Jerry lee lewis - ? - the killer the king
His first recordings sold well, with "Crazy Arms" selling 300,000 copies in the South. But it was his incendiary live performance that really caught people's attention, standing up and jumping around whilst pummelling the keys. His first hit was in 1957, for "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" which brought Lewis worldwide fame. A continuous stream of hits followed with "Great Balls of Fire," "Breathless" and "High School Confidential" As quick as he had rose to success, he swiftly plummeted, following the revelation that the 22 year old had married his 13 year old cousin, effectively signalling the end of his rock & roll career.
There's a whole lotta Jerry Lee Lewis news goin' on today.
First, a new book about his life, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story , just went on sale. It's by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg, and USA TODAY's Brian Mansfield gives it four stars (out of four) .
Also out today: Rock & Roll Time, Lewis' first new album since 2010. It features contributions from Keith Richards, Neil Young, Robbie Robertson and many more .
And now, via Cuepoint, comes fascinating insight into the relationship that pretty much destroyed Lewis' career -- his 1958 marriage to his 13-year-old third cousin, Myra Gale Brown. Today, she's known as Myra Williams, and she's a real-estate broker in Atlanta.
"They were looking for a place to stick the knife into rock & roll. And Jerry gave it to them—well, I did, I opened my mouth. That’s exactly what it was." -- Myra Williams
The shocking marriage was revealed during what was supposed to be a triumphant concert tour of England. (The fact that The Killer was still married to another woman also came to light at that time.) The British tabloids ripped Lewis to shreds, and his career "took a nosedive right into the concrete," as Williams tells music journalist Alan Light . But that adversity also strengthened their relationship, she says:
"It was something that marked Jerry for life. We kept thinking every year, every six months, that it was going to go away, they’re going to stop talking about it, and it just didn’t happen. But it brought me and Jerry very close, and we had ten incredible, wonderful years together after that."
Williams and Lewis eventually divorced in 1970.
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