Jerry Lee Lewis booking

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Jerry Lee Lewis (born September 29, 1935) is an American rock and roll and country music singer,
songwriter, and pianist. An early pioneer of rock and roll music, Lewis 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 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #24 on their list of the 100
Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2003, they listed his box set All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology #242 on
their list of “500 greatest albums of all time”.
Lewis was born to the poor family of Elmo and Mamie Lewis in Ferriday in Concordia Parish in eastern
Louisiana, and began playing piano in his youth with his two cousins, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy
Swaggart. His parents mortgaged their farm to buy him a piano. Influenced by a piano-playing older
cousin Carl McVoy, the radio, and the sounds from the black juke joint across the tracks, Haney’s Big
House, Lewis developed his own style mixing rhythm and blues, boogie-woogie, gospel, and country
music, as well as ideas from established “country boogie” pianists like recording artists Moon Mullican
and Merrill Moore. Soon he was playing professionally. His mother enrolled him in Southwestern
Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas, secure in the knowledge that her son would now
be exclusively singing his songs to the Lord. But Lewis daringly played a boogie woogie rendition of
“My God Is Real” at a church assembly that sent him packing the same night. Pearry Green, then
president of the student body, related how during a talent show Jerry played some “worldly” music.
The next morning, the dean of the school called both Jerry and Pearry into his office to expel them
both. Jerry then said that Pearry shouldn’t be expelled because “he didn’t know what I was going to
do.” Years later Pearry asked Jerry “Are you still playing the devil’s music?” Jerry replied “Yes, I am.
But you know it’s strange, the same music that they kicked me out of school for is the same kind of
music they play in their churches today. The difference is, I know I am playing for the devil and they
Leaving religious music behind so far as performing, he paid dues at clubs in and around Ferriday and
Natchez, Mississippi. He became a part of the burgeoning new rock and roll sound, cutting his first
demo recording in 1954. He made a trip to Nashville around 1955 where he played clubs and
attempted to drum up interest, but was turned down by the Grand Ole Opry as he had been at the
Louisiana Hayride country stage and radio show in Shreveport. Recording executives in Nashville
suggested he switch to playing a guitar. Lewis travelled to Memphis, Tennessee in November 1956, to
audition for Sun Records. Label owner Sam Phillips was away on a trip to Florida, but producer and
engineer Jack Clement recorded Lewis’ rendition of Ray Price’s “Crazy Arms” and his own
composition “End of The Road”. During December 1956, Lewis began recording prolifically, both as a
solo artist and as a session musician for other Sun artists, such as Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. His
distinctive piano playing can be heard on many tracks recorded at Sun during late 1956 and early
1957, including Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox”, “Your True Love”, “You Can Do No Wrong”, and “Put Your
Cat Clothes On”, and Billy Lee Riley’s “Flyin’ Saucers Rock’n'Roll”. Until this time, rockabilly had rarely
featured piano, but it proved a highly influential addition and rockabilly artists on other labels soon also
started working with pianists.
On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley dropped in on Phillips to pay a social visit while Perkins was in
the studio cutting new tracks with Lewis backing him on piano. The three started an impromptu jam
session, and Phillips left the tape running. He later telephoned Johnny Cash and brought him in to join
the others. These recordings, almost half of which were gospel songs, survived, and have been
released on CD under the title Million Dollar Quartet. Tracks also include Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be
Cruel” and “Paralyzed”, Chuck Berry’s “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”, Pat Boone’s “Don’t Forbid Me”
and Presley doing an impersonation of Jackie Wilson (who was then with Billy Ward and the
Dominoes) impersonating him on “Don’t Be Cruel”. Lewis’s own singles (on which he was billed as
Jerry Lee Lewis and his Pumping Piano) advanced his career as a soloist during 1957, with hits such
as “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire”, his biggest hit, bringing him to national
and international fame, despite criticism for the songs’ overtly sexual undertones which prompted

