Music

Jerry Lee Lewis

Born 29 September 1935.
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Jerry Lee Lewis on The Holy Ghost

Lewis talks about who's in control (The Holy Ghost) and we see an archive clip of him playing Breathless on American Bandstand in 1957. Taken from BBC Arena's The Jerry Lee Lewis Story (1990)

Featured in BBC Music Clips
 

Biography

Jerry Lee Lewis (born September 29, 1935) is an American rock and roll and country music singer, pianist and songwriter He is known by the nickname "The Killer" and is often viewed as "rock & roll's first great wild man."

An early pioneer of rock and roll music, in 1956 Lewis made his first recordings at Sun Records. "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. Lewis followed this when he recorded songs such as "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.

He had little success in the charts following the scandal and his popularity quickly faded. 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. During the early 1960s he didn't have much chart success with few exceptions such as "What'd I Say". His live performances at this time were increasingly wild and energetic. His album Live at the Star Club, Hamburg from 1964 is often regarded by many music journalists and fans as one of the wildest and greatest rock and roll concert albums ever. After recording songs such as "I'm on Fire" for several years with little success, 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. 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".

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Mean Old Man

    Mean Old Man 2010

    Reviewed by Martin Longley
    He doesn't usually need any star guests, but we're glad this lot turned up anyway.
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