Great Balls of Fire’s infamous vocalist Jerry Lee Lewis passed away at the age of 87, according to his agency. He was one of the last living representatives of the heyday of rock ‘n’ roll, yet his life was also marked by controversy and violence. When he married his cousin Myra Gale Brown at the age of 22, his career was momentarily put on hold.
“Perhaps the last real, magnificent icon of the origin of rock’n’roll,” according to Lewis’ agency, was Lewis.
“He was there at the beginning, with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, and the rest, and watched them fade away one by one until it was him alone to bear witness, and sing, of the birth of rock’n’roll,” said Lewis’ publicist Zach Farnum in a statement.
According to his publicist, Lewis died away at his home in Desoto County, Mississippi, with his seventh wife, Judith, by his side. Days before to the news of his death, the rumor website TMZ reported on a phony death announcement.
Lewis received the most accolades, topped by Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, who tweeted: “R.I.P. JLL the KILLER – What a dude.” Beatles drummer Ringo Starr remarked, “God bless Jerry Lee Lewis, peace and love to all his family.”
Lewis, who Sir Elton John credits for inspiring his passion for the piano, stated on his Instagram page: “I wouldn’t be who I am today without Jerry Lee Lewis. He crushed the piano and was ground-breaking and exhilarating.
“a talented vocalist as well. Thank you for setting the bar high and for all the rock ‘n’ roll memories “He continued by showing a picture of the two of them seated side by side.
Lewis was defined by Neil McCormick of The Telegraph as “He was a gun-toting, trouble-making ball, the most dangerous man in rock ‘n’ roll. Additionally, he was the most genuine rocker ever to live “.
Lewis was hounded by controversy for the most of his life and had a reputation for womanizing, drug use, and inebriation, the author wrote.
Tweeted the Country Music Association: “We were deeply saddened to learn of Jerry Lee Lewis’s demise because he had just been honored with a Country Music Hall of Fame induction earlier this month.
We offer his family and loved ones our sincere sympathies during this trying time.
Lewis, who was born in 1935 in Ferriday, Louisiana, eventually relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, and found employment there as a studio musician for Sun Studios.
At the age of 14, he had his stage debut. Throughout his youth, he snuck into a Ferriday nightclub to listen to the finest blues performers of the day, where he first discovered his passion of boogie-woogie and the blues.
Lewis’ cousin Myra Gale Brown, who was also the bass player’s daughter at the time, wed the singer in 1957 when she was just 13 years old.
She claimed to be 20 on the marriage license, and Lewis’s career was put on hold as a result of the issue surrounding their union.
Lewis was arrested in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1976 after being discovered outside Elvis Presley’s Graceland residence with a gun and asking to be seen.
Lewis had accidently shot Norman “Butch” Owens, his bass player, in the chest earlier that year. Lewis allegedly played with a loaded.357 Magnum, attempting to fire and strike a Coke bottle.
Owens suffered serious injuries but pulled through. He later sued his supervisor and was awarded $125,000 (£107,000) in damages. Lewis was also accused of firing a gun inside the municipal boundaries.
Lewis was well-known for his theatrical antics, which included playing the piano while standing up and occasionally setting it on fire, in addition to his songs, which included Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On, Breathless, and High School Confidential.
According to Mr. Farnum, the artist experienced a number of ailments and injuries in his later years and was told by physicians that they should have rushed him to the hospital years earlier.
In 1989, Lewis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition of his contributions to the recording business. Lewis was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1986.
When he sang his songs for the 1989 film Great Balls of Fire!, in which Dennis Quaid portrayed him and Winona Ryder played Myra, his career received a further boost.
For his 2006 album Last Man Standing, Lewis gathered the support of fans such Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Buddy Guy.
His final CD included his cousin Jimmy Swaggart, a lifelong televangelist who had previously preached against his music when they were younger.
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