Whole lotta shaking going on
Jerry Lee Lewis (September 29, 1935 – October 28, 2022) was an American pianist, singer and songwriter. Nicknamed “The Killer“, he was described as “rock ‘n’ roll‘s first great wild man”. A pioneer of rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly music, Lewis made his first recordings in 1952 at Cosimo Matassa‘s J&M Studio in New Orleans, Louisiana, and early recordings in 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. “Crazy Arms” sold 300,000 copies in the Southern United States, but it was his 1957 hit “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” that shot Lewis to worldwide fame. He followed this with the major hits “Great Balls of Fire“, “Breathless“, and “High School Confidential“. His rock and roll career faltered in the wake of his marriage to Myra Gale Brown, his 13-year-old first cousin once removed.
His popularity quickly eroded following the scandal, and with few exceptions, such as a cover of Ray Charles‘s “What’d I Say“, he did not have much chart success in the early 1960s. His live performances at this time were increasingly wild and energetic. His 1964 live album Live at the Star Club, Hamburg is regarded by many music journalists and fans as one of the wildest and greatest live rock albums ever. 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; throughout his seven-decade career, Lewis had 30 songs reach the Top 10 on the Billboard Country and Western Chart. 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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