New York Times Bestseller
The greatest Southern storyteller of our time, New York Times bestselling author Rick Bragg, tracks down the greatest rock and roller of all time, Jerry Lee Lewis—and gets his own story, from the source, for the very first time.
A monumental figure on the American landscape, Jerry Lee Lewis spent his childhood raising hell in Ferriday, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi; galvanized the world with hit records like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire,” that gave rock and roll its devil’s edge; caused riots and boycotts with his incendiary performances; nearly scuttled his career by marrying his thirteen-year-old second cousin—his third wife of seven; ran a decades-long marathon of drugs, drinking, and women; nearly met his maker, twice; suffered the deaths of two sons and two wives, and the indignity of an IRS raid that left him with nothing but the broken-down piano he started with; performed with everyone from Elvis Presley to Keith Richards to Bruce Springsteen to Kid Rock—and survived it all to be hailed as “one of the most creative and important figures in American popular culture and a paradigm of the Southern experience.”
Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story is the Killer’s life as he lived it, and as he shared it over two years with our greatest bard of Southern life: Rick Bragg. Rich with Lewis’s own words, framed by Bragg’s richly atmospheric narrative, , this is the last great untold rock-and-roll story, come to life on the page.
Bragg, writing closely with Lewis, offers this rollicking, incendiary tale of the man who kick-started rock and roll and blazed a fiery trail strewn with heartache, happiness, regret, and memorable music. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Bragg (All Over but the Shouting) sat down with Lewis over a period of two years and simply let Lewis tell his own story. From his childhood in Ferriday, La., and Natchez, Miss., Lewis chased music, discovering at age five his reason for being born when he sees the piano in his aunt's house. He couldn't sit still "I come out jumpin', an' I been jumpin' ever since" and he conducts us on a journey through his short-lived career at a Bible college, his discovery by Cowboy Jack Clement, his years at Sun Studio including that now-famous, brief session with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Elvis his seven marriages, his children's deaths, his descent into drugs and alcohol, and his burning desire to play music above all else. "For Jerry Lee," writes Bragg, "fame was a thing that sometimes flogged him and sometimes let him be; he was capable, in the dark times, of losing all sight of the good in his music, of believing it was evil, until suddenly things would be just clear and he'd see it all so much better. The thing about rock and roll, he said, was that it made people crazy bad, but it more often made them happy, made them forget life for a while." As his song "Thirty-Nine and Holding"illustrates, Lewis hypnotizes with his tale, and Bragg stands back and lets him fly.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Jerry Lee Lewis
Dame good book . I loved it . Took me back to a time when all was rocking an rolling . That man had a rough life , but lived it to the fullest .
Boring and Amateurish
Read about a third of this book before deleting it. Not only was the book boring, the writing was amateurish. Don't waste your money.