169 January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-12 mono

Inside this presentation box: 12 individually sleeved LPs containing 209 recordings interspersed with many extracts of hokum and mayhem from the original Sun recording sessions; each LP sleeve bearing a detailed track-by-track analysis of the enclosed recordings. A 36-page, LP-size booklet containing introduction by Sam C. Phillips; overview of Jerry's career during The Sun Years; analysis of The Sun Sound; detailed session discography of Jerry's Sun recordings with liner notes by Martin Hawkins; photos, cuttings and memorabilia.

The whole comprising a definitive compilation of the vital recordings of a vital man: The Killer - Jerry Lee Lewis.
The 209 recordings in this set are coded on this box as follows:

A: 57 tracks (27%) - As mastered and first issued between 1956-1965 by Sam C. Phillips' original Sun Records Co.
B: 7 tracks (3,5%) - Previously unissued raw tracks of recordings that were issued on original Sun with overdubbed vocal/instrumental accompaniment.
C: 77 tracks (37%) - First issued after the Sun catalogue was bought by Shelby S. Singleton in 1969. Many of the tracks, only previously issued in simulated stereo, are first issued here in original mono.
D: 60 tracks (28,5%) - Previously unissued alternative takes of previously issued titles.
E: 8 tracks (4%) - Previously unissued titles.


Record 1 Side 1/2 ''Dixie''
(November 1956 to January 1957)
Record 2 Side 1/2 ''Whole Lotta Shakin'''
(January/February 1957)
Record 3 Side 1/2 ''Lewis Boogie''
(Summer 1957)
Record 4 Side 1/2 ''Balls Of Fire''
(September 1957 to January 1958)
Record 5 Side 1/2 ''Good Rockin' Tonight''
(January to March 1958)
Record 6 Side 1/2 ''Wild One''
(March/April 1958)
Record 7 Side 1/2 ''Live And Let Live''
(May to November 1958)
Record 8 Side 1/2 ''It Hurt Me So''
(November 1958 to March 1959)
Record 9 Side 1/2 ''The Guilty One''
(March 1959 to January 1960)
Record 10 Side 1/2 ''What'd I Say''
(January 1960 to February 1961)
Record 11 Side 1/2 ''Won't Happen With Me''
(June 1961 to June 1962)
Record 12 Side 1/2 ''Can't Seem To Say Goodbye''
(June 1962 to August 1963)

For Biography of Jerry Lee Lewis see: > The Sun Biographies <
Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


Jerry Lee Lewis has superb talent. In my estimation he is one of the greats of his style that we have going now or ever have had. Unfortunately, Since he left Sun I don't think Jerry has been able to really achieve product-wise what he could have done. There's very few people that have the ability to take a great artist like Jerry and really maximise the man's versatility and ability in a recording session. I just believe that I was one person who could do that.

It has an awful lot to do with the atmosphere under which the artist is working. This is generally true of any artist, but Jerry, particularly, is a very informal person and the conditions have to be right. You have to have a good song of course, but atmosphere is nearly everything else. Jerry has got to know that the people around him, the people responsible for the session, even the people that do the mixing, understand him. He has such spontaneity. Great artists, all of them, almost 50% of something good they might do happens because of an almost instant reaction to what is taking place around them.

There is so much psychology in dealing with artists - even artists with less talent than Jerry. I have always felt this. If you don't know what you are doing with people and don't know them individually - their strong and weak points both psychologically and musically - if you don't care about those things you are bound not to get the best from them. Too many people go into a studio depending on overdubbing and covering up with too many musicians doing too damn much. They don't depend on the style and the real invincibility of a great artist like Jerry is. Everything I ever did in recording was to try to keep it simple - to always feature the person that was supposed to be featured and to try to Set up an atmosphere in a way that got the best result.

I produced most all of Jerry's sessions personally. Jack Clement produced him when I was out of town but basically I have never been one to trust too many people. Not that they don't have talent - Jack Clement certainly had great talent and ability. But I am just the kind of person that likes to lean on myself and to suffer the consequences or to find the rewards.

Generally I didn't go for overdubbing. Still don't, even if they get 94 tracks. I understand all the techniques and all the bullshit but I just don't see the spontaneity. I'm not trying to go back in time and I don't say that you shouldn't overdub the occasional instrument. Sure. I'm not against improvement or new techniques but I feel that you can have too many crutches, too many shots, too many opportunities. People get to thinking, 'Well, that track wasn't too bad but we can always bring him in again and drop the voice in here or take that instrument out there.' The result may sound a little prettier, the tonal quality may be good, but an awful lot Of the essence is gone. And that's not music.

Today I see and hear too much of the lack of the real soul that has to come with knowing 'This is it.' I like the originals, I like things that I know are there because somebody feels, 'I can do it. It might take one take, or four, or whatever, but I can do it myself, right there and now. '

Why didn't I release a lot of these recordings at the time, on albums? For one thing, in those days albums weren't selling all that much. But beyond that I was always very cautious about putting out a lot of product on my artists simply to ensure a certain level of income. I think that opportunity has been abused, always has, by the major record companies and certain of the other labels. You only have to look at some of the crap that they put out on Elvis Presley, just because he was in some stupid picture show or something. No regard whatsoever, in many instances, for the man' s great abilities. I think each record should be for the good of the artist's long-term career, not for short-term gain, and I didn't want to wear Jerry out with an over-abundance of availability.

