Who was/is Jerry Lee Lewis ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Jerry Lee Lewis rocks.

Well, of course he does. "I come out feet first and been jumpin' ever since," he has told interviewers for many years. He has been rocking for as long as most of us can remember, and now his face is a personal geography that speaks of the toll that rock 'n' roll can exact.

Rock 'n' roll music and the rock 'n' roll lifestyle; Jerry Lee has done as much as anyone to define both. The miles, the wives, the hits, the pills. He has lived and sung without compromise. Surely no one has damned the torpedoes more often, and lived to tell. He saw his career rise meteorically, plummet meteorically, and rise again.

True talent cannot be denied. "Other people," says Jerry, "they practice and they practice. These fingers of mine, they got brains in 'em. You don't TELL them what to do - THEY do it." There are but four stylists in music, he'll tell you: Jimmie Rodgers, Al Jolson, Hank Williams, and himself. It was a foregone conclusion that Jerry Lee Lewis would be a charter inductee to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

 

Jerry Lee Lewis & Sam Phillips

Fifty years ago as of this writing, Jerry Lee Lewis and his father, Elmo, drove up from Ferriday, Louisiana to see Mister Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Jerry Lee was sure that Phillips would understand him. He'd been turned away in Nashville, yet Phillips would see his potential. They were destined to come together: Lewis the former divinity student tortured by an unfathomable religion, and Phillips the former mortician's assistant who had persuaded unlettered country folk to give up their dead. Jerry Lee's indomitable mother, Mamie, had stopped him from listening to records because she didn't want him to sound like anyone else. Every day, Jerry Lee would pound the old Starck upright, slowly discovering something that was truly his.

A little boogie woogie, a little gospel, a little Hank Williams, and a little beerjoint blues. The Lewises lived in Ferriday, Louisiana, and Jerry Lee was born there on September 29, 1935. Six months after his cousin, Jimmy Swaggart. He was twenty-one when he arrived in Memphis. Telling the people at Sun Records that he played piano like Chet Atkins. Sam Phillips encouraged him to write songs, but the only tangible result was the B-side of his first record, End Of The Road.

Phillips copyrighted it without realizing that it had been loosely adapted from Ballard McDonald and James Handley's 1922 song At The End Of The Road. The only other song from Jerry Lee's pen on this collection is the monumentally egotistical Lewis Boogie. For Jerry, about Jerry, and by Jerry.  

 

SUN Records

Very quickly, Sam Phillips saw that, unlike Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis would interpret rather than write. He would reveal himself to us through the words of others. Phillips also understood that he must let Lewis plunder the musical reliquary in his head before encouraging him to return to the one song out of ten or twenty that held promise.

That's how Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On came to be recorded. Jerry Lee had probably heard Roy Hall play it at an after-hours club in Nashville (Hall claimed to be the mysterious co-writer 'Sunny David' although that seems very unlikely).

In the opening four bars, Jerry Lee Lewis and Sam Phillips made the piano into a percussion instrument. In feeding the signal back upon itself at just the right increment of tape delay. Phillips fattened the sound to the point that the record throbs with its own hypnotic life by the time J. M. Van Eaton's drums come in.

 

Jerry Lee's first hit

Van Eaton is exactly where he needs to be: it's textbook stuff, and Van Eaton wrote the textbook. In the two or so years that Jerry Lee had been fooling with Shakin', he had refashioned it in his image. Stripping away the opening couplet and inserting a half-spoken segment before storming back to close with a triumphant glissando. Wondrous and imperishable. It became Jerry Lee's second record and first hit. The record was pegging out half-way up the charts when Jerry made his first networked television appearance on 'The Steve Allen Show'. It was a landmark date in the history of rock 'n' roll; Sunday July 28, 1957.

He hammered the piano, eyes fixed above with messianic intensity. He glared at the camera with wild-eyed fury. "Whose barn? MAH barn!" Shakin' resumed its upward movement, eventually peaking at #3. The entertainment business realized that Jerry Lee was an up-and-coming act and he was offered a cameo movie appearance. It's a testament to his genius that he took a slight song manufactured for an equally slight movie, 'Jamboree,'and transformed it into one of the era's classics.

