Jerry Lee Lewis

An extrovert showman who became one of the primary figures in the revolutionary rock'n'roll explosion of the 1950s, Jerry Lee Lewis – born September 29, 1935, in Ferriday, Louisiana - helped to transform music - and with it, youth culture - forever. Lewis started young, his parents mortgaging their farm to buy him a piano, and he was heavily influenced by local black musicians as he developed his distinctive boogie woogie piano style. Expelled from his church school for playing "the devil's music", he auditioned for Sun Records where he became a regular session pianist, playing for many Sun artists including Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Carl Perkins. Lewis' own hits began in 1957 with the wild rockers “Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On” and “Great Balls Of Fire,” capturing young imaginations with his dynamic live appearances in the movies High School Confidential and Jamboree, while outraging the moral majority with sexual overtones. His career went into free-fall, however, as scandal erupted when it was revealed he'd married his 13-year-old cousin, but he eventually repaired his reputation with a series of country records, including the late 1960s hit singles “Another Place Another Time,” “To Make Love Sweeter For You,” and “What Made Milwaukee Famous.” Interest revived again following the 1989 movie of his life, Great Balls Of Fire, and he went on to record with Van Morrison and embarked on rock 'n' roll revival tours with Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Lewis' 2006 album Last Man Standing - featuring guest appearances from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Page, and Rod Stewart - became his best-ever seller. Jerry Lee Lewis released two more studio albums – Mean Old Man (2010) and Rock and Roll Time (2014) – and continued to tour frequently until suffering a stroke in early 2019. In May 2022, a documentary about his life – Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind – premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Jerry Lee Lewis’ last album release was Jimmy Lee & Jerry Lee: The Boys from Ferriday, a 2022 gospel duet album with his cousin Jimmy Swaggart. Jerry Lee Lewis died on October 28, 2022, at the age of 87.

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