Since his childhood, he has been known as “The Killer.” He has carved out a career that has seen its share of controversy, but yet when music historians talk about true song stylists, the name of Jerry Lee Lewis often comes up. As Lewis turns 75 today, LimeWire Music Blog salutes a man who—for better or worse—has always marched to his own musical beat.
Born in the heart of Louisiana, Lewis has always been somewhat of a tortured soul. With gospel music being his first love and earliest influence, he blended his style with a little dash of honky-tonk. After playing a boogie-woogie version of “My God Is Real” at a church assembly to the dismay of the dean at Southwest Bible Institute in Waxahachie, TX, Lewis was expelled from school and found his way to Union Street in Memphis and Sun Records.
His career has seen him record country, rock, R&B, and gospel music, and he’s excelled in every style he’s touched. Needless to say, Lewis has done it his way. He might not have taken the easy path, with his controversial marriage to his 13-year-old first cousin cousin Myra Gale Brown when he was 22 being one of the major scandals during his life, but just like a cat with nine lives, Jerry Lee always comes back stronger than ever. Though not on the commercial level as his rock hits of the ’50s like “Great Balls of Fire,” many regard his 1968-1981 country material as some of his best work, particularly 1977’s “Middle Age Crazy.”
Lewis maintained an active touring schedule through the 1980s. Dennis Quaid portrayed the singer in the 1989 biopic Great Balls Of Fire, a film that earned mixed reviews. He continues to record occasionally, hitting with 2006’s Last Man Standing, an album of duets with Keith Richards, George Jones, Chuck Berry, Willie Nelson, and Robbie Robertson, that went gold. This year, he released another duets album, Mean Old Man, a follow-up of sorts to Last Man Standing featuring Tim McGraw, John Fogerty, and Shelby Lynne.
It’s a career that has seen more twists and turns than the Delta that he is so familiar with. However history records the name of Jerry Lee Lewis, one thing is for sure—he definitely qualifies as a survivor. Happy birthday, Killer. Here’s to many more.
Fuente: LimeWire Music Blog