Also, of course, when Jerry took a beating from the press it would have been stupid to try to cram product down peoples' throats. Believe me, just before that happened Jerry was the hottest thing in America. The press tore him up in England over his marriage to Myra and it rebounded back home. It was a devastating, unnecessary, stupid damn thing but what could we do about it? I think Jerry' s innocence back then - and his trying to be open and friendly and engaging with the press - it backfired. They scalped him, there's no question about it. It turned out to be a very ghastly and deadly thing. so many people wanted to do in rhythm 'n' blues and rock 'n' roll, this is just what they were looking for - to point the finger of scorn at a rocker and say, 'I told you so; rockers are no good. ' 'Il-ney picked on the first one they could. I don't say the press were entirely at fault but there was so much made of it... it should never have played a role of such significance in Jerry's life.

The people that really know and feel what this man is all about have kept with him through his trials and tribulations and believed in him and his great ability. This has kept him alive and in front of the public. When you have somebody like that, with the talent that he has, it's really a very good thing when a company like Charly Records sees the worthwhileness of showcasing such an extensive and important part of his story. These recordings are the foundation that will enable Jerry Lee Lewis to continue to be recognised as a super superstar.

Sam C. Phillips (In phone conversation with Martin Hawkins, October 9, 1982)


"Sometimes in music circles they like to. speculate how giant a star Jerry Lee Lewis might have been if only he'd had a Colonel Parker to manage him. But then they realize, 'No, that could never have been. The Killer isn't manageable'. "
                                                                                                     -Jack Perkins, NBC News

"Course, I was born feet first; come out jumpin'; been jumpin' ever since.....".

'I been up, No. 1 on every chart. I been down, down to the rock bottom. Built myself back up again. Now I couldn't care less. Money doesn't mean nothin' to me, that ain't where it's at. I'd rather have friendship. People are crazy. Money, money, money. Cut your thro'at for cents. I came in this world naked and I'll go out naked, I hope.....".

"I got the prettiest place anywhere 'round Memphis. I got some horses I never ride, a ten cre lake I never fish in, nine motorcycles I never crack up, 25 cars I never drive. Wasted money. Just something to try to find something to do. And every time I turn around there's a wife. Thank God.....''.

'I don't regret any of my marriages. I don't think. Yeah I do, I wish I'd never got married in the first place. I should have never gotten married. Naw, I should have. If I had to do it over I'd do just the same thing. I love it. They were good people. It just didn't work out. ....''.

"You 're supposed to marry 'and settle down, I guess. Raise a family and sit by the fireplace, chew tobacco and spit and watch TV and sit there and be an idiot. But me, I'm a rock 'n' roller. Play my piano and sing and make love to the best looking women I can find and drink good, good whiskey".

"Never seen a woman yet that I didn't love. There's nothing like a woman. If God made anything better he
kept it for himself. 'Love they neighbour as thyself.' I'm doing the best I can....."

"I've been very successful even though I have a lot of things people have said was wrong. I don't know, I'm
sure it was. Nobody's perfect. But I've never really hurt anybody. All I have done is worked all my life. I've had a lot tragedy in my family and I've got that to live with. I'm Dutch, Indian, English; that's a helluva mixture, isn't it? I think they all come out of me in different ways.....''

"It is appointed once for every man to die. And after death, the judgement. And you can believe that, brother.
You gonna be judged according to the deeds you done whether you like it or not. I used to be a good preacher, Assembly of God, but I'm just a little too weak. I couldn't quite make it. But I'm man enough to admit it.....".

"I believe in being truthful. I don't believe in conning people. I don't believe in saying something that's not
right. Tell it like it is. Be what you are, man. Don't give me no phoney person....''.

"When they look back on me I want 'em to remember me not for all my wives, although I've had a few, and certainly not for any mansions or high livin' or the I made and spent. I want 'em to remember me simply for my music.....".

"As long as they gimme a piano I'll be out there. They try to take that away, I'm gonna kick some ass''.


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-1 mono

It was November 1956. No-one can remember the precise day although the consensus seems to be that it was the 15th or the 22nd. After an audition, Jerry Lee Lewis was back in the Sun studio armed with a new song and a bunch of old favourites. Ahead of time, Jack Clement had lined up two musicians: guitarist Roland Janes and drummer Jimmy Van Eaton. Both Janes and Van Eaton have distinct recollections of that first session.

"l had never seen or heard of Jerry Lee Lewis until that day'', recalled Janes. "l was playing a few gigs with Billy Riley and through Riley I got onto Clement's list. He just called me 'cause he figured I had spare time, not because I was the greatest player in the world. Same with Jimmy Van. We just turned up and there was Lewis with J.W. Brown who was kinda like his manager. J.W. was all set to play but truthfully he was only learning and couldn't play shit at that time. Jerry Lee just sat down and we worked on some songs. Mostly they were country standards or familiar things that he could sing and we could follow and help out with. But even then Jerry was a stylist. He knew what he wanted to do with a song. He wanted to set the world on fire!"

Van Eaton fills in another detail from that first session. "Jack Clement asked me to come in and see what Jerry had. What he had, that first time, was a goatee, which I thought was strange."

This first album takes us from Jerry's first official session to the end of the year. By that point, Jerry's direction was still unclear. Was he being aimed at the country market or was there a possibility of crossover into the pop market? These tracks don't provide a clear answer. The first single was clearly aimed at both markets. Ironically, Jerry's professional recording career began with ''End Of The Road''.

