Back over to rock and roll, today’s selection is the “The Killer”, Louisiana’s own Jerry Lee Lewis. While his career certainly has had its share of controversy, he remains an icon of rock and roll, country music and rockabilly. The album “All Killer and No Filler” is rated as the #325 album on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Like other collections, I couldn’t find this exact set, so I went with a similar anthology and collection of hits, “Jerry Lee Lewis At His Best”.
Simply, this album rocks from beginning to end. Two of his biggest hits, “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire” kick off the album. Like the original album title proclaims, there is no filler on this one. Tributes to his home state of Louisiana include “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In” and Hank Williams’ bayou masterpiece “Jambalaya”. The opening piano on his original, self-titled “Lewis Boogie” is phenomenal. This is the kind of energy we all wish we could see every time we enter a club for some live music.
Two other songs, neither of which are Lewis compositions, are tunes that caught my attention due to their familiarity as performed by other artists. I don’t think Iggy Pop (“Wild One”) or the punk band X (“Breathless”) hail from the swamps of Louisiana, but they all owe “The Killer” a big thank you for putting these songs up in lights a quarter of a century earlier.
We have already spent time with Elvis Presley and Little Richard. Jerry Lee Lewis, who broke out with Sun Records just as Elvis did, is every bit their equal in musical contribution, historical influence and showmanship. I’m not quite sure what he is up to these days, but hopefully somewhere down south there is still a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.