Jerry Lee Lewis Pays the Marriage Penalty
It was the late 1950s, and there was this new thing going round called rock 'n' roll. Elvis was the king, but his reign ended prematurely when he had to go into the army. Who would be the new ruler?
Pumping piano player Jerry Lee Lewis shook up the scene with his "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," followed by several more devilishly sexy flaming hits: "Great Balls of Fire," "Breathless" and "High School Confidential."
Just when it seemed the crown would be passed, news about the Killer (named for the way he murdered songs, not the deaths of his later wives) killed his own career. Not only had he married a 13-year-old girl, not only had he never divorced his previous wife but the dewy bride was...his blood cousin!
Even rebellious rockers in the '50s found incest and bigamy hard to swallow, and the rowdy sound of Jerry Lee's 88 keys was overtaken by the pitter-patter of his fans' retreat.
He was touring England at the time, and every date was canceled. Lewis returned home, and the halls of his American fan clubs echoed with emptiness.
He doggedly tried to revive his ravaged career, but it took a decade and a switch to country music before he could make any sort of comeback. Goodness gracious, them are some great balls of fire.