Record 1 Side 1 ''Dixie'' (November 1956 to January 1957)
1.1 - End Of The Road (A) (Original Sun 259)
1.2 - Crazy Arms (A) (Original Sun 259)
1.3 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (D) (Previously Unissued)
1.4 - Born To Lose (C) (Not Originally Issued)
1.5 - Tomorrow Night (C) (Not Originally Issued)
1.6 - Silver Threads (Amongst The Gold) (C) (Not Originally Issued)
1.7 - I'm Throwing Rice (C) (Not Originally Issued)
1.8 - I Love You So Much It Hurts (C) (Not Originally Issued)
1.9 - Deep Elm Blues (C) (Not Originally Issued)
Original Sun Recordings

1.1 - End Of The Road (A)
(Jerry Lee Lewis) > Sun 259-B <

''End Of The Road'' was, as Billboard said, a "honey, right in the rhythm groove". It gave us everything we might expect from Jerry in the immediate future: the pounding piano supported by Van Eaton's empathetic drumming, a brief guitar solo, hugely confident vocals and plenty of tape echo in an otherwise spartan production. It was a magic formula.

Any DJ playing that song back around the end of '56 might have figured that this talented pianist and singer was also a songwriter. In fact, Jerry never again wrote as fully developed a song as this. He remained one of the few Sun rockabillies who depended on other writers for material.

1.2 - Crazy Arms (A)
(Ralph Mooney-Charles Seals) > Sun 259-A < 

Jerry's first ''A'' side for Sun was a delightful way to meet him. Only piano and drums are present, which-allowed lots of room for skillful playing on both instruments. For example, right at the top, the line "that old storm" is given considerable punch by Jimmy Van Eaton's drumming. Likewise, the first time Jerry sings "Not mine, not mine, not mine", Van Eaton kicks us right back to attention just as Jerry's voice trails away. The drums are so busy during the piano solo that it might almost be described as a drum solo, except that Van Eaton just remains supportive of Jerry at all times.

''Crazy Arms'' was not a hit (although in Ray Price's hands it became the number 1 country record of 1956). However, Jerry's version did generate some action in some markets and, as Van Eaton said, "Jerry was able to get himself established with a song that was already popular by someone else''.

The single guitar note at the end of the record has confused many listeners, but that really is all the guitar there is. It was struck by Billy Riley on a guitar laying on the floor near the toilet. Not real using that the tape was rolling, Riley learned that if you step out to the can for a couple of minutes you risk missing a final take at 706.

1.3 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (D)
(Gene Autry) (Previously Unissued)

One of the country standards long rumoured to have been recorded at Jerry's first session was ''You're The Only Star'', a hit for Gene Autry in 1938. At last, the tape has been unearthed and here are Jerry, Jimmy and Roland working out a rockabilly arrangement. The first take, which is not included in this set, was rather hesitant but the trio move into this take more positively and Jerry's piano really begins to pump midway through while he embellishes the song with some falsetto vocals. Roland takes a guitar solo that cannot have been rehearsed but overall this is an illuminating glimpse of Jerry's studio trio learning to work together.

1.4 - Born To Lose (C)
(Frankie Brown) (Not Originally Issued)

This song was written during the early years of World War Il by Ted Daffan. When the ban on record production ended in 1943 Daffan had so many songs saved up that he copyrighted some under the name ''Frankie Brown'', which was based on his mother's maiden name. Daffan's original quickly became a country standard.

Thirteen years later, Jerry gave it a mid-tempo treatment aided by some fine drumming from Jimmy Van Eaton. In place of his usual straight-ahead style, Van Eaton opts for a percussive gimmick during the piano solo when he goes off the cymbals altogether. Unfortunately, a rather awkward moment occurs at the start of rol and Janes' guitar solo. He doesn't come in quickly enough and things get rather out of meter for a spell although Roland finally contributes quite a mellow, rather steel-guitarish solo. Perhaps distracted by this temporary setback, Jerry fluffs the lyrics following the solo (not that Jerry ever needed an excuse to forget a lyric). In typical fashion, however, his fertile mind manages to generate some new lyrics on the spot.

1.5 - Tomorrow Night (C)
(Sam Coslow-Will Grosz) (Not Originally Issued)

This song was probably learned by Jerry back in the Louisiana and Mississippi nightclubs. It had been recorded by several blues singers, most successfully by Lonnie Johnson in 1947. It was in the slow lane compared with much rhythm and blues of the period and Jerry tried adapting it into a country ballad.

Considering the impressive outcome of many of the recordings made at Jerry's early, often impromptu, sessions, there had to be some experiments that didn't work and Tomorrow Night'' is one of them. The track simply doesn't come together. There are lyric fluffs galore and the arrangement has holes big enough to parade a bull elephant through. Jerry's playing degenerates almost to the level of cocktail piano and Jimmy Van Eaton's drumming is as leaden as he ever got. It's hard to say whether the project would have worked eventually if the musicians had stayed with it. Perhaps it's eloquent that no alternative takes exist.

Comparisons with versions by Charlie Rich, Joe Turner and even Presley's overdubbed Sun demo are inevitable, Jerry doesn't come off well in any of these comparisons but, of course, his version was never meant for release.

