Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy birthday, Jerry Lee

Happy Birthday to Jerry Lee Lewis, 74 years today!

Lewis has had such an amazing career, more ups than most artists, more downs, too. But for fifty years he's been rocking the joint.

"Whole Lotta Shakin'" and "Great Balls of Fire," his early signature songs, are both early live performances. They show the power of his singing and piano playing and his personal charisma. I remember the "Great Balls of Fire" performance from the Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show.

Clark later said in his autobiography that he deserted Lewis when Jerry Lee was in a scandal over marrying his teenage cousin. It was after the hoopla died down that Lewis struggled to keep his career afloat. Later he went into country music, his roots. He did one of the top country songs of all time, "What Made Milwaukee Famous," and this video of that song is another outstanding live performance.

I wasn't a country music fan but I bought the single when it came out, just based on Jerry Lee's performance. Some people say it's the perfect drinking song. It's only a couple of minutes long so you'd have to chug pretty fast, but if you want to drink to it that's fine with me.

"High School Confidential" is a jam song with Brian May of Queen. Another amazing performance by Jerry Lee.

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