Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey :: Rock Roots Series
www.hillmanweb.com/book  ::  www.hillmanweb.com/book/gigs
JERRY LEE LEWIS
www.hillmanweb.com/rock/jerrylee
Born on September 29, 1935 in Ferriday, Louisiana, rock and roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, often known by his nickname, The Killer. He has been described as "rock & roll's first great wild man." A pioneer of rock and roll and rockabilly music, Lewis made his first recordings in 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis. "Crazy Arms" sold 300,000 copies in the South, but it was his 1957 hit "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" that shot Lewis to fame worldwide. He followed this with "Great Balls of Fire", "Breathless" and "High School Confidential". However, Lewis's rock and roll career faltered in the wake of his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin when he was 22 years old.

He had minimal success in the charts following the scandal, and his popularity quickly eroded. His live performance fees plummeted from $10,000 per night to $250. In the meantime he was determined to gain back some of his popularity. In the early 1960s, he did not have much chart success, with few exceptions, such as a cover of Ray Charles's "What'd I Say". His live performances at this time were increasingly wild and energetic. His 1964 live album, "Live at the Star Club, Hamburg", is regarded by music journalists and fans as one of the wildest and greatest live rock albums ever. In 1968 Lewis made a transition into country music and had hits with songs such as "Another Place, Another Time". This reignited his career, and throughout the late 1960s and 1970s he regularly topped the country-western charts; throughout his seven-decade career, Lewis has had 30 songs reach the top 10 on the "Billboard Country and Western Chart". His No. 1 country hits included "To Make Love Sweeter for You", "There Must Be More to Love Than This", "Would You Take Another Chance on Me" and "Me and Bobby McGee".

Lewis has a dozen gold records in both rock and country. He won several Grammy awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award. Lewis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 1989, his life was chronicled in the movie Great Balls of Fire, starring Dennis Quaid. In 2003, Rolling Stone listed his box set All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology number 242 on their list of "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". In 2004, they ranked him number 24 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Lewis is the last surviving member of Sun Records' Million Dollar Quartet and the Class of '55 album, which also included Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley.

On this day in 1976, at his 41st birthday party, a drunk Jerry Lee Lewis attempts to shoot a soda bottle with his .357 Magnum and instead hits his bass player, Norman Owens, twice in the chest. Owens makes a full recovery.

Reference: John Einarson Remembers
A FEW OTHER JERRY LEE APPEARANCES ON OUR WEBSITE
 Photos from the 2000 Minnedosa Rock Festival
www.hillmanweb.com/music/rock2000b.html

Quartet
www.hillmanweb.com/sun/quartet.html

From the Gig Notes Section of our 50-Year Odyssey Book
3. Sun's Early Morning Killer Storm: Jerry Lee
www.hillmanweb.com/book/gigs/10.html#killer


Click for full-size Promo Splash Bar

PHOTOS:
www.hillmanweb.com/rock/jerrylee/photos/friends.html


POSTER COLLAGES
Click to open full-size collage posters

Poster | Web | 5" | Card | Thumbnail


Poster | Web | 5" | Card | Thumbnail


Poster | Web | 5" | Card | Thumbnail
 

BACK TO THE ROCK ROOTS PAGE