1.6 - Silver Threads (Amongst The Gold) (C)
(Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

A gem of over-sentimentality, this was written by Eben E. Rexford (with music by Hart Pease Danks) in 1873. The song was a tribute to Rexford's wife, whom he divorced the following year. There's no telling where Jerry Lee heard the song. It was probably a long time ago because he sings only a fraction of the original lyric. Opening lines like "Darling I'm growing old" are not the lyrical stuff of which rock and roll songs are made. Nevertheless, Jerry's vocal is energetic and the song has a nice shuffle rhythm, a tempo at which Van Eaton excelled. Roland seems to be in his element here and contributes an appropriately countryish solo. The song offers a glimpse into Jerry's complex musical heritage and the way in which he reinterpreted it.

1.7 - I'm Throwing Rice (C)
(Steve Nelson-Ed Nelson-Eddy Arnold) (Not Originally Issued)

Jerry experimented with so many familiar country tunes during his early sessions that Sun could almost have put together an album called ''Jerry Lee Sings Weepers in Waltz Time''. If they had, this track would have kicked off Side 1. It's one of that special genre that actually uses the rhyme ''gal'' and ''pal'' with a perfectly straight face. Jerry's piano and Van Eaton's drumming manage to make things credible, however. Few artists would have tried to resurrect this Eddy Arnold gem and fewer yet would have succeeded as Jerry does. It's strange that he and Presley were symbols of the open revolt against the smooth brand of country music that Arnold pioneered in the 1940s and yet both could turn in beautiful versions of his material.

1.8 - I Love You So Much It Hurts (C)
(Floyd Tillman) (Not Originally Issued)

Continuing a theme, Jerry tried his hand at this Floyd Tillman hit from 1948. The result is not spectacular but not bad for one take. The biggest problems stem from the rather turgid tempo and the selection of key which sounds a bit too low for Jerry's vocal range. It's still impressive to hear how his piano and Jimmy Van Eaton's drumming manage to fill all that available space. At this tempo, there's plenty of space to fill.

1.9 - Deep Elm Blues (C)
(Bob Attlesey-Joe Attlesey) (Not Originally Issued)

''Deep Elem Blues'' (originally spelled ''Deep Elm Blues'') was a saga in four or five parts by the Shelton Brothers (who composed it under their real name of Attlesey). It remained a favourite with deep south audiences into the 1950s and Jerry's performance of it suggests that he was well used to playing it. There is much to like about his version, laid down on one of several undated tapes from Jerry's first couple of months with Sun.

The performances contain plenty of energy as Jerry sings about the perils of life in ''Deep Elem'' and conveys the impression that he's talking from experience. Roland takes a nice guitar break but it is totally eclipsed by Jerry's piano solo during the second half of the track. It's an absolute stunner even by the man's remarkable standards.

Record 1 Side 2 ''Dixie'' (November 1956 to January 1957)
2.1 - Hand Me Down My Walking Cane (C) (Not Originally Issued)
2.2 - The Crawdad Song (C) (Not Originally Issued)
2.3 - Dixie (C) (Not Originally Issued)
2.4 - The Marines Hymn (From The Halls Of Montezuma) (C) (Not Originally Issued)
2.5 - Goodnight Irene (D) (Previously Unissued)
2.6 - Goodnight Irene (D) (Previously Unissued)
2.7 - Will The Circle Be Unbroken (C) (Not Originally Issued)
2.8 - Old Time Religion (D) (Previously Unissued)
2.9 - When The Saints Go Marching In (B) (Previously Unissued) in this form.
Original Sun Recordings

2.1 - Hand Me Down My Walking Cane (C)
(James A. Bland) (Not Originally Issued)

Kicking off with Jerry's patented four bar piano intro, the structure of this traditional southern favourite also allows ample opportunity for piano and guitar workouts by the Killer and Roland Boy. Jerry takes some lyrical liberties which move him from the realm of the divine to more decidedly secular pursuits like "rockin' to the rhythm 'n' blues". Above all, however, it shows how he could take roots music like this (the song was composed in 1879 by James A. Bland) and transform it into an expression of his own musical personality. There's an immense spirit and energy to the recording which shows in even the smallest details (listen to the drum accenting at the start of Roland's solo). The reference to "white sport coat" in the extemporised third verse probably does not refer to Marty Robbins' hit Single from the late summer of 1957. Rather, it probably refers to Jerry's own preference for his snappy white sports coat. Nick Tosches, in his book ''Hellfire'', recounts one incident when the coat brought Jerry and his womenfolk into conflict.

2.2 - The Crawdad Song (C)
(Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

By the time the newly formed Lewis studio trio had worked their way through southern standards to ''Crawdad Song'' they had generated an infectious party atmosphere that makes up for a hastily put together performance. It is doubtful that anyone expected this recording to see daylight and indeed it didn't until Shelby Singleton searched for ballast for Jerry's ''Old Time Country Music'' album in 1969.

Perhaps Jack Clement hadn't worked out a proper mike placement for the piano but much of Jerry's right hand work sounds quite muddy and there is an awkward level change at the start of his solo. Van Eaton plays with his usual enthusiasm, throwing in occasional two bar solos. Rol and Janes' single note guitar solo is marginal , although the echo chamber comes to his rescue and nearly bails him out. Jerry's vocal is enthusiastic and good natured and takes full advantage of the studio's slapback echo.

2.3 - Dixie (C)
(Daniel Decatur Emmett) (Not Originally Issued)

This appears to have been the first instrumental Jerry recorded at Sun, or at least the first to survive on tape. What better than the unofficial Southern National Anthem?

