Rock 'n' Roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis dies at 87


Jerry Lee Lewis, a pioneer of rock n' roll with hits such as "Great Balls of Fire," has died at the age of 87.

Lewis passed away at his home in Desoto County, Mississippi, with his wife, Judith, by his side, a statement from his publicist said.

He had been ill in recent years and suffered a stroke in 2019.

Like Chuck Berry's guitar, Lewis' piano was essential in shaping rock 'n' roll in the mid-1950s.

He was part of the dazzling Sun Records talent pool in Memphis, Tennessee, that included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. Lewis outlived them all.

He was one of the first performers inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and was so influential that when John Lennon met him backstage at a show in Los Angeles, the Beatle dropped to his knees and kissed Lewis' feet.

Lewis filled his albums not only with ground-breaking rock but with gospel, country and rhythm and blues such as "Me and Bobby McGee" and "To Make Love Sweeter for You" as he endured a life often filled with alcohol, drugs and tragedy.

In his prime, he performed with daring, originality and a wild-man stage demeanor that thrilled his young fans as much as it agitated their parents.

Typically, Lewis would kick away his piano bench and bang the keyboard with his foot while his long wavy blond hair flopped in his face.

More from Entertainment News