Jerry Lee Lewis passed away today at the age of 87 at his home in Desoto County, MS, south of Memphis. He was born in 1935 to Mamie and Elmo Lewis of Ferriday, Louisiana. In November of ‘56 Jerry Lee made his way to Memphis, Tennessee where he would join Sun Records and launch hit records with “Crazy Arms,” “Whole Lotta Shakin,’”, and “Great Balls of Fire.” Jerry Lee, along with with his friends Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins would become known as the Million Dollar Quartet and there is not any part of music that their influences haven’t touched. As a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s very first class of inductees, “The Killer” holds numerous awards including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, numerous GRAMMYs, the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award and countless other honors. He is truly one of rock’s first great wildman.
Jerry Lee Lewis is survived by his wife, Judith Coghlan Lewis, his children Jerry Lee Lewis III, Ronnie Lewis, Phoebe Lewis and Lori Lancaster, sister Linda Gail Lewis, cousin Jimmy Swaggart and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Elmo and Mamie Lewis, sons Steve Allen Lewis and Jerry Lee Lewis Jr., his siblings Elmo Lewis Jr. and Frankie Jean Lewis and his cousin Mickey Gilley.
Services and more information will be announced in the following days. In lieu of flowers, the Lewis family requests donations be made in Jerry Lee Lewis’ honor to the Arthritis Foundation or MusiCares – the non-profit foundation of the GRAMMYs / National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Check back for updates.
Here are some celebrity thought about Lee’s passing:
“It’s so sad to hear that Jerry Lee Lewis has passed. I’ve loved him since I first met and worked with him in the early 1970s. He was definitely one of a kind as an artist and person.”
“Jerry Lee was a Christian, an American icon and the greatest piano player in the world. People will be listening to ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘Whole Lot of Shakin” 500 years from now. I will miss him. God bless you Jerry Lee.”
“I first met Jerry Lee Lewis with my brother Lefty in the late 50’s on a TV set they were filming and got to hear him sing “Great Balls Of Fire”… then years later when I was recording in California in the early ’80s (on a night off) we went to The Palamino Club to see Jerry’s show (that is the night me and my wife Jo met) and got to visit with him briefly. Over the next few years, we got to do a lot of shows together. We were so proud he was just inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
‘Say Hello to Heaven’ Jerry Lee ❤️”
“Jerry Lee at the beginning of a session put his gun on the piano.
They do the session…
The next day the musicians come to the session and all bring their guns.
That was Jerry Lee.”
“The image and influence of Jerry Lee Lewis is an iconic memory we will always have. As a musician/singer I loved his energy and style. He was the greatest!”
“I went to the Jerry Lee Lewis school of singing. His style was one of my biggest influences. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I’ll really miss that man. He was a pounder supreme and sublime. As he used to say, “Think about it!” Condolences to his survivors. RIP Daddy-O!!”
–T. Graham Brown
“Jerry Lee Lewis has passed … REST EASY KILLER you were one of a kind…”
–Joe Bonsall / The Oak Ridge Boys
“Jerry Lee was very much like Rod Stewart is – when he stepped on that stage to perform, he OWNED it! He will be missed.”
–Lacy J. Dalton