Friday, July 12, 2024

RIP Rock & Roll Pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, 87: No More Shakin’ Goin’ On


No more shakin’ go on: rock and Roll pioneer and wild man, Jerry Lee Lewis, has actually died at age 87.

Jerry Lee’s death was announced a couple of days ago, erroneously. But now he’s most seriously dead.

You do know that Jerry Lee, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Conway Twitty, and Roy Orbison were the creators of rock and roll — not mention Chuck Berry and Little Richard. What Jerry Lee could do on the piano is beyond legendary. Forget about his crazy persona life — because we all know how crazy that was — Jerry Lee’s songs form the foundation of rock and roll. “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and all the rest of them are where it all begins. I was very lucky to see him play that piano in my lifetime. There’s a reason he was known as The Killer.

Of course, Dennis Quaid memorably played Jerry Lee in the movie “Great Balls of Fire.” And he was featured in dozens of documentaries. In the 2000s late kinda billionaire Steve Bing fell in with Jerry Lee and underwrote albums and tours that formed his renaissance. Bing will always be remembered for this kindness to a legend, and Jerry Lee thought of him as a son (more than Bing’s own family).

And yes, Jerry Lee was infamous for marrying his underage cousin a thousand years ago. It was a different time, and a different planet. His music outlives all that mishegos.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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