some radio stations to boycott them. In 2005, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” was selected for
permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. According to
several first hand sources, including Johnny Cash, Lewis himself, who was devoutly Christian, was
also troubled by the sinful nature of his own material, which he firmly believed was leading himself and
his audience to hell. This aspect of Lewis’ character was depicted in Waylon Payne’s portrayal of
Lewis in the 2005 film Walk the Line, based on Cash’s autobiographies. Lewis would often kick the
piano bench out of the way to play standing, rake his hands up and down the keyboard for dramatic
accent, sit down on the keyboard and even stand on top of the instrument. His first TV appearance, in
which he demonstrated some of these moves, was on The Steve Allen Show on July 28, 1957, where
he played the song “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On”. He is also reputed to have set a piano on fire at
the end of a live performance, in protest at being billed below Chuck Berry.
His dynamic performance style can be seen in films such as High School Confidential (he sang the
title song from the back of a flatbed truck), and Jamboree. He has been called “rock & roll’s first great
wild man” and also “rock & roll’s first great eclectic.” Classical composer Michael Nyman has also cited
Lewis’s style as the progenitor of his own aesthetic.
In the 1960s, Lewis’s attempts at a comeback as a rock and roll performer had stalled during four
years with Smash Records until he began recording country ballads. He had already recorded an LP
for the label, Country Songs for City Folks. In 1968, his single “Another Place, Another Time” became
a Top Ten success and led to a string of Top Ten singles including the 1968 # 1 country single “To
Make Love Sweeter For You” that brought Lewis renewed stardom among country music fans, much
like that which ex-rockabilly Conway Twitty began to cultivate during that same time. His shift to
country reflected the fact that he had grown up listening to the Grand Ole Opry. Lewis’s country hits
during this period include “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out of Me),” “She
Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye,” “Middle Age Crazy,” “Me & Bobby McGee,” “She Still Comes
Around (To Love What’s Left of Me)”, “There Must Be More to Love Than This” and “39 & Holding”. By
the early 1970s, Lewis had become so popular that Sun (Entertainment Holding Corporation) Records
was reissuing old country ballads like “Invitation to Your Party” on singles that also did well on the
country music charts. During this era Lewis recorded what many collectors consider his ultimate
achievement in country music, the LP “Killer Country”. Lewis’s successes continued throughout the
decade and he eventually began to re-emphasize his rock and roll past with hits like his 1972 revival of
the The Big Bopper’s rock classic “Chantilly Lace” as well as looking at middle age with the 1977
“Middle Age Crazy.” Lewis’s singles and albums were issued on Mercury records instead of Smash
from 1971 on. In 1979, he signed with Elektra Records and had his last major country hit with 1981′s
“Thirty-Nine and Holding.” He spent a very brief period with MCA Records in 1983 but left the label
due to unspecified differences.
In 1989, a major motion picture based on his early life in rock & roll, Great Balls of Fire, brought him
back into the public eye, especially when he decided to re-record all his songs for the movie
soundtrack. The film was based on the book by Lewis’ ex-wife, Myra Gale Lewis, and starred Dennis
Quaid as Lewis, Winona Ryder as Myra, and Alec Baldwin as Jimmy Swaggart. The movie focuses on
Lewis’ early career and his relationship with Myra, and ends with the scandal of the late 1950s.The
very public downfall of his cousin, television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, resulted in more adverse
publicity to an already troubled family. Swaggart is also a piano player, as is another cousin, country
music star Mickey Gilley. All three listened to the same music when they were growing up and
frequented Haney’s Big House, the Ferriday club that featured black blues acts. Lewis and Swaggart
have had a complex relationship over the years.
Lewis’s sister, Linda Gail Lewis has recorded with Jerry Lee, toured with his stage show for a time and
more recently recorded with Van Morrison. In 1990, Lewis made minor news when a new song he cowrote called “It Was the Whiskey Talking, Not Me” was included in the soundtrack to the hit movie
Dick Tracy. The song can be heard in a scene from the movie in which it is playing on the radio.

Despite the personal problems, Lewis’ musical talent is widely acknowledged. “The Killer”, a nickname
he’s had since childhood, is known for his forceful voice and piano production on stage; he was
described by fellow artist Roy Orbison as the best raw performer in the history of rock and roll music.
In 1986, Lewis was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year, he
returned to Sun Studio in Memphis to team up with Orbison, Cash, and Perkins along with longtime
admirers like John Fogerty and Ricky Nelson to create the album Class of ’55, a sort of followup to the
“Million Dollar Quartet” session, though in the eyes of many critics and fans, lacking the spirit of the old
days at Sun.
Lewis has never stopped touring, and fans who have seen him perform say he can still deliver unique
concerts that are unpredictable, exciting, personal and still rock & roll. On February 12, 2005, he was
given a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Recording Academy (which also grants the Grammy
Awards). On September 26, 2006, a new album titled Last Man Standing was released, featuring
many of rock and roll’s elite as guest stars. Receiving positive reviews, the album charted in four
different Billboard charts, including a two week stay at number one on the Indie charts. A DVD entitled
Last Man Standing Live, featuring concert footage with many guest artists, was released in March
2007, and the CD achieved Jerry’s 10th official gold disk for selling over half-a-million copies in the US
alone. Last Man Standing CD is Jerry Lee’s biggest selling album of all time. It features contributions
from Mick Jagger, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Rod Stewart, among others. If it
goes gold it will be his 10th official gold record, and his first since 1973. (The Session album was
awarded a Gold Disk for selling over 250,000 copies because it was a double album. Single albums
and CDs have to sell over 500,000.)
On November 5, 2007, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a university in Cleveland, Ohio honored
Jerry Lee Lewis with six days of conferences, interviews, a DVD premier and film clips, dedicated to
him entitled The Life And Music of Jerry Lee Lewis. He is the first living artist to be so honored. On
November 10, the week culminated with a tribute concert to Jerry Lee Lewis, compered by Kris
Kristofferson, who has written some of Lewis’ biggest Country hits. Lewis was present to accept the
American Music Masters Award and close his own tribute show with a rendition of Somewhere Over
The Rainbow. On February 10, 2008, he appeared with John Fogerty and Little Richard on the 50th
Grammy Awards Show, performing Great Balls of Fire in a medley with Good Golly Miss Molly. On
June 4, 2008, Jerry Lee Lewis was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. On July 4, 2008,
Jerry Lee appeared on A Capitol Fourth and performed the finale’s final act with a medley of “Roll
Over Beethoven”, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On”, and “Great Balls of Fire”.
In October 2008 as part of a very successful European tour, Jerry Lee Lewis returned to the UK,
almost exactly 50 years after his ill-fated first tour that saw the scandal with Myra. He appeared at two
London shows: a special private show at the 100 Club on October 25 and at the London Forum on
October 28 with Wanda Jackson and his sister, Linda Gail Lewis. 2009 will see a new CD album and
DVD release as Jerry continues his career. 2009 also marks the sixtieth year since Jerry Lee’s first
public performance when he performed “Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” at a car dealership on
November 19, 1949 in Ferriday Louisiana. In August 2009, in advance of his new album, a single was
released for download thru outlets such as ITunes, Amazon, etc. entitled ‘Mean Old Man’, written by
Kris Kristofferson who also wrote other songs Jerry took to the top of the US Country charts. Kris can
be heard at the end of the single exchanging a few words with Jerry.

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