''Dixie'' had been written in 1860 by Daniel Decatur Emmett (his sole claim to fame) for a black face minstrel show. The following year it became a rallying call for the South. When Jerry's version is good, it's very good. He manages to sound like an old player piano roll and gets in some impressive left hand work. Unfortunately, he also runs into some melody problems during the release and only just manages to recover. Jimmy Van Eaton, who seems to be the only accompanist, is indecisive about what to play on the cymbal. The tempo hovers just on the maddening point where eighth notes are too fast to sustain and anything else sounds sluggish.

2.4 - The Marines Hymn (From The Halls Of Montezuma) (C)
(Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

Either ''Dixie'' inspired the boys to further patriotic exploits or they had all just been to a John Wayne movie. ''From The Halls Of Montezuma'' (also known as ''The Marines' Hymn'') is a U.S. Marines marching song with a long history. Jerry and Jimmy Van carry on in an appropriately rousing manner. Roland decided to join-in on this instrumental and he rides his tremolo bar through a distinctly unpatriotic variation on the melody. This track was first issued without a title on Charly LP 30007 in 1974.

2.5 - Goodnight Irene (D)
(Huddie Leadbetter-John A. Lomax) (Previously Unissued)

''Goodnight Irene'' has a long history. Huddie ''Leadbelly'' Ledbetter copyrighted it in 1936 but it remained buried until the Weavers resurrected it in 1950. From that point it was covered by a slew of artists from Frank Sinatra to Moon Mullican and eventually became one of the biggest songs of the year.

This appears to be one of Jerry's first attempts at the song which eventually appeared on his first album. The tempo here is slower than we heard on that album perhaps encouraging Jerry to add a distinctive recurring right hand embellishment that was dropped for later versions. Possibly it was considered unnecessarily florid in comparison with the stark reflective nature of the lyrics. Today, it provides an interesting illustration of the way Jerry would conduct a recording session, experimenting wherever possible.

2.6 - Goodnight Irene (D)
(Huddie Ledbetter-John A. Lomax) (Previously Unissued)

The first part of this version of ''Irene'' gives us the mid-tempo shuffle that became familiar on Jerry's first album. It is interesting to hear the song without a chorus, and the Killer also has a surprise in store for us. Following the solo, the boys take Irene for a ride on the pumping piano. This tempo change has quite an impact but Sam Phillips decided, perhaps correctly, that the song works better at the slower pace. As usual, Jerry's unconscious lyric changes are fascinating. Here he substitutes the word 'cruel' for 'fool' in describing his notion.

2.7 - Will The Circle Be Unbroken (C)
(A.P. Carter-Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

The origins of this song are embedded deep in the hills. The Carter Family recorded it as ''Can The Circle Be Unbroken'' in 1935 but its sentiments date back to an even earlier time. It walks the fine line between being maudlin and heartfelt. Unlike other songs on a similar theme, such as ''Mother Ain't Dead - She Just Quit Breathin' Circle'' succeeds..

Jerry makes no attempt to rock it up, instead treating it with the reverence it deserves. Although he must have played it many times for family and friends, Jerry still sounds intense and sincere. He offers a dramatic reading that builds and sustains tension. The arrangement is highlighted by Jerry's right hand piano work and the drummer's subtle accenting on closed high hat. This relatively obscure track may seem to be a long way from Jerry's rocking soul, but it's a gem nonetheless.

2.8 - Old Time Religion (D)
(Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued)

Jerry takes us to an old time camp meeting for this track. Not a polished recording, ''Old Time Religion'' is arguably just a rough demo. Nevertheless, it's a driving performance. When Jerry sings about religion, you can bet he means it. He even adds 'heartfelt' to the list of adjectives in the original lyric. There's plenty of falsetto excitement here and some squeals of encouragement are audible in the background. Roland Janes contributes a Merle Travis-like solo. It gives a nice balance to the otherwise torrid proceedings, although Roland, who was probably taken by surprise, is a bit slow on the draw in starting his solo.

2.9 - When The Saints Go Marching In (B)
(Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued) in this form.

Like many of the songs on this album, ''Saints'' has a long history. It's an old New Orleans marching tune with lyrics that belong to a nineteenth century poem by Sterling Brown called ''When De Saints Go Ma'chin' Home''.

This is Jerry's original vocal and instrumental track which was later overdubbed with a chorus for issue on his first album. Sam Phillips said in the liner notes to Sun LP 1230 "only a Southerner who has attended... revival type meetings can fully appreciate the quality of fervor and abandon that Jerry Lee gives this selection''. Certainly, it is impossible to describe this track without the word 'fervor' but it is also true that the sheer joy in Jerry's vocal and piano work doesn't require a Southern baptist heritage to appreciate. 25 years after it was recorded, the "motive drive of ''Saints'' is as much alive as ever. This remains one of Jerry's most powerful performances. Even the vocal chorus, usually a lethal weapon in Jack Clement's hands, failed to diminish the fire of the LP version.

''Saints'' is an even more exciting record when the chorus is absent. For the first time we hear just how tautly accented and rhythmic everyone's performance is. It shows in Jerry's vocal ("When-a the Saints-a...") and in Roland Janes' beautifully conceived guitar counterpoint against the vocal and piano. Jerry's solo is a powerhouse and Roland, while playing minimally throughout, does some fine accenting during the final choruses. By the end of the record, even Roland has been invaded by the Holy Ghost as he provides a final flurry on the guitar.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce. 

