Jerry Lee Lewis Biography

Jerry Lee Lewis is an American singer song-writer and pianist. This biography of Jerry Lee Lewis gives detailed information about his profile, childhood, life & timeline.

Jerry Lee Lewis
Quick Facts

Birthday: September 29, 1935

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By Jerry Lee Lewis Pianists

Age: 84 Years, 84 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Libra

Also Known As: The Killer

Born in: Ferriday, Louisiana, U.S

Famous as: Rock & Roll Singer. Pianist

Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Judith Brown (m. 2012), Dorothy Barton (m. 1952–1), Jane Mitchum (m. 1953–1957), Jaren Elizabeth Gunn Pate (m. 1971–1982), Kerrie McCarver (m. 1984–2005), Myra Gale Brown (m. 1957–1970), Shawn Stephens (m. 1983–1983)

father: Elmo

mother: Mamie Lewis

children: Jerry Lee Lewis III, Jerry Lee Lewis Jr., Phoebe Lewis, Ronnie Guy Lewis, Steven Allen Lewis

U.S. State: Louisiana

More Facts

education: Southwest Bible Institute

awards: 2005 - Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award
2007 - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's American Music Masters Award

Continue Reading Below

Jerry Lee Lewis is one of rock music’s early stars. He is known for his innovative and flamboyant piano playing and catchy fast paced songs. His first great hit, ‘Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin', propelled him to stardom. He followed it up with the single ‘Great Balls of Fire.’ But, just as his career peaked, he made wrong life choices which put a hold on his career. Already twice married, he decided to marry his cousin Myra who was only 13 then, resulting in an outcry in the U. S as well as abroad. Radio stations refused to play his songs, and he was ignored for live performances. He managed to score one more hit with ‘High School Confidential’ during this period before his career nose-dived. In the 1960s, he tried to revive his musical career by becoming a country artist and recorded several country albums over the next few years. The singer was introduced to a new generation of music lovers through the biopic ‘Great Balls of Fire’. In the albums ‘Last Man Standing’ and ‘Mean Old Man’, he revisited many rock, blues and country classics along with famous admirers such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson. The singer continues to record new music and perform around the world.

Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Continue Reading Below
Jerry Lee Lewis
Childhood & Early Life
  • Jerry Lee Lewis was born on September 29, 1935, to Elmo and Mamie Lewis. He began playing the piano when he was nine. His parents backed the son’s passion, even mortgaging their farm to buy him a piano.
  • His early musical influences were his piano-playing cousin Carl McVoy and Moon Mullican. He also got to listen to the tracks that Haney's Big House, the juke joint near his house, played.
  • When he audaciously played a boogie woogie version of ‘My God Is Real’ at a church assembly, he was immediately expelled from the Southwest Bible Institute in Waxahachie, Texas.
    Continue Reading Below
  • Jerry Lee Lewis cut his first demo recording in 1954. But it failed to impress recording executives who could not imagine a successful piano-playing rock star, and advised him to switch to guitar.
  • In 1956, he auditioned for Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. They recorded his rendition of ‘Crazy Arms’ and his own composition ‘End of The Road’, and soon, he became a prolific artist.
  • An unplanned jamming session involving him, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash was recorded in 1956 in the Sun Studios in Memphis, and released three decades later as ‘Million Dollar Quartet’.
  • In the 1958 crime drama film ‘High School Confidential’, he made a cameo appearance to sing the title song he penned with Ron Hargrave. The song reached No.21 on the Billboard charts.
  • Jerry’s career hit a bald patch following his controversial marriage. He released many singles including his versions of ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’, ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ and his version of ‘In the Mood’.
  • To revive his sagging career, he decided to record country ballads. Two hit singles in 1968, ‘Another Place, Another Time’ and ‘To Make Love Sweeter For You’ endeared him to country music fans.
  • ‘Invitation to Your Party’, a single from his 1969 album, ‘The Golden Cream of the Country’, peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
    Continue Reading Below
  • Between 1969 and 1971, many singles including ‘What's Made Milwaukee Famous’, ‘She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye’ and ‘There Must Be More to Love Than This’ became popular.
  • He returned briefly to the rock and roll genre in 1972, with singles like ‘Chantilly Lace’ and ‘Drinkin' Wine Spo-dee-o dee’, as well as with middle ‘Middle Age Crazy’ five years later.
  • He re-recorded all his songs for the movie, ‘Great Balls of Fire!’ in 1989. This major hit film was based on his early life in rock & roll and on his marriage with Myra Gale.
  • The album, ‘Last Man Standing’, released in 2006, consisted of duets of Lewis with some of the biggest names in music, including Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley.
  • In 2008, he appeared with John Fogerty and Little Richard on the 50th Grammy Awards Show, performing a medley of ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’.
  • ‘Mean Old Man’, his 2010 album, like his previous album Last Man Standing, features duets with famous artists including Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Keith Richard, Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow.
  • Age has not slowed down this singer and he continues to perform as of late 2014.
    Continue Reading Below
Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Major Works
  • Jerry Lee Lewis’s 1957 version of ‘Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On’ reached No. 3 on the Billboard pop charts and Lewis became an instant sensation. It is considered an all-time classic.
  • ‘Great Balls of Fire’, a 1957 song recorded by him featured in the movie ‘Jamboree’. It sold over 5 million copies and reached No. 2 on the Billboard pop charts.
  • His 1964 album, ‘Live at the Star Club’, backed by The Nashville Teens at Hamburg, Germany, is regarded by many, as one of the wildest and greatest rock and roll concert albums ever.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 2005, Jerry Lee Lewis received the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award. Two years later he was presented the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's American Music Masters Award.
  • He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6631 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Jerry Lee Lewis married seven times. Dorothy Barton, Jane Mitchum, Myra Lewis, Jaren Elizabeth Gunn Pate, Shawn Stephens, Kerrie McCarver, and Judith Brown were his wives. He fathered seven children.
  • His marriage in 1957 to Myra Lewis, a thirteen year old below-the-age-of-consent second cousin, and that too before divorcing his second wife, ruined his career which was at its prime.
  • The 76-year-old singer-songwriter married his seventh wife Judith Brown, who was his caregiver, in 2012. They spend much of his time-off at his ranch in Nesbit, Mississippi.

See the events in life of Jerry Lee Lewis in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Jerry Lee Lewis Biography
- Editors,
Last Updated
- September 18, 2017

People Also Viewed

Billie Eilish
Taylor Swift
Miley Cyrus

Nick Jonas
Rashida Jones
ASAP Rocky