19 Songs, 1 Hour 1 Minute

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jerry Lee Lewis is timeless — but not ageless. At 74, Lewis has lived a crazy life and his music has worn its scars, often to great effect. His 2010 album, Mean Old Man, is similar to his 2006 release, Last Man Standing, where the studio is jammed with celebrities wishing to pay their respects to a living legend. He sings with a sense of knowing. Whether he’s mocking his own persona on the title track, or moving on over for Kid Rock and Slash on “Rockin’ My Life Away,” the Killer still holds all the cards in the studio as his piano pumps throughout the album like a human heart. Keith Richards joins him for a woozy-boozy version of the Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Virginia.” “Whiskey River,” with Willie Nelson, is a match of two legends. “You Can Have Her” comes off like vintage Sun sessions with Eric Clapton and James Burton slinging their guitars into the solo slots. The man can throw a party. The expanded version includes another Stones cut, “Dead Flowers,” with Mick Jagger, for a smooth country stroll into depravity. Gillian Welch brings sweet harmonies to “Please Release Me” and “I Really Don’t Want to Know.” Country, rock n’ roll, and everything in between, the Killer does it all. At 74.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jerry Lee Lewis is timeless — but not ageless. At 74, Lewis has lived a crazy life and his music has worn its scars, often to great effect. His 2010 album, Mean Old Man, is similar to his 2006 release, Last Man Standing, where the studio is jammed with celebrities wishing to pay their respects to a living legend. He sings with a sense of knowing. Whether he’s mocking his own persona on the title track, or moving on over for Kid Rock and Slash on “Rockin’ My Life Away,” the Killer still holds all the cards in the studio as his piano pumps throughout the album like a human heart. Keith Richards joins him for a woozy-boozy version of the Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Virginia.” “Whiskey River,” with Willie Nelson, is a match of two legends. “You Can Have Her” comes off like vintage Sun sessions with Eric Clapton and James Burton slinging their guitars into the solo slots. The man can throw a party. The expanded version includes another Stones cut, “Dead Flowers,” with Mick Jagger, for a smooth country stroll into depravity. Gillian Welch brings sweet harmonies to “Please Release Me” and “I Really Don’t Want to Know.” Country, rock n’ roll, and everything in between, the Killer does it all. At 74.

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About Jerry Lee Lewis

Singer and pianist Jerry Lee Lewis channeled the sanctity of gospel and the seduction of the blues into some of early rock ’n’ roll’s most joyfully furious singles. A former divinity student born in Louisiana in 1935, he brought the ecstasy of church music to pounding rockers like 1957’s “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On," kicking loose his piano stool with the gleeful savagery of any future guitar-destroying punk (he was known to his rockabilly peers as The Killer). And his attempts to outdo the audacity of his hero-turned-rival Little Richard inflamed a secular audience primed for a new brand of wildness. (His proud embrace of African American music thrilled in a repressively segregated era.) Lewis’ career was sidelined by one of rock’s first headline-worthy scandals when he married his 13-year-old cousin in 1957—though by then he’d already managed to uncork the pent-up sexuality of an entire generation with songs like “Great Balls of Fire." He eventually found humility (if not gentility) as a revered country-music storyteller, sketching deeply human characters, like the broken man confronting his alcohol-fueled regrets in 1968’s “What's Made Milwaukee Famous,” with all the passion of his rock hits.

HOMETOWN
Ferriday, LA
GENRE
Rock
BORN
September 29, 1935

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