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-2 mono

This second album takes us through the few short months at the beginning of 1957 when Sam Phillips was wondering how to make the best of his new acquisition. Without much in the way of original material, Jerry was starting to dig into his prodigious memory in the hope of finding his next single. The eventual choice, ''Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On'', was even tried and rejected at one session. Perhaps the response it garnered at Jerry's personal appearances encouraged him to try it one more time. The rest of the sessions show Jerry's distinct preference for vintage country material, from cowboy laments to western swing to heartrending hillbilly. There were even a couple of abortive adventures into the world of pop ballads. However, after the final successful attempt to cut ''Shakin'', there was no doubt about the direction in which Jerry was heading.

Record 2 Side 3 ''Whole Lotta Shakin''' (January/February 1957)
3.1 - Turn Around (A) (Original Sun EPA 107)
3.2 - That Lucky Old Sun (C) (Not Originally Issued)
3.3 - I Love You Because (D) (Previously Unissued)
3.4 - I Can't Help It (C) (Not Originally Issued)
3.5 - Cold Cold Heart (D) (Previously Unissued)
3.6 - Shame On You (C) (Not Originally Issued)
3.7 - I'll Keep On Loving You (C) (Not Originally Issued)
3.8 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (C) (Not Originally Issued)
3.9 - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (D) (Previously Unissued)
Original Sun Recording

3.1 - Turn Around (A)
(Carl Perkins) (Original Sun EPA 107)

The circumstances surrounding the recording of this song are unclear. ''Turn Around'' appears to have been a favourite song of Jerry's during the period around Christmas 1956. At that time he was touring with its composer, Carl Perkins, and played on a couple of memorable studio sessions with him. It has been suggested that Jerry cut the song during a Perkins session with Carl on guitar and W.S. Holland on drums but there is no strong evidence for this. Rather, aural evidence points almost certainly to Roland Janes and Jimmy Van Eaton.

Jerry's performance follows Carl's original quite closely and it builds in intensity as the song progresses. The drummer lays down a solid shuffle rhythm and the guitarist provides an incessant hillbilly fill around Jerry's vocal. The piano work is rock steady and Jerry's left hand is well recorded as it weaves around the simple chord changes. The recording was considered good enough to issue on Jerry's first EP in October 1957.

3.2 - That Lucky Old Sun (C)
(Gillespie-Smith) Not Originally Issued)

Like ''Turn Around'', this track cannot be precisely dated. Almost certainly, though, it is the earliest unaccompanied performance by Jerry at 706 Union to survive on tape. The track bears close attention. It shows both the strengths and weaknesses of Jerry's style. He has taken on a song that might have been more appropriate for a performer with a stronger feeling for pop ballads, such as Charlie Rich. That Jerry would even attempt such material, unaccompanied to boot, bespeaks his confidence as a musician. It probably helped that neither he nor the engineer ever expected this recording to see the light of day. In a sense, we're eavesdropping at a very private party. We can detect Jerry's tendency to get a bit mawkishly sentimental at times, perhaps more on piano than vocal , but we can also hear the abiding drive and bravado of his music.

3.3 - I Love You Because (D)
(Leon Payne) (Previously Unissued)

Like Elvis before him, Jerry recorded this classic early in his association with Sun. ''I Love You Because'' would have been a firm jukebox favourite back in Louisiana in the years before Jerry left for points north. It was written in 1949 by Leon Payne, a blind singer from Alba, Texas, as a tribute to Myrtie, his wife of many years.

Jerry takes the song at a dangerously slow pace, accompanied only by a drummer. Unfortunately, Jerry falls into the trap of dwelling on the 4-4 minor chord change which emphasises the sentimentality in the song. Likewise, the piano solo reflects some of the corniest influences in Jerry's playing. Nevertheless, the outcome is a sincere interpretation of a song that was obviously one of Jerry's favourites. He recorded it again in 1961 at a faster tempo but neither version was released during his stay at Sun.

3.4 - I Can't Help (If I'm Still In Love With You) It (C)
(Hank Williams) (Not Originally Issued)

Like ''I Love You Because'', ''I Can't Help It'' remained in the can until recently, first appearing on a Dutch bootleg in the mid 1970s. Jerry works the song emotionally on vocal and piano, taking the country standard at a fairly slow tempo. The electric guitar plays a strong bass line, not unlike a vintage Fats Domino arrangement. Jerry is wearing his heart on his sleeve for this cut and his version has much of the artless sincerity of Hank Williams' original.

3.5 - Cold Cold Heart (D)
(Hank Williams) (Previously Unissued)

This was reportedly Hank Williams' favourite song. He wrote it in 1951 after visiting Miss Audrey in hospital. They argued and she refused to speak to him so Hank wrote the song on the way back from the hospital. The song was also a massive pop hit for Tony Bennett but Jerry takes it back to its hillbilly roots.

As with ''I Love You Because'', Jerry returned to ''Cold, Cold Heart'' in 1961. Here, four years earlier, he turns in a fairly slow, introspective reading of the classic weeper. Like the issued version, this track features an expressive, dramatic vocal. The prominent bass line works well. However, there are several tempo stops throughout which sound inappropriate. They wrongly suggest that we're about to hear either a 40 second take or an impending tempo change, neither of which is the case.

3.6 - Shame On You (C)
(Red Foley-Lawrence Welk) (Not Originally Issued)

''Shame On You'' is the perfect illustration of Jerry's penchant for rocking up country material from the 1940s. It is a fine reworking of a hit song from 1945, best known through the western swing version by Spade Cooley, which was Billboard's number 1 country hit of the year.

