by Robert Wilkinson
Tonight’s dance comes from one of the originals! Time to shake it with attitude! (With an unexpected bonus from the one who birthed "Australian Rock and Roll.")
Jerry Lee Lewis (September 29, 1935) was one of rock and roll’s first true wild men. One of Sam Phillips’ “Million Dollar Quartet” (along with Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins), he’s one of the originals of frenetic pounding piano rock and roll, and was said to inspire near riots everywhere he played in the early days. When you check out the clips of the live performances from 1957, you'll get it. He really was a wild man!
I missed his birthday celebration last Sunday, so consider today a birthday tribute to one of the seminar figures of early rock and roll! His music is infinitely danceable, so for those of you who remember when such things happened back in the days when Jesus rode the dinosaurs, this is a sock hop!
While his popularity has waxed and waned over the decades, he’s still one of the originals, and one of the greatest at what he did! Without him, there’s no telling where rock and roll might have gone, but there’s no question that his hyperkinetic “honky tonk” style of piano playing inspired ten thousand imitators.
On with the dance! From 1957, live on the Steve Allen Show, Jerry Lee Lewis performing our Saturday Night Attitude tune. “Jumpin’ and joltin’” as Steve put it, here’s the Killer in his original glory!
Here’s that performance, with better sound and trimmed of the 50s television stuff. For those who want to cut to the chase, from 1957, the Killer cranking in his younger days! Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On"
Let’s move forward to 1958, where we find him very live and most definitely NOT lip synching! Here’s the Killer knocking out two more of his biggest hits! Keep on dancin'..... “Great Balls of Fire” and “Breathless”
From 1957, a great film clip of JLL cranking out his hit, “Great Balls of Fire”
Here’s the original studio audio-only recording by the Killer of “Wild One”
And in a great find, “Wild One” is said the be the “birth of Australian rock and roll!” Written by the legendary Johnny O’Keefe about a riot that broke out between dancers at a gig he played at and an Italian wedding reception going on downstairs sometime in 1957, this was released on July 5, 1958. Here’s the original studio version of “Wild One”
Before we get back to Jerry Lee’s recordings, you can hear his piano on this early rockabilly hit on Sun Records for Billy Lee Riley “Flying Saucers Rock and Roll”
Back to Jerry Lee! From UK television (probably in the early 60s), live on “Don’t Knock the Rock,” Jerry Lee cranking out a blistering version of “I’m On Fire”
Here’s great live footage from the 1960s of Jerry Lee getting everyone hot and bothered as he rips out “High School Confidential”
From the Shindig “Pick of the Week,” Jerry Lee sending up a very danceable offering of “Rockin Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”
And from another session on Shindig in 1965, Jerry Lee cranking out his version of the Little Richard classic “Long Tall Sally”
From his legendary 1964 Star Club performance, said to be some of the wildest music ever made, I found 7 great audio-only clips!
Here’s an exceptional show! From the “Legends in Concert” television series, I found a full 40 minute show featuring live performances from Jerry Lee Lewis, Boxcar Willie and Little Richard, three of the greatest talents of rock 'n' roll of all time! Jerry Lee Lewis and Friends – Inside and Out
From 1979 at a private party in Atlanta, a full 1 hour 35 minute concert by Jerry Lee! Jerry Lee Lewis Live in Dalton, GA
From the UK in 1980, 41 minutes of the Killer knocking it out across the pond! Jerry Lee Lewis Live in Concert at the Fulcrum Center
From 1983 in London, here’s Jerry Lee Lewis live performing what was his first hit (1956) for Sun Records! “Crazy Arms”
From 1989, a full one hour television special featuring Jerry Lee Lewis and Friends
From Arsenio Hall Show in 1989, here’s Jerry Lee knocking out more stylized versions of “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”
From 1994 in Armheim, Holland, here’s a great one hour 20 minute show! Jerry Lee Lewis Live in Holland
Here’s a full one hour television show from 1982, where JLL is joined by Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, Kris Kristofferson, and more in the special 25 Years of Jerry Lee Lewis
Comin’ back to our Saturday Night Attitude tune, here we have great video footage from 1980 on the Eddie Rabbit show! This is one of the most frenetic, pounding performances possible, with the Killer electrifying in a truly great version of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (“Jerry Lee’s got the bull by the horns...”)
For our closer to this dance, this one is live on the Midnight Special television program in 1976! Introduced by Gregg Allman, here’s the Killer offering up a great performance of our Saturday Night Attitude tune, “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On”
"Shake it baby shake it..."
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson