenness. Launched on a $250 bond, his defiant mugshot was wired all over the world. Presley himself died at Graceland eight months later.[83][84][85]

Monetary points

The gate to Lewis’ ranch in Nesbit, Mississippi

In 1979, the IRS seized property from Lewis to compensate a $274,000 tax debt.[86] The property included a number of vehicles, a tractor, 5 bikes, jewellery, musical devices, dwelling leisure tools and firearms. In 1980, an public sale was held, however solely 150 potential bidders confirmed up. The public sale amassed $91,382, lower than a 3rd of the debt.[86]

In 1984, he was discovered harmless of evading taxes. Nevertheless, the subsequent 12 months, the IRS seized property from Lewis’ ranch in Nesbit, Mississippi.[86]

In 1988, Lewis filed for chapter, petitioning that he was greater than $3 million in debt, together with $2 million he owed to the IRS.[86]

Well being issues

On February 28, 2019, Lewis suffered a significant stroke in Memphis.[87] He absolutely recovered, however needed to cancel upcoming appearances.[88]

Chosen discography

  • Jerry Lee Lewis (1958)
  • Jerry Lee’s Best (1962)
  • Dwell on the Star Membership, Hamburg (1964)
  • The Return of Rock (1965)
  • Nation Songs for Metropolis Of us/All Nation (1965)
  • Memphis Beat (1966)
  • Soul My Means (1967)
  • One other Place, One other Time (1968)
  • She Nonetheless Comes Round (1969)
  • Sings the Nation Music Corridor of Fame Hits, Vol. 1 (1969)
  • Sings the Nation Music Corridor of Fame Hits, Vol. 2 (1969)
  • The Golden Cream of the Nation (1969)
  • She Even Woke Me As much as Say Goodbye (1970)
  • A Style of Nation (1970)
  • There Should Be Extra to Love Than This (1971)
  • Touching Residence (1971)
  • Would You Take One other Probability on Me? (1971)
  • The Killer Rocks On (1972)
  • Who’s Gonna Play This Outdated Piano? (1972)
  • The Session…Recorded in London with Nice Artists (1973)
  • Generally a Reminiscence Ain’t Sufficient (1973)
  • Southern Roots: Again Residence to Memphis (1973)
  • I-40 Nation (1974)
  • Boogie Woogie Nation Man (1975)
  • Odd Man In (1975)
  • Nation Class (1976)
  • Nation Reminiscences (1977)
  • Jerry Lee Retains Rockin’ (1978)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis (1979)
  • When Two Worlds Collide (1980)
  • Killer Nation (1980)
  • I Am What I Am (1984)
  • Class of ’55 (1986)
  • Younger Blood (1995)
  • Final Man Standing (2006)
  • Final Man Standing Dwell (2007)
  • Imply Outdated Man (2010)
  • Rock and Roll Time (2014)


Lewis wrote or co-wrote the next songs: “Finish of the Highway” (1956), “Lewis Boogie” (1956), “Pumpin’ Piano Rock” (1957), “Excessive College Confidential” (1958), “Reminiscence of You” (1958), “Child Child Bye Bye” (1960), though Discogs credit Jerry Lee Lewis and Huey “Piano” Smith because the songwriters, the music was copyrighted in 1960 as by Lewis Smith,[89] “Lewis Exercise”[90] (1960), “He Took It Like a Man” (1963, from the 1967 album Soul My Means), “Child, Maintain Me Shut” (1965) from the 1965 album The Return of Rock, “What a Heck of a Mess” (1966), “Lincoln Limousine” (1966), “Alvin”[91] (1970), “Wall Round Heaven” from the 1972 album Who’s Gonna Play This Outdated Piano?, “Rockin’ Jerry Lee” (1980, the B aspect of “Honky Tonk Stuff”, from the album When Two Worlds Collide), “Pilot Child” (1983), “Crown Victoria Customized ’51” (1995), launched as a Sire 45 single B aspect, and “Ol’ Glory” (2006) from the album Final Man Standing.[92]


  • Bonomo, Joe (2009). Jerry Lee Lewis: Misplaced and Discovered. New York: Continuum Books.
  • Tosches, Nick (1982). Hellfire. New York: Grove Press.
  • Gutterman, Jimmy (1991). Rockin’ My Life Away: Listening to Jerry Lee Lewis. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press.
  • Gutterman, Jimmy (1993). The Jerry Lee Lewis Anthology: All Killer, No Filler. Rhino Information.
  • Lewis, Myra; Silver, Murray (1981). Nice Balls of Fireplace: The Uncensored Story of Jerry Lee Lewis. William Morrow/Quill/St. Martin’s Press.
  • Whitburn, Joel (1985). The Billboard Guide of High 40 Hits.

  • Official web site Edit this at Wikidata
  • Jerry Lee Lewis at AllMusic
  • Jerry Lee Lewis discography at Discogs
  • Jerry Lee Lewis at IMDb
  • Jerry Lee Lewis at
  • Rockin’ My Life Away by Jimmy Guterman, a full on-line biography
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Corridor of Fame
  • Jerry Lee Lewis Web page for His Hits, Biography on the Wayback Machine (archived August 15, 2010)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)[dead link]
  • Itemizing of all Lewis’s Solar Information recordings and options Archived January 9, 2019, on the Wayback Machine[dead link]

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