That song, of course, was Great Balls Of Fire. Carl Perkins and the movie's other stars had already turned it down, but it became Jerry Lee's defining moment. His biggest pop hit. Some claim to hear a rhythm guitar, but it's essentially Jerry Lee Lewis and drummer J. M. Van Eaton. If there's a third instrument, it's Sam Phillips' reverberation, adding depth and presence.

Great Balls Of Fire

Two New York-based R&B songwriters, Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer, had written Great Balls Of Fire and were offered a chance at the follow-up. Blackwell came up with Breathless while Hammer presented Milkshake Mademoiselle. Blackwell got the nod, and Milkshake Mademoiselle was left for wideeyed European researchers to find some fifteen years later. Blackwell's submission was yet another 'exclamation' song, and Sam Phillips engineered a promotional tie-in between television.

Host Dick Clark and Beechnut chewing gum in which kids could send in 50 cents and five Beechnut wrappers to receive a 'free' autographed copy of Breathless. Everyone at Sun's tiny operation, including lesser artists, were put to work autographing and mailing Jerry Lee's records. The television appearances jump-started the single, and it eventually rose to #7. Jerry Lee's last Top 20 hit was the title song for another quickie exploitation movie, 'High School Confidential'. Starring Mamie Van Doren (whose website has to be visited to be believed).

It was supposed to be an exposé of the high school drug problem. (yes there was a high school drug problem in 1958) The song was written by Ron Hargrave, a struggling MGM recording artist and protégé of Lou Costello (Hargrave can be seen in Abbott & Costello's last movie, 'Dance With Me Henry'). Try as he might, Hargrave couldn't quite work the title into the song, and had to surrender half of his writer's share to Jerry Lee. In the movie, Jerry performed the song on the back of a flatbed truck. It was released just as he left for a tour of England in May 1958.

Excerpt from BCD16396 - Jerry Lee Lewis Jerry Lee Lewis -

Jerry Rocks Read more at: https://www.bear-family.de/lewis-jerry-lee-jerry-lee-lewis-jerry-rocks.html

Copyright © Bear Family Records

Copyright © Bear Family Records®. Copying, also of extracts, or any other form of reproduction, including the adaptation into electronic data bases and copying onto any data mediums, in English or in any other language is permissible only and exclusively with the written consent of Bear Family Records® GmbH.

More information about Jerry Lee Lewis on Wikipedia.org

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Original Sun Singles '56-'60
Jerry Lee Lewis: Original Sun Singles '56-'60 Art-Nr.: CDSC11208

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(2009/SUNDAZED) 24 tracks - digipac Plainly and simply, the incendiary singles Jerry Lee Lewis cut for Sun Records in the mid-1950s and early 1960s left a flaming footprint on the face of popular music and forged the die of rock 'n' roll...
$22.50
Original Sun Singles '56 - '60 (2-LP, 180g Vinyl)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Original Sun Singles '56 - '60 (2-LP, 180g Vinyl) Art-Nr.: SLP5190

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(2009/SUNDAZED) 28 tracks - Gatefold Cover/Klappcover
$43.87
Jerry Lee Lewis - The Killer Vol.1 1963-68 by Colin Escott
Jerry Lee Lewis: Jerry Lee Lewis - The Killer Vol.1 1963-68 by... Art-Nr.: BFB10004

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Many rare pictures. Stages of his life during the years 1963/1968. Incl. complete Smash Mercury discographie Stock copies from the longtime deleted 1986 Vinyl Box Set (BFX15210).& , Jerry Lee Lewis& , Nicknamed 'The Killer' and one...
$5.88 $15.38
Jerry Lee Lewis - The Killer Vol.2 1969-72 by Colin Escott
Jerry Lee Lewis: Jerry Lee Lewis - The Killer Vol.2 1969-72 by... Art-Nr.: BFB10005

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Leben/ Stationen der Jahre 1969/1972. inkl. kompl. Smash Mercury Discografie. Jerry Lee Lewis Nicknamed 'The Killer' and one of the greatest rock 'n' roll stars of all time, ol' Jerry Lee's Mercury Records career is covered here in three...
$5.88 $15.38
Southern Roots - The Original Sessions (2-LP)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Southern Roots - The Original Sessions (2-LP) Art-Nr.: BAF218011

