Jerry Lee Lewis By: Jessica Cervantes
Jerry Lee Lewis • Born September 29, 1935, in Ferriday, Louisiana. • Began playing the piano at age 9. • Got his first piano at age 10. • He taught himself to play piano and sang in church growing up.
Biography • He gave his first public performance at the age of 14 for the opening of a Ford dealership in Ferriday. • Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and Al Jolson were some of his early big influences. • Lewis didn’t write much himself, but he transformed other people’s songs into rock and roll that even he called “the devil’s music.”
Biography • In 1956 Lewis headed for Memphis, Tennessee. • He signed with Sun Records and became a rockabilly star. • In 1956, he recorded his first single, "Crazy Arms." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9LKSOM2RsE
Top Hits • "Whole LottaShakin' Goin' On" became a hit on the pop, country and R&B charts. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yRdDnrB5kM • By this time, Lewis developed some of his famous stage actions, such as playing standing up and even lighting the piano on fire.
Top Hits Cont. • His next single, "Great Balls of Fire," proved to be another big hit in December 1957. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGIsx2r9G-E • Lewis struck again with "Breathless," which made it into the Top 10 of the pop charts.
"The Killer" • He earned the nickname "The Killer" for the way he knocked out his audiences.
The Downfall of His Career • Lewis' career cameto a stop, after he married his third wife. • His 13-year-old second cousin, Myra Gale Brown, in December 1957.
The Downfall of His Career • News of his underage bride broke as Lewis started a tour of the United Kingdom in 1958. • Radio stations refused to play his songs, and Lewis had a hard time lining up any live performances.
The Downfall Cont. • Jerry Lee Lewis managed to get one more hit with "High School Confidential" in 1958 before his career took the drop. • His career ran dry for nearly a decade. • In 1963 he left Sun for Smash/Mercury.
Later Albums • Eventually, Lewis and his producer, Jerry Kennedy, decided to abandon rock & roll for country music. • In 1968 he came back with "Another Place, Another Time" (Number Four country). • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEXEhUO7npo
Later Albums Cont. • Lewis recorded several country albums over the next few years. • Including 1970's OldeTyme Country Music and 1975's Boogie Woogie Country Man.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame • He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Recent Music • For 2006's,”Last Man Standing,” Lewis sang a lot of rock, blues and country classics with help from famous admirers such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Kris Kristofferson, Wille Nelson and Buddy Guy. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j1OU9aqq08
Recent Music Cont. • Lewis and Kristofferson worked together again in 2010's ”Mean Old Man”.
Personal Life • He is currently married to his seventh wife, Judith Brown.
Works Cited • http://www.jerryleelewis.com/ • "Jerry Lee Lewis." 2012. The Biography Channel website. Nov 27 2012, 05:19http://www.biography.com/people/jerry-lee-lewis-9381145. • "Jerry Lee Lewis." Rollingstone.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2012. <http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/jerry-lee-lewis/biography>. • Bonomo, Joe. "Lost." Jerry Lee Lewis: Lost and Found. New York: Continuum, 2009. 14-20. Print. • "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum." Jerry Lee Lewis Biography. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. <http://rockhall.com/inductees/jerry-lee-lewis/bio/>.