Jerry Lee Lewis, the last pioneer of the SUN Records Rock n’ Roll era still standing, died this morning at age 87.
His representative Zach Farnum, released this message: “Judith, his seventh wife, was by his side when he passed away at his home in Desoto County, Mississippi, south of Memphis. He told her, in his final days, that he welcomed the hereafter, and that he was not afraid.”
Lewis taught himself to play piano when he was 9 and sang in church, drawing inspiration from preachers and musicians that traveled through his hometown of Ferriday, Louisiana.
At 10, Lewis’ father mortgaged their family farm to buy him his first piano. He performed for the public for the first time at a local car dealership when he was 14.
Through Sam Phillips’ SUN Records in Memphis, Tennessee, Lewis began with the likes of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Charlie Rich as one of the original rock and rollers.
Considered a music pioneer, Lewis released a number of timeless hits including “Great Balls Of Fire”, “Whole Lot of Shaking Going On” and “Breathless” before pivoting to country music and topping the charts with tunes like “What Made Milwaukee Famous,”“There Must Be More To Love Than This” and “Would You Take Another Chance On Me.”
Over the course of his career, he won several Grammys and was an inaugural inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
When Lewis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, country star Hank Williams Jr. said Lewis “doesn’t ask for your attention, he demands it.”
“He doesn’t take a stage, he commands it,” Williams said.
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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy