Though he had only three Top 10 hits in the first, purely rock & roll phase of his career, many critics
believe Jerry Lee Lewis was as talented a '50s rocker as Sun labelmate Elvis Presley. Some also believe
that Jerry lee Lewis could have made it just as big commercially if his piano-slamming musical style
was not so relentlessly wild, his persona not so threateningly hard-edged.
Lewis' first musical influences were eclectic. His parents, who were poor, spun swing and Al Jolson
records. But his earliest big influence was country star Jimmie Rodgers. In his early teens he absorbed
both the softer country style of Gene Autry and the more rocking music of local black clubs, along with
the gospel hymns of the local Assembly of God church.
Lewis first played his aunt’s piano at age eight and made his public debut in 1949 at age 14, sitting in
with a local C&W band in a Ford dealership parking lot