Sunday, 24 January 2010

Jerry Lee Lewis, 74, photographed at the London hotel, New York, 30
October 2009. Photograph: Jamie-James Medina

Jerry Lee Lewis: the hellfire pianist
Ray Davies of the Kinks on the original punk

The Uk newspaper, the Sunday Observer today issued their final instalment in the 76 issue OMM (Observer Music Monthly), which ran from 2003 to 2010. This was Jerry Lee's second time on the cover, no mean feat for a mag that focussed mostly on modern music.

the text that ran with the photo came courtesy of Ray Davies and read, ""Before Jerry Lee came along the piano was all Winifred Atwell and Russ
Conway. A bit polite. I remember him playing on the Six-Five Special and
I'd literally never seen anything like it. He had that long curly hair
and he was playing with one leg up on the piano. He looked like a complete
punk, but really cool at the same time. White shirt, black suit. The
coolest. Obviously a man with demons, but the fact he didn't seem quite
safe to be around added to the attraction and the power of the

"That was it. It affected me more than Elvis Presley. I bought High
School Confidential from the movie of the same name.

"The first concert I went to was Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and
Duane Eddy. Both Jerry Lee and Little Richard were doing their
extravaganza, but somehow Jerry Lee had the edge with the hair and the
body language.Again, it was something I'd never seen before. Since then,
I've seen him play lots of times. The last time was at the Festival Hall
about six years ago, when he was on with Chuck Berry. I think he'd just
had a stroke or something and he wasn't quite his normal self, but he
was still playing great piano.

"It's not obvious, but there is an influence there. There's piano onYou
Really Got Me and All Day and All of the Night, and most of the time
they're doing chops with the right hand like Jerry Lee would have
done.I've never met him, though. I stay away from my heroes, because I
want them to stay heroes. After all these years, High School
Confidential is still my favourite and still seems to sum him up: 'You
better open up, honey, it's your lover boy, me, that's a knockin' - bam,
ba-bam!' Genius."

Key recording: Sun Essentials (Charly, 2006)


peterrocker said...

The Original Master Of Disaster. What an incredible amount of brilliant music he has created. My all time favourite musician & performer.

Rockabillyville said...

You're right Peter. The Killer is unbelievable. Shame Ray Davies didn't get the facts right, but who cares. The Killer rocks on!

flip54 said...

I think Ray was referring to a 50s movie clip of JLL - these were sometimes shown on 6-5 Special, his brother Dave mentioned when he played with JLL at that Hammersmith show that the Kinks were blown away on a Shindig 60s tv show with JLL and he didn't have a clue who they were!!
Shame the Observer music mag is finishing after 76 monthly issues, JLL has twice been the cover artist in that time