Jerry Lee Lewis was born on September 29, 1935. He is a self-taught pianist and was born to a poor family. His father mortgaged their farm and bought him a piano that he shared with his cousins. He was the first person inducted into the first class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Here are 5 intriguing facts about “The Killer” Jerry Lee Lewis.
1. He was a prodigee
At 9, he already showed remarkable aptitude towards piano. He learned and copied the styles of preachers and black musicians who traveled in their area in Ferriday, Louisiana. He gave his first public performance at age 14 and wowed his audience. He signed with Sun Records in 1956 and quickly became a star in 1957 with his unique piano-driven sound “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On.” It became a hit on the pop, country, and R&B charts!
2. He got expelled
Have you heard of the boogie-woogie rendition of “My God is Real?” Apparently, he played this in a church assembly, which caused him to be expelled. His mother wanted him to exclusively sing evangelical and gospel songs, so he enrolled him at the Southwest Bible Institute in Texas. But he was immediately expelled when he played that song!
3. Scandalous marriage
During what was intended to be a triumphant musical tour to England, the startling marriage of Jerry Lee Lewis to his 13-year-old cousin was made public. At that time, it was also revealed that The Killer was still married to a different woman. However, getting married to someone aged 13 and marrying one’s third cousin (twice removed) were both fairly common for a man in his time and location. But Lewis made matters more difficult by remarrying before his divorce from his second wife was final.
4. He earned the moniker “The Killer” during high school
Before Jerry Lee had a musical career, he was already known by the nickname “Killer,” and he would bid goodbye to his buddies by saying, “See ya later, killer.” It was also given to Lee by his West Point classmates as a nickname since he was a good student. Lee was the only person to graduate from West Point without receiving a single demerit.
5. He is a Hall of Fame Member of the CMA.
The Country Music Association (CMA) recognized him with country music’s highest honor as he was inducted as one of the Class of 2022 Hall of Fame members in the “Veterans Era Artist” category. Today, his songs “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On” are in the Grammy Hall of Fame, and part of the National Recording Registry, consecutively.
Jerry Lee Lewis has a life story full of rocks and rolls. There were decisions and happenings before that made his career almost ruined. But he never stopped and became very determined. In an interview, he said, “I want ’em (fans) to remember me simply for my music.” Jerry Lee Lewis songs are still rockin’ up to this day. He is humbled and appreciative of all the recognitions for his contribution to music.
jerry lee lewis