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Article: The Music In Me: Off the Record With Jerry Lee Lewis


Gilbert Klein
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Gilbert,

 

I greatly enjoyed your previous writing of your personal experience in the music world, that's something genuine and meaningful.

 

This comes across as more of an opinion piece, and just doesn't have the same visceral impact.

 

Whether Elvis Presley or Jerry Lee Lewis has had the greater effect shouldn't be a topic of debate any longer. They both copied Professor Longhair.

 

Elvis had the advantage with the sex appeal. Jerry blew it, as you mentioned, when he married a 13 year old, cousin or otherwise. Even today that would earn you a well deserved prison sentence.

 

I look forward to reading more of your personal experiences.

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Thanks for your writing. I too think this isn't your best piece, but it stimulates some thinking.

 

My mother and her best lifelong friend loved Elvis. So much so when I was a child and they couldn't find a sitter, they bought an extra ticket and took me along (twice). Okay so this describes like millions of women. They also had seen Jerry Lee Lewis early on in person. Now there is someone they really were crazy about. Crazy. And yet, while you mention the different morals of the time you give them short shrift. Diminish the real effect they had. As much as they were crazy, it was like a secret thing they rarely talked about. They could always talk about Elvis, but I only happened to over-hear them talk about Lewis a few times when they didn't know I was close by. He wasn't acceptable. That is one reason why Elvis was wildly more successful in the business sense than Lewis. The other was Elvis was simply gifted with innate sexuality without doing anything those others weren't.

 

Yes, he gave control of his life to other people. It is an American Tragedy of sorts. Now he might have been a pussy in yours eyes, but he could get more pussy than almost anyone if he wanted it. Lewis didn't just marry his 13 year old cousin once removed, he wasn't divorced from a previous marriage yet and eventually married 5 times. People forget how rare, and shameful divorce was then. Interesting he was from a heavily religious background, and had the music of the devil in him and battled the contradiction his whole life. I think his cousin Jimmy was a horrid result of that which negatively effected thousands of people. Jerry Lee mostly negatively effected himself.

 

My father liked the black music verbotten on white radio in the 50s. Don't know how he knew of it, but all the white pretenders he didn't like because they were pale (pun intended) copies of the real deal. My father wasn't very sophisticated, but like such people he knew a phony when he saw/heard it. He did like Jerry Lee, and Buddy Holly. So maybe you have some kind of point with this. Yet he also liked Elvis.

 

In the end, this comes off as a hatchet job of Elvis as a way to promote Lewis. You could have written differently, got the point across about Lewis and not besmirched Elvis so much. Both were products of their upbringing for good and ill. Both came along in a time of culture shifts. You mainly sound jealous that Elvis was so successful compared to Lewis.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Thank you for another thoroughly entertaining

masterly composed article. Like it or not

compulsive amoral bingeing has fueled some

of the greatest music ever created. Contrasting

The Killer's wild wreckless dangereous rock

to Elvis's glorified lounge act was brilliant.

"Great Balls of Fire" vs. "Love me Tender".

Rock vs. schlock. IMO.

 

pb-

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I like the article because I knew nothing about Jerry Lee Lewis. Sure I've heard Great Balls of Fire, but that's it. I also like to read Gilbert's opinion about this stuff, whether or not he was actually there or not.

 

P.S. Where else is anyone going to hear these studio out takes?

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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The studio out takes are very worthwhile to post. Most definitely worth an article for that.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Great article Thank You Very Much!

I like Elvis but I always felt he only made a few REAL rock and roll records, while Jerry Lee, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, etc; WERE rock and roll to the bone, you can argue over who's the true King between them, Elvis sold out, put on the gold lam'e and shades, then moved to Vegas very early on.

Some time in the late 80s I went to Nashville and got into the Nashville Now TV show. A little tip to my guy at the Operaland Hotel and the tickets turned into VIP tickets with backstage pass. My head just about blew up that night when it was announced that Ralph Emmery was off, Marty Stuart was guest host with Jerry Lee the star guest.. Sat in the front row for the show while Marty and Jerry both performed a couple songs each. Then after the show I got to go backstage and hang out BS'ing with them both for about a half hour. Really one of the big thrills of my life, hanging with The Killer.

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

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Rolling Stone published portions of this book in ca. 1986 or so. Worth a Google.

 

 

“The Strange And Mysterious Death of Mrs. Jerry Lee Lewis”

By Richard Ben Cramer

 

The killer was in his bedroom, behind the door of iron bars, as Sonny Daniels, the first ambulance man, moved down the long hall to the guest bed- room to check the report: “Unconscious party at the Jerry Lee Lewis residence.”

Lottie Jackson, the housekeeper, showed Sonny into a spotless room: Gauzy drapes filtered the noonday light; there was nothing on the tables, no clothes strewn about, no dust; just a body on the bed, turned away slightly toward the wall, with the covers drawn up to the neck. Sonny probed with his big, blunt fingers at a slender wrist: it was cold. “It’s Miz Lewis,” Lottie said. “I came in…I couldn’t wake her up….” Sonny already had the covers back, his thick hand on the woman’s neck where the carotid pulse should be: The neck retained its body warmth, but no pulse. Now he bent his pink moon-face with its sandy fuzz of first beard over her pale lips: no breath. He checked the eyes. “Her eyes were all dilated. That’s an automatic sign that her brain has done died completely.”

In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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Rolling Stone published portions of this book in ca. 1986 or so. Worth a Google.

 

 

“The Strange And Mysterious Death of Mrs. Jerry Lee Lewis”

By Richard Ben Cramer

 

The killer was in his bedroom, behind the door of iron bars, as Sonny Daniels, the first ambulance man, moved down the long hall to the guest bed- room to check the report: “Unconscious party at the Jerry Lee Lewis residence.”

Lottie Jackson, the housekeeper, showed Sonny into a spotless room: Gauzy drapes filtered the noonday light; there was nothing on the tables, no clothes strewn about, no dust; just a body on the bed, turned away slightly toward the wall, with the covers drawn up to the neck. Sonny probed with his big, blunt fingers at a slender wrist: it was cold. “It’s Miz Lewis,” Lottie said. “I came in…I couldn’t wake her up….” Sonny already had the covers back, his thick hand on the woman’s neck where the carotid pulse should be: The neck retained its body warmth, but no pulse. Now he bent his pink moon-face with its sandy fuzz of first beard over her pale lips: no breath. He checked the eyes. “Her eyes were all dilated. That’s an automatic sign that her brain has done died completely.”

Interesting. I had no idea about any of this.

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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