Jerry Lee Lewis passed away today. He is one of… if not the last of the great 1950s artists that was still around. He was not an angel in life (who is?) but what a performer! The man was pure rock and roll and was hated by parents everywhere…and that is a rock and roll seal of approval. When I see those fifties clips of him live they are incredible. His blonde hair would unravel by the middle of the song and would be pounding the piano till the end.
I always thought that Jerry Lee and Little Richard were the two raunchiest 50s performers live…and I mean that in the best way. He went through controversies like we go through socks. He was successful in Rock and Roll and later in Country Music.
He was never short on confidence…he talks about moving to Memphis: “I was reading a lot of magazines about Sam Phillips and Sun Records … so I told my dad, this is the man we need to go see. And we did. We drove down from Ferriday into Memphis and pulled up in front of Sun Records. I came in and auditioned for Jack Clement, who said I could never make it playing the piano. He said rock ’n’ roll was out, cause Elvis had it all tied up. He said I could forget that. Well, I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ I said, ‘I’m a hit.’ He said, ‘They all say that, son.’ I said, ‘I’m not all. I’m different.’”
It’s a sad day for rock and roll.