His eccentric piano playing and songs paved the way for rock ‘n’ roll. American musician Jerry Lee Lewis passed away on Friday at the age of 87.
Jackson – Rock ‘n’ roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis is dead. The singer and pianist known, among other things, for the classic “Great Balls of Fire” died of natural causes at the age of 87, his agent announced on Friday. The musician with the blond curls not only created numerous hits, but also regularly made headlines with his wild lifestyle.
Born in 1935 in Ferriday in the southern US state of Louisiana, Lewis was one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll, he was a friend and at the same time a competitor of Elvis Presley. He had his big break in 1957 with the hit “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” the lyrics of which were so provocative that some radio stations didn’t want to play it at first. Hits like “Great Balls of Fire” – one of his biggest successes and later the title of a film about him with actor Dennis Quaid – and “Breathless” followed. The song was also sung in the film “Top Gun” by the two main actors Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards.
Jerry Lee Lewis is dead: Energetic performances made him a world star
The musician, nicknamed “The Killer”, often banged the piano during his energetic performances and sometimes jumped on the instrument. He is said to have even set it on fire to boot out guitarist Chuck Berry, who had gotten the last gig that night after him.
His life was also shaped by many women’s stories, excessive alcohol consumption and tax disputes. While touring the UK in 1958, details of Lewis’ personal life became public knowledge that tarnished his reputation. The musician had married his 13-year-old second cousin, Myra. “I knew it was bad, I knew it was wrong,” Lewis later told The Washington Post .
Rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis dies after John Lennon kissed his feet
After his return to the USA, he was blacklisted by radio and television stations and from then on had to be content with poorly paid performances in bars and smaller clubs.
In the 1960s, Lewis’ style of music was overtaken by the next generation of musicians like The Beatles. But when Lewis and Beatles frontman John Lennon met in the early 1970s, Lennon knelt down to kiss Lewis’ feet and said to him, “You’re the man that made it possible for me to be a rock ‘n’ star To be ‘roll music.’ He was “just kind of frozen,” Lewis later said of the moment.
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Jerry Lee Lewis died at the age of 87 – his music should be remembered
In the decades that followed, Lewis reinvented himself with country music and re-recordings of some of his classic tunes. In 1986 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with other greats such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, James Brown and Ray Charles. In 2005 he received a Grammy for lifetime achievement. He later worked with Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton on his studio albums.
In 1993, disputes with the US government over back taxes led to authorities confiscating pianos, furniture and other personal effects to pay off Lewis’ debt.
After suffering a stroke in 2019, Lewis said he wishes people would remember him not for his womanizing – but simply for his music. (afp)