Jerry Lee Lewis Biography

(One of the Most Influential Pianists of the 20th Century)

Birthday: September 29, 1935 (Libra)

Born In: Ferriday, Louisiana, United States

Jerry Lee Lewis was an American singer and pianist. Considered a pioneer of rockabilly and rock and roll music, Jerry was known for his innovative and flamboyant piano playing style and catchy, fast-paced songs. His first major hit, Whole LottaShakin' Goin'On catapulted him to stardom. He followed it up with the single ‘Great Balls of Fire.’ Just as his career began to peak, he made wrong life choices that checked his career growth. His marriage to his cousin MyraGale Brown, who was only thirteen years old at the time, resulted in an outcry in the US as well as abroad. Radio stations refused to play his songs, and he was not considered for live performances. He managed to come up with one more hit song titled ‘High School Confidential’ during this period before his career nose-dived. In the 1960s, he tried to revive his music career as a country singer. He then 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. In 2004, ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine ranked him 24th in its ‘100 Greatest Artists of All Time’ list.

Quick Facts

Nick Name: The Killer

Died At Age: 87


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

siblings: Elmo Lewis Jr., Frankie Jean Lewis, Linda Gail Lewis

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

Born Country: United States

Quotes By Jerry Lee Lewis Musicians

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

Died on: October 28, 2022

place of death: Nesbit, Mississippi, U.S.

U.S. State: Louisiana

Childhood & Early Life
Jerry Lee Lewis was born on September 29, 1935, in Ferriday, Louisiana, USA, to Elmo and Mamie Lewis. He began playing the piano when he was nine. His parents backed their 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 were played at‘Haney's Big House,’ a juke joint near his house.
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.
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Jerry Lee Lewis cut his first demo recording in 1954. But it failed to impress recording executives who found it difficult to 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.’ Soon, he became a prolific artist.

An unplanned jamming session involving Jerry, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash was recorded in 1956, in the ‘Sun Studios’ in Memphis.It was released almostthree decades later as ‘Million Dollar Quartet.’

In the 1958 crime drama film ‘High School Confidential,’ he made a cameo appearance and performed the title song which he had penned with Ron Hargrave. The song peaked at No.21 on the Billboard chart.

Jerry’s career hit an all-time low following his controversial marriage with his thirteen year old cousin. He released many singles, including his versions of ‘Sweet Little Sixteen,’ ‘Good Golly Miss Molly,’ and‘In the Mood.’

To revive his career, he decided to record country ballads. In 1968, he released two hit singles, namely ‘Another Place, Another Time’ and ‘To Make Love Sweeter For You’ which 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.
Between 1968 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.’
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He re-recorded his songs for the movie ‘Great Balls of Fire!’ in 1989. This hit film was based on his early life in rock & roll and his marriage with Myra Gale.
The album ‘Last Man Standing,’ which released in 2006, consisted of duets of Lewis with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley.
In 2008, he appeared with John Fogerty and Little Richard at the 50th ‘Grammy Awards,’ performing a medley of ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘Good Golly Miss Molly.’
‘Mean Old Man,’ his 2010 album, featured duets with famous artists like Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Keith Richard, Willie Nelson, and Sheryl Crow.
Major Works
Jerry Lee Lewis’s 1957 version of ‘Whole LottaShakin' Goin' On’ peaked atNo. three on 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 more than five million copies and peaked at No. two on Billboard pop charts.
His 1964 album ‘Live at the Star Club,’ which was 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 1986, he was inducted into the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.’ In 1989, he was honored with a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame.’

In 2005, Jerry Lee Lewis received the Recording Academy's ‘Lifetime Achievement Award.’ Two years later, he was presented with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's ‘American Music Masters Award.’
Lewis has received four ‘Grammy Awards,’ including two ‘Grammy Hall of Fame Awards’ and a ‘Grammy Lifetime Achievement 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 Lewis were his wives. He fathered six children.

His marriage to Myra Lewis, a thirteen year old, below-the-age-of-consent second cousin, in 1957, ruined his career which was at its prime. He married Myra even before divorcing his second wife.

At the age of 76, Jerry Lee Lewis married Judith Brown, who was his caregiver, on March 9, 2012. They spent much of their time at his ranch in Nesbit, Mississippi.

Jerry Lee Lewis died on October 28, 2022, at his home in DeSoto County, Mississippi, of pneumonia. Many news outlets had falsely reported about his death just two days before he died.


Grammy Awards
2005 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
1987 Best Spoken Word or Non-musical Recording Winner

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