This fine collection of sides from this Rock ‘n’ Roll legend feature two dozen tracks from the six UK London label EPs titles ‘Jerry Lee Lewis No. 1’ through to ‘Jerry Lee Lewis
No. 6’ released between 1958 and 1962. The collection is further enhanced with more classic recordings from the same period that appeared on some French and Swedish Extended Play releases. All tracks were recorded for Sam Phillips’ legendary Sun Records label. Lewis’s seven-year spell with Sun Records (1956 - 1963) was the classic period of his career. It was his most prolific period that made him a rock ‘n’ roll giant.
In January 1957, he recorded a new song, the self-penned ‘End of the Road.’ It was unusual in that singers did not write their own songs at that time. Jerry was fresh in other ways, too. He not only wrote some of his own songs, he played piano. Sun Records was also the home of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash and it is said that Sam Phillips thought Jerry Lee the most talented of them all. His first UK EP featured two of his biggest rock ‘n’ roll hits ‘Great Balls Of Fire’ and the mighty fine ‘Whole Lottta Shakin’ Goin’ On’.
Jerry Lee Lewis was born in Ferriday, Louisiana on September 29th 1935. His musical influences would have straddled the likes of Hank Williams, Al Jolson and Big Joe Turner among many others of the period. He signed to Sam Phillips’s Memphis based Sun label which had launched the career of Elvis Presley two years earlier. His country style soon drifted into rock ‘n’ roll, which was to soon to become his platform for superstardom. His first U.S. Single ‘Crazy Arms’ had already been a country hit for Ray Price but Jerry Lee breathed new life into his re-interpretation. The credits on the record read ‘Jerry Lee Lewis And His Pumping Piano’. Throughout his career he was never afraid to tackle songs made famous by other artists. Many of the tracks on this collection are technically cover versions given the Jerry Lee treatment.
It was his second single ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’ with its soaring vocal and pounding boogie woogie piano that brought him international stardom. His next single ‘Great Balls Of Fire’ released in the later half of 1957, fared even better reaching No. 2 in the US and No. 1 here in the Britain. Sales of the record were helped by Lewis’ performance of the song in ‘Jamboree’, a film featuring fellow rock ‘n’ rollers Fats Domino, Carl Perkins and Charlie Gracie. After two rock ‘n’ roll classics under his belt the success continued with ‘Breathless’ another top ten hit in the US and Britain. Next came ‘High School Confidential’ release May 1958, which also marked Jerry Lee’s first visit to England. Two weeks after the tour had begun Lewis flew home after the newspapers published details that his third marriage was to a thirteen-year-old cousin and daughter of Jerry Lee’s road band guitarist. His fall from grace coincided with the release of his first album, which provided all the tracks for his first three London EP releases.
Lewis remained with the Sun label until 1963. He recorded rock ‘n’ roll originals, covered Chuck Berry and Little Richard hits and offered his own interpretations of rhythm and blues numbers, he came closest to recapturing his early success with a version of Ray Charles’ ‘What’d I Say’ a US top 30. He continued to have chart success in Britain with ‘Lovin’ Up A Storm’ (1959) and ‘What Did Say’ which prompted London Records to release a further three EPs volume 4 to 6 which appeared in quick succession.
The combination of the U.K. Released EP’s with some classic recordings from the same period 1958 - 1962 which appeared on EPs from Europe make this a strong collection of compelling rock ‘n’ roll from one of it’s greatest exponents. Lewis returned to the music of his youth in the sixties and found a new career as a country artist, scoring a hit with 1968’s ‘Another Place, Another Time.’ He recorded several country albums over the next few years. Never leaving rock ‘n’ roll completely and in 1973, he had album chart success with ‘The Session’ revisiting some of his older songs as well as the works of Chuck Berry and John Fogerty. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
A new generation of listeners got introduced to Lewis through the 1989 biopic ‘Great Balls of Fire’, when actor Dennis Quaid played Lewis and there was a strong resurgence
in his rock & roll career and music.