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2-LP, 20 tracks. 180-gram vinyl, fold-out sleeve. Direct Metal Mastering. Manufactured by Pallas. The legendary 1974 sessions form the Trans Maximus Studios in Memphis, Tennessee featuring Jerry Lee Lewis - voc/piano, backed by Stax...
$23.69 $35.56
Old Time Religion (CD)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Old Time Religion (CD) Art-Nr.: BCD16685

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1-CD DigiPac (4-plated) with comprehensive booklet, 20 tracks, playing time 65:16 minutes. Originally unissued live recordings from 1970. The best gospel recordings of Jerry Lee Lewis ' career. A rare glimpse of the preacher he might...
$16.56 $18.94
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I Can't Seem To Say Goodbye (LP, 180gram Vinyl)
Jerry Lee Lewis: I Can't Seem To Say Goodbye (LP, 180gram Vinyl) Art-Nr.: BAF18027

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ALTERNATIVE VERSIONS - FIRST TIME ON VINYL 1-LP, 180 gram Vinyl-LP, 14 tracks, Total playing time approx. 32:25 minutes. NEW to LP – never released before 12'' vinyl albums! For the first time in more than a generation: two entirely new...
$21.31 $23.69
Jerry Lee Lewis - Jerry Rocks (CD)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Jerry Lee Lewis - Jerry Rocks (CD) Art-Nr.: BCD16396

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1-CD Digipak (6-plated) with 40-page booklet, 33 tracks. Playing time approx. 80 mns. Inevitably, our top-selling ROCKS! series now turns to the man who literally epitomizes ROCK: Jerry Lee Lewis! There have been plenty of Jerry Lee...
$17.75 $20.13
Southern Roots – The Original Sessions (2-CD)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Southern Roots – The Original Sessions (2-CD) Art-Nr.: BCD17312

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2-CD DigiPak (6-plated) with 32-page booklet, 39 tracks. Playing time approx. 124 mns. The legendary 1974 sessions form the Trans Maximus Studios in Memphis, Tennessee featuring Jerry Lee Lewis - voc/piano, backed by Stax studio catts...
$28.44 $35.56
In The Beginning (LP, 180gram Vinyl)
Jerry Lee Lewis: In The Beginning (LP, 180gram Vinyl) Art-Nr.: BAF18025

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ALTERNATIVE VERSIONS - FIRST TIME ON VINYL& , 1-LP, 180 gram& ,Vinyl-LP, 14 tracks, Total playing time approx. 33:10 minutes. NEW to LP – never released before 12'' vinyl albums! For the first time in more than a generation: two...
$21.31 $23.69
Mercury Smashes.. (10-CD Deluxe Box Set)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Mercury Smashes.. (10-CD Deluxe Box Set) Art-Nr.: BCD15784

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10-CD box (LP-size) with 64-page book, 226 tracks. Playing time approx. 715 mns. Damn Good Country Songs and Jerry Lee Lewis' Rock 'n' Roll Revival Show. That was the story of the last eight years of Jerry Lee Lewis on Mercury...
$168.55 $224.36
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Jerry Lee Lewis At Sun Records The Collected Works (18-CD Deluxe Box Set)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Jerry Lee Lewis At Sun Records The Collected... Art-Nr.: BCD17254

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18-CD boxed set (28 x 28 x 7 cms ) with 2 hardcover clothbound books (300 total pages) in a clothbound slipcase, 623 tracks, total playing time: approx. 23 hours and 30 minutes.& , -- This is it! ...... No, really, THIS IS IT!& ,...
$333.60 $391.78
Greatest Live Shows On Earth (1964 & 1968)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Greatest Live Shows On Earth (1964 & 1968) Art-Nr.: BCD15608

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1-CD with 8-page booklet, 20 tracks. Playing time approx. 73 mns. Incredible value! Here are Jerry Lee's two American live albums from 1964 and 1966 packaged together. 20 titles that catch Jerry at his peak on his home turf. Titles...
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Live At The Star Club Hamburg (CD)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Live At The Star Club Hamburg (CD) Art-Nr.: BCD15467

