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Jerry Lee Lewis, ‘Great Balls of Fire’ rock ‘n’ roll star, dies at 87

October 28th, 2022 by WCBC Radio

 Rock pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, known for hits like "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls of Fire," died Friday morning. He was 87 years old. Lewis taught himself to play piano when he was 9 and sang in church, drawing inspiration from preachers and musicians that traveled through his hometown of Ferriday, Louisiana, according to the biography on his website. At 10, Lewis' father mortgaged their family farm to buy him his first piano, his bio says, and he performed for the public for the first time at a local car dealership when he was 14. In 1956, Lewis signed with Sun Records and recorded his first single, a cover of Ray Price’s "Crazy Arms." While working as a studio musician at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, Lewis played alongside Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash in the now famous Million Dollar Quartet. "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" hit the airwaves in 1957, which is when Lewis started becoming known for his stage performance antics like playing while standing up and lighting pianos on fire. His next hit, "Great Balls of Fire," hit the charts in the same year, followed by "Breathless," which ended up in the Top 10 of the pop charts.