"Whole Lotta Shakin’: The Life and Music of Jerry Lee Lewis
September 6, 2007
2007 series will mark the FIRST time Rock Hall honors a living master –
Lewis will be special guest, present at tribute concert
CLEVELAND – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University will celebrate the legacy of one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, the legendary Jerry Lee Lewis, during the 12th Annual American Music Masters® series this November. The weeklong event begins on Monday, November 5, and will feature panels, films, educational programs, an all-day conference at Case and a tribute concert at Playhouse Square’s State Theater.
The tribute concert will take place on Saturday, November 10 at 8 p.m. at Playhouse Square’s State Theater. Participating artists will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets for the tribute concert are $30, $40 and $50. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, September 19 through tickets.com and at the Playhouse Square box office (216) 241-6000.
Few artists represent the energy, spirit and passion of rock and roll music as well as Jerry Lee Lewis. Long considered one of the leading popular music stylists, he ranks among such figures as Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday and Jimmie Rodgers. Lewis helped to create the archetype of the rock and roll rebel artist with his mix of musical acumen and unbridled energy.
“It’s a profound honor for my father to be celebrated as the 2007 American Music Master and to be included in the company of previous honorees including Bessie Smith, Sam Cooke, Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie,” said Phoebe Lewis.
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Lewis was in the first group of artists ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 2004, he was named as one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Whether performing an energy-filled rock and roll tune or a melancholy country song, Lewis is master of a wide musical territory. His voice projects an urgent yet polished rhythm and his live-in-the-moment, piano-pounding, bench-kicking stage presence has forever left its mark on rock and roll history.
A piano virtuoso, Lewis’s unique brand of country, rock and pop music catapulted him into the international spotlight in 1957 with the groundbreaking “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” which went to Number One on both the country & western and R&B charts. The popular “Great Balls of Fire” followed, selling more than five million copies. That same watershed year, Lewis traveled the country and appeared on many television shows, including Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and The Steve Allen Show.
Lewis grew up learning to play piano by ear, absorbing the rich musical heritage that was all around him: western swing, boogie-woogie, uptempo R&B and Delta blues. Among his first crucial musical influences was the blues-inflected country sound of Jimmie Rodgers. But Lewis also absorbed the gospel and R&B of the local black community.
Lewis was discovered by Sam Phillips of Sun Records, whose stable of artists also included Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. Not long after joining Sun, the now-famous Sun studio jam session with Presley, Perkins, Cash and Lewis led to the unprecedented Million Dollar Quartet recording.
Then came “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire,” followed by the hits “Breathless” and “High School Confidential,” all of which proved that Lewis was here to stay.
Beginning in the late Sixties, Lewis launched such Top Ten country hits as “Another Place, Another Time” and “What Made Milwaukee Famous (Made a Loser Out of Me).” In 1973, Lewis released The Session, his re-entry into the rock and roll realm. The album was recorded in London with music greats Peter Frampton, Rory Gallagher, Alvin Lee and Klaus Voormann. By the early Eighties, he’d racked up a string of 30 country hits. In 1986, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1995, he marked his 60th year with a red-hot rock and roll album, Young Blood.
His latest studio album, Last Man Standing, was released in 2006 and features duets with music legends Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Don Henley and many more. To this day, Lewis’s fire burns bright.
For more information on Jerry Lee Lewis go to http://www.jerryleelewis.com