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1-CD with 8-page booklet, 14 tracks. Playing time approx. 40 mns. In poll after poll, this album is hailed as one of the greatest records of all time and quite possibly the greatest live recording ever. And now this 1964 classic makes a...
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Southern Swagger
Jerry Lee Lewis: Southern Swagger Art-Nr.: BCD16865

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1-CD-Album with 28-page booklet, 32 tracks. Playing time approx. 73 mns. A unique collection of Jerry Lee Lewis ' most confident/sexually aggressive performances. Because sexual energy fuelled Jerry Lee Lewis' best music, 'Southern...
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The Locust Years (8-CD Deluxe Box Set)
Jerry Lee Lewis: The Locust Years (8-CD Deluxe Box Set) Art-Nr.: BCD15783

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8-CD box (LP-size) incl. interview cd, with 48-page book, 166 tracks. Playing time approx. 428 mns. In 1963 Jerry Lee Lewis signed with Smash Records, and battled the British Invasion, radio apathy and general neglect. The result was a...
$132.93 $166.18
Up Through The Years, 1956-1963
Jerry Lee Lewis: Up Through The Years, 1956-1963 Art-Nr.: BCD15408

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1-CD with 8-page booklet, 24 tracks. Playing time approx. 58 mns. You like Jerry Lee Lewis, but not enough to take a chance on our monumental boxed sets This is just what you need: a collection of Jerry Lee's classic Sun singles from...
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Live At The Star-Club Hamburg (LP, 180g Vinyl)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Live At The Star-Club Hamburg (LP, 180g Vinyl) Art-Nr.: BAF18006

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180-gram vinyl-lp. Gatefold sleeve. In poll after poll, this LP is hailed as one of the greatest records of all time. Quite possibly the greatest live recording ever. And now this 1964 classic makes a welcome reappearance on vinyl. Jerry...
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Jerry Lee Lewis And His Pumping Piano (LP, 10inch, Ltd.)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Jerry Lee Lewis And His Pumping Piano (LP,... Art-Nr.: BAF11008

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Jerry Lee Lewis And His Pumping Piano BEAR FAMILY Vinyl Club Exclusive limited collector's edition, order now from Bear Family's Shop and Mailorder - no terms and conditions for dealers! 10inch LP (limited edition - colored vinyl) 10...
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Jerry Lee Lewis (LP, Cut-Out)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Jerry Lee Lewis (LP, Cut-Out) Art-Nr.: 6E184

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(1979/ELEKTRA/ASYLUM) 10 tracks - rare Elektra album with hard to find tracks - small cut in cover/kleiner Schnitt im Cover (2cm)
$11.81 $18.94
The Ballads Of Jerry Lee Lewis (CD)
Jerry Lee Lewis: The Ballads Of Jerry Lee Lewis (CD) Art-Nr.: BCD17544

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1-CD (Digipak) with 24-page booklet, 27 tracks. Total playing time approx. 72 minutes. With 'Ballads' Bear Family presents the soulful and sentimental side of the Killer. 27 beautiful Rock ‘n’ Roll and Country ballads recorded between...
$20.13
Live In Italy (LP)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Live In Italy (LP) Art-Nr.: LPMF071

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(Magnum Force) 16 tracks, featuring Linda Gail Lewis. Jerry Lee Lewis recorded live at the Rolling Stone, Milan - 7th April, 1987 and at the Paleur, Rome - 8th April, 1987.
$17.75 $20.13
The Very Best Of (2-CD)
Jerry Lee Lewis: The Very Best Of (2-CD) Art-Nr.: CDCP8243

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(Charly) 50 Sun recordings - rare set - hardcover slipcase packaging
$23.69 $35.56
Outtakes (LP)
Jerry Lee Lewis: Outtakes (LP) Art-Nr.: LPSTAR002

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(Sun Star) 23 tracks - rare 1986 unofficial european custom pressing !
$17.75
The Mercury Years Vol.1 1963-1968 (2-LP, Cut-Out)
Jerry Lee Lewis: The Mercury Years Vol.1 1963-1968 (2-LP, Cut-Out) Art-Nr.: LP836935-C

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(Polygram) 24 tracks Gatefold Cover - Sealed Cut Out LP
$29.63 $35.56
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