This Day In Rock ‘N’ Roll. Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis was born on September 29, 1935, in Ferriday, Louisiana.
When he was 10 years old, Lewis got a piano of his very own. His father mortgaged the family farm to buy the instrument. He gave his first public performance at the age of 14.
Lewis eventually ended up in Memphis, Tennessee, where he found work as a studio musician for Sun Studios. In 1956, he recorded his first single, a cover of Ray Price's "Crazy Arms," which did well locally.
In 1957, Lewis became a star with his unique piano-driven sound. "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" became a hit on the pop, country and R&B charts. By this time, Lewis had also developed some of his famous stage antics, such as playing standing up and even lighting the occasional piano on fire. He had such energy and enthusiasm in his performances that he earned the nickname "The Killer" for the way he knocked out his audiences.
Lewis already had two brief marriages under his belt when he decided to marry his cousin Myra Gale Brown in 1957. On their marriage license, Brown stated she was 20 years old, but she was really only 13 at the time.
News of his underage bride broke as Lewis started a tour of the United Kingdom in 1958, creating such an outcry that the tour was quickly cancelled. Even when Lewis returned to the States, he found that he got a less-than-warm welcome home. In the 1960s, Lewis returned to the music of his youth. He found a new career as a country artist, recording several country albums over the next few years,
He won several Grammy awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1989.