Amy Campbell Library > Biography > Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story

Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story

By Nick Tosches

The lifetime of Jerry Lee Lewis is without doubt one of the such a lot dramatic and tormented in rock 'n' roll historical past. Hellfire is a wild, riveting, and fantastically written biography that got common acclaim on its unique booklet and continues to be some of the most amazing biographies ever written.
Born in Louisiana to a family members legacy of serious braveness and bigger wildness, Jerry Lee was once torn all through his lifestyles among a difficult Pentecostal God and the satan of alcohol, medicines, and the boogie-woogie piano. At fourteen he all started acting publicly, and at twenty-two he recorded "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On", which propelled him to stardom. yet shortly, information of his marriage to his thirteen-year-old cousin approximately destroyed his profession. Over the subsequent 20 years, Jerry Lee could upward push back as a rustic big name, and lose all of it to his addictions to alcohol, medicines, and his personal reputation. Hellfire is an audacious, crafty glance without delay into the soul of a rock 'n' roll legend.

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For the second one 12 months in a row, Jerry Lee had pushed crowds wild around the sea; into the shadows. yet in his native land he persisted to On the recent summer time go with the flow nights of July 27-28, 1963, he went into the sunlight studio at 639 Madison, the hot, four-track studio that Sam Phillips had fore, shuttering the unique, opened years be- haunted studio on Union Ave- nue, the place Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee, and the remaining had labored their redneck wonders within the decade prior. On these July nights, Jerry Lee recorded 8 songs. a few of these, akin to "Invitation on your social gathering" and "One Minute prior Eter- 182 HELLFIRE new nity," have been songs, written via sunlight author invoice Taylor. Others have been previous, such Kong Hoagy Carmichael's 1939 "Hong Me again to outdated Vir- as Blues" and James Bland's "Carry ginny," which dated to 1878, to the times of Leroy Lewis's boyhood. (Ray Charles had reduce the music in I960, yet within the sluggish, conventional manner; Jerry Lee grew to become the tune right into a speedy, not easy boogie. ) those have been the final songs that Jerry Lee recorded for solar. whilst he the studio someday among ten and mid- left evening that Sunday evening, checklist corporation the magic Phillips Me and his mythical little of glory that remained of sunlight lingered, and Sam persevered fifties. Jerry Lee's documents issued "Carry Sam misplaced the ultimate piece until eventually again to to free up spring of 1965, while he previous Virgina. " (Altogether, Jerry Lee as overdue because the had lower multiple hundred sixty titles in the course of his years solar. ) Then, in 1968, the lingering ceased, and Sam at Phillips receded into the nice wealth he had bought, now not because the presi- dent of sunlight yet Inc. , as an unique shareholder in vacation motels, which have been based 12 months that Sam had 1963. Frank Casone, supervisor in July, in 1952, the comparable all started sunlight. Jerry Lee's agreement with 6, Memphis in sunlight whom legally expired on September Jerry Lee had taken on as his introduced that Jerry Lee had signed a 5- yr care for spoil, the recent, Nashville-based subsidiary of Mercury documents. (Casone, whose agreement entitled him to twenty-five percentage of the Killer's source of revenue, used to be additionally the landlord of the Oriental, a Memphis nightclub the place Above the doorway of the membership was once Jerry Lee frequently performed. a twenty-foot of Jerry Lee with flashing hair and palms. ) On neon photograph September 22, with manufacturer Shelby Singleton, the thirty-year-old Texan who had signed him to break, Jerry Lee went into the Phillips Recording Studio on seventeenth street South in Nashville. (This was once the studio, opened by way of Sam Phillips Jerry Lee had minimize "What'd I in early 1961, the place Say" and "Cold, chilly Heart," his 183 Nick final Tosches mildly profitable files. ) The first spoil classes have been committed mostly to new types of Jerry Lee's early solar documents, such as Fire," "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," "Great Balls of and "Breathless. " additionally lower have been a speeded-up rendition of "Hit the line, Jack," which were one in all Ray Charles's biggests hits, and a tune referred to as "Pen and Paper," written by way of Eddie Kilroy, a Texas rodeo rider Shelby Singleton and who had who knew either Jerry lived Lee and and labored with Mickey Gilley in Houston.

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