There is some driving drumwork and extremely fine accenting which gives the song an incessant energy level. Music like this loses nothing in the 25 years since it was recorded. It maintains its ability to swing, while retaining its essential purity, innocence and honesty. Like so much of the material in this anthology, ''Shame On You'' was probably a spontaneous recording, dashed off in one take. Although we're grateful that these experiments were preserved, perhaps with one more take ''Shame On You'' could have become a true classic in Jerry's hands.

3.7 - I'll Keep On Loving You (C)
(Floyd Tillman) (Not Originally Issued)

Previously issued in 1970 as ''If The Worlds Keeps On Turning'', this is actually as much as Jerry can remember of Floyd Tillman's 1952 recording ''I'll Still Be Loving You''. It was not chart material, perhaps, but it was a fine example of Jerry's little studio combo improvising on an old favourite. There is a driving sound to the recording. Jimmy Van Eaton really propels things along and Jerry and Roland both acquit themselves well.

3.8 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) ©
(Gene Autry) (Not Originally Issued)

This track, issued for the first time in 1970, might never have caused much stir in the charts if it had been released in 1957. Nevertheless it is a good example of Jerry's recording outfit at its tight, yet informal, best. Electric bass was drafted in for this session and it really drives the cut. Also noticeable is some fine supportive drumming behind Jerry's piano and vocal. The cut is taken at a shuffle tempo with no sense of the drag that marred some of the earlier attempts to record this song.

3.9 - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (D)
(Dave Williams/Sunny David) (Previously Unissued)

Here is a small slice of history in the making. The first taped attempt by Jerry to record the song that made him famous. This is the first of four takes that survive from the session prior to the famous "one take" cutting of the hit version.

All in all, this take is not bad. In fact it would have been just fine if we hadn't been conditioned by the later cut. A cool quarter of a century later this has as much curiosity value as excitement. Jerry's vocal is adequate but nowhere near as ballsy or adventurous as the performance he later developed. The drumwork is competent but little more, possibly because Jimmy Van Eaton was not present when Jerry introduced the song into his stage routine. The presence of an electric bass, missing on the hit version, is no help. J.W. Brown had a tendency to stay in the 4-chord after the band had returned to the 1-chord. It's a catchy gimmick that quickly becomes grating. Roland contributes one of his best solos but overall the decision to record the song again was undoubtedly correct.

Record 2 Side 4 ''Whole Lotta Shakin''' (January/February 1957)
4.1 - Ole Pal Of Yesterday (D) (Previously Unissued)
4.2 - It'll Be Me (D) (Previously Unissued)
4.3 - Pumpin' Piano Rock (C) (Not Originally Issued)
4.4 - You Win Again (D) (Previously Unissued)
4.5 - Love Letters In The Sand (E) (Previously Unissued)
4.6 - Little Green Valley (D) (Previously Unissued)
4.7 - It'll Be Me (D) (Previously Unissued)
4.8 - It'll Be Me (A) (Original Sun 267)
4.9 - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (A) (Original Sun 267)
Original Sun Recordings

4.1 - Ole Pal Of Yesterday (D)
(Previously Unissued)

''Ole Pal'' appears to be the first item recorded at a session sometime in February 1957 from which Jerry's second single emerged. This previously unissued take of the 1930s favourite by Gene Autry is a marvellously driving performance. The piano intro and the drum closing resemble those used on ''Crazy Arms'' and show once again the rapport that Jimmy and Jerry had developed in a remarkably short time. Like much of Jerry's early work this could easily have been a two instrument recording. Roland Janes' guitar makes a very minimal contribution and is barely audible. Like many of his early recordings, Jerry gains confidence as the song progresses and the last verse is impeccable as the vocal soars over the driving drums and piano. It's hard to imagine two musicians in better communication, generating more music. They just don't make records like this anymore.

4.2 - It'll Be Me (D)
(Jack Clement) (Previously Unissued)

This is the first surviving tape of Jerry attempting the song which Sam Phillips planned to issue as his second ''A'' side. Written as a novelty rocker by engineer Jack Clement, allegedly while sitting on the toilet, ''It'll Be Me'' would certainly have made a saleable top side once Clement had substituted "sugar bowl" for "toilet bowl".

This performance is obviously an attempt to learn the song as Jerry's vocal goes out of tune struggling to find the correct phrasing. Roland contributes a hesitant but interesting solo. The song would be tried in several different ways before a release emerged.

4.3 - Pumpin' Piano Rock (C)
(Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

Everyone needed an identity in the public's mind. Pat Boone had his white bucks, Perkins had his blue suedes and Jerry had his Pumpin' Piano. All that was needed was a theme song and here it is. ''Pumpin' Piano Rock'' was a member of that rare breed; the original Jerry Lee Lewis song. It was potentially a hit. The lyric, however, is so busy that Jerry almost seems constrained by it. Vocally he doesn't break free until he sings the relatively simple chorus. On the other hand, the piano work doesn't disappoint and he takes a really strong solo. It is interesting, and indeed regrettable, that this song was never issued on the original Sun label.

4.4 - You Win Again (D)
(Hank Williams) (Previously Unissued)

In a pumpin' mood, Jerry applied his formula to three irreverently fast takes of ''You Win Again'' . This is a solid rocking performance featuring some fine piano and drum work. Jerry's vocal is sufficiently animated to make the idea work although he infuses the song with his usual complement of lyric fluffs. Overall , this was a fine idea and deserves to be released on curiousity value alone. Few of us, however, will prefer this to the classic country version released less than a year later.

