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Jerry Lee Lewis, a Rock ’n’ Roll Original, Dies at 87


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The New York Times

With his pounding piano, his impassioned vocals and his incendiary performing style, Mr. Lewis lived up to his nickname, the Killer.

William Grimes

Oct. 28, 2022Updated 5:08 p.m. ET

Jerry Lee Lewis, the hard-driving rockabilly artist whose pounding boogie-woogie piano and bluesy, country-influenced vocals helped define the sound of rock ’n’ roll on hits like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire,” and whose incendiary performing style expressed the essence of rock rebellion, died on Friday at his home in DeSoto County, Miss., south of Memphis. He was 87.

His death was announced by his publicist, Zach Farnum. No cause was given, but Mr. Lewis had been in poor health for some time.

Mr. Lewis was 21 in November 1956 when he walked into Sun Studio in Memphis and, presenting himself as a country singer who could play a mean piano, demanded an audition.

His timing was impeccable. Sun Records had sold Elvis Presley’s contract to RCA Records a year earlier and badly needed a new star to headline a roster that included Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison.

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Ya know with a little practice and some breaks these 3 guys could have a career in music.  They Might even make a record.

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