Born in Ferriday, Louisiana, on September 29, 1935, Jerry Lee Lewis may well be the last of the 1950's "Wildmen." Learning to play the piano at age five, he was playing to audiences not long after. By age 15, he was playing piano for a travelling revival and, not long after, fell in love with the preacher's daughter; the marriage lasted but a few months. At age 21 he married again; his son from that union, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jr., is now deceased, and that marriage ended, as well. Hearing Elvis on the radio in 1956, he went to Memphis to meet with Sam Phillips of Sun Records. Mr. Phillips was out of town, so Lewis cut a demo record for the producer to hear. The result was a contract with a string of hits including "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," "Great Balls Of Fire," and many others. Just two years later, Lewis' career collapsed when his marriage to his 13 year old cousin was revealed. After a dozen years of exile from the spotlight, he returned to popularity, ultimately having a film biography of his life made in 1988, "Great Balls Of Fire," with Dennis Quaid playing Lewis. His nickname has been "Killer," and that unique moniker may well characterize this unique entertainer.
Jerry Lee Lewis has acknowledged that Al Joson was one of his early heros. This performance of a classic Jolson number from his second Elektra album demonstrates this admiration, and shows an interesting interpretation of a classic number.