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November 15, 2020

Jerry Lee Lewis: One of the Most Influential Pianists of the Twentieth Century

Born 1935 to the poor farming family in Ferriday, Louisiana, American singer and pianist Jerry Lee Lewis is often known by his nickname, The Killer. He made his first recordings in 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis. “Crazy Arms” sold 300,000 copies in the South, but it was his 1957 hit “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” that shot Lewis to fame worldwide. However, Lewis’s rock and roll career faltered in the wake of his marriage to Myra Gale Brown, his 13-year-old cousin.

His popularity quickly eroded following the scandal, he did not have much chart success in the early 1960s. His 1964 live album Live at the Star Club, Hamburg is regarded by 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 regularly topped the country-western charts throughout the late 1960s and 1970s he ; throughout his seven-decade career, Lewis has had 30 songs reach the top 10 on the Billboard Country and Western Chart.

Lewis has a dozen gold records in both rock and country, received four Grammy awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

In 2003, Rolling Stone listed his box set All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology number 242 on their list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. In 2004, they ranked him number 24 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Take a look at these vintage photos to see portrait of a young Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1950s and 1960s.


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