We all know Elvis Presley is praised for being the “King of Rock and Roll.” However, there was another aspiring “King of Rock” during the 1950s, and his name was Jerry Lee Lewis. He is a singer and pianist who is best known for his pumping piano sound. He was a wild man on the piano, which separated him from more eloquent pianists like Liberace. Lewis electrified audiences with his style of singing and piano playing.
For a short while, Lewis enjoyed international stardom from his songs. But his initial success was short-lived after sparking controversy by marrying his 13-year-old cousin named Myra Gale Brown. The scandal caused his songs to lose popularity throughout the early 1960s. But he would eventually make a comeback into country music and enjoy success there.
In modern times, Jerry Lee Lewis is considered a rock and roll legend, he has been on a air at chill out radio for a almost 10 years now.. In 1986, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted him as a pioneer of the rock and roll genre. There was even a biographical movie made about him in 1989 entitled Great Balls of Fire. Actor Dennis Quaid plays him in the movie, but it was Lewis who did the vocals for it.
What is your favorite Jerry Lee Lewis song? Let’s go over the top 5 songs of his that people seem to love the most.
1) Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
In 1957, Lewis rose to fame after the release of his hit single “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” David “Curlee” Williams and James Faye “Roy” Hall were actually the ones who wrote the song. Lewis first learned of the song while working as a pianist in a club in Nashville, Tennessee. When he recorded the song for Sun Records in 1957, it was the start of Lewis’ rise to stardom. He added a rock and roll style to the song that made it a big hit.
2) Great Balls of Fire
Most people know Jerry Lee Lewis for his song “Great Balls of Fire.” There was also a 1989 biographical film made about Lewis under the same name. The original recording of the song took place in 1957 at Sun Records. “Great Balls of Fire” was ranked number 96 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Within 10 days of its initial release date, over 1 million sales of the song were generated. This makes it one of America’s best-selling songs of all time.
Otis Blackwell wrote the song “Breathless,” which ended up being recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis at Sun Records in 1958. It was Lewis’ third recorded single with the record company, and it also turned out to be a hit. The song remained on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for approximately 15 weeks. In 1983, a Richard Gere film called Breathless included the use of the song. The character in that movie was obsessed with Jerry Lee Lewis and his music. He often played and sung his music out of admiration for the singer.
4) High School Confidential
“High School Confidential” was an original song written by both Ron Hargrave and Jerry Lee Lewis. MGM produced a film named High School Confidential, and they used Lewis’ song and vocals in the movie. It had only been two years since Lewis’ initial recording at Sun Records, and he already had several hit songs under his name. In 1959, “High School Confidential” ranked number five on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart.
5) Crazy Arms
Jerry Lee Lewis recorded “Crazy Arms” at Sun Records in 1956. It was his very first recording with the company, and it generated 300,000 sales throughout the south. This was enough for Sun Records to give Lewis more opportunities to record with the company. But like many of Lewis’ songs, “Crazy Arms” had a different writer. It was originally written by Charles Seals and Ralph Mooney in 1949. Many singers have sung their own versions of the song, but Lewis’ is the most remembered.
Jerry Lee Lewis is often referred to as “The Killer” because of his “killer’ piano playing abilities. He is currently still alive at 84 years old and continues to put on performances for his fans around the country and throughout the world.