4.5 - Love Letters In The Sand (E)
(Nick Kenny-Chas Kenny-J. Fred Coots) (Previously Unissued)

Only one rough version of this standard pop weeper appears to have been attempted. It is included here because it is always interesting to hear Jerry try a different song, but this is surely a case of the material casting a pall over the proceedings. Even Jerry seems to be on automatic pilot for this one. However, he provides some comic relief when he calls "Roland boy" to a solo in the middle of such insipid material. The song itself had been kicking around since 1931 although it was left to Pat Boone to croon it to the top of the charts. Jerry recorded this version just as Boone's record was getting of the ground.

4.6 - Little Green Valley (D)
(Carson Robison) (Previously Unissued)

Having given up on ''Love Letters'', Jerry turned his attention to another pre-war favourite, ''Little Green Valley''. He takes it at an irreverently fast pace although the results are quite successful. Roland Janes contributes one of his more complex solos, a rather impressive feat considering the storming tempo. On this unissued take Jerry even manages to remember most of the words. On another take he had substituted "constellation" for "consolation". Even then he had his eyes on stardom.

4.7 - It'll Be Me (D)
(Jack Clement) (Previously Unissued)

Although clearly not polished for commercial release, this ranks as one of the most totally enjoyable alternative takes. It is prefaced with laughter from the band members at the thought of performing yet one more take at the nearly unperformable tempo. Someone actually says "You're kidding me ! " Although the take is flawed by a garbled lyric at the opening ("Well if you... Mumble, Mumble"), the vocal is actually more expressive, even jazz like, in comparison with previously released versions. In fact, the entire performance seems freer and less controlled. Jerry's almost playful reading of the song is complemented by Jimmy Van Eaton's punchy, aggressive accenting. A fine performance that we have waited too long to hear.

4.8 - It'll Be Me (A)
(Jack Clement) > Sun 267-A < 

This take, chosen for single release in April 1957, continues the deceptively fast tempo of the previous take. Jerry and Jimmy Van Eaton are playing at a relatively normal speed; the effect is produced by Roland Janes playing double time on the muted strings of his electric guitar. Jerry obviously enjoys the song and works its cartoon-like lyrics for all they're worth, trailing off into the stratosphere on lines like "Gonna look in the cities...". His piano is powerful and comes to the fore unexpectedly during the "Rocket ship on its way to Mars" line. Jimmy Van Eaton puts a definitive capper on the performance with the foot pedal on his bass drum.

4.9 - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (A)
(Dave Williams-Sunny David) > Sun 267-B < 

Following four unsuccessful attempts to get a commercial cut on ''Shakin''' at his previous session, Jerry apparently needed just one take this time around. There was no electric bass on this take but then Jerry didn't need one. There is probably no more aggressively played piano than the four opening bars of ''Whole Lotta Shakin'''. Jimmy Van Eaton follows suit by pounding away on drums and is especially forceful in the one bar fill between the first and second verses. He slams into a shuffle rhythm between snare and bass drums which shows everyone just who's in charge (at least between verses). Van Eaton's drumming is so explosive that when Jerry swings into his solo it sounds for a minute as though the drum roll will continue straight through the 12 bar break. Roland Janes' guitar is tasty but rather subdued and under-recorded. Listen, for example, to his playing after the line "We got a chicken in the barn". Fortunately, Roland comes out front during the solo when he contributes some nice bluesy work.

In retrospect, it is surprising that Jerry's leering vocal and thinly disguised sexual allusions were tolerated by middle American parents and program directors. Surely his performance of the song on the nationally televised and respected Steve Allen show helped to soften resistance. Nevertheless, the success of the song probably contributed to the very backlash that helped lay low rockers like Jerry.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-3 mono

Jerry and the folks at Sun were now faced with the problem of trying to find a follow-up to ''Whole Lotta Shakin'''. They obviously did not want Jerry to join the burgeoning ranks of rock and roll's one hit wonders and they tried many, many songs during those summer months. A couple were used for Jerry's first EP but none had the magic that foretold the sound of happy cash registers. ''Shakin''' had been an rhythm and blues song so Jerry plumbed his memory for more vintage rhythm and blues material but nothing seemed to have the impact of his first hit. Jerry even wrote a song and they tried some old favourites for which Sam held the publishing. Most of them remained unissued until the 1970s.

Record 3 Side 5 ''Lewis Boogie'' (Summer 1957)
5.1 - Lewis Boogie (D) (Previously Unissued)
5.2 - It'll Be Me (A) (Original Sun LP 1230)
5.3 - All Night Long (D) (Previously Unissued)
5.4 - Sixty Minute Man (D) (Previously Unissued)
5.5 - I Don't Love Nobody (C) (Not Originally Issued)
5.6 - My Carolina Sunshine Girl (C) (Not Originally Issued)
5.7 - Long Gone Lonesome Blues (C) (Not Originally Issued)
5.8 - You Are My Sunshine (C) (Not Originally Issued)
5.9 - Lewis Boogie (A) (Original Sun 301)
Original Sun Recordings

5.1 - Lewis Boogie (D)
(Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued)

Returning to the studio in mid 1957 after a successful period on the road promoting ''Shakin'', Jerry appears to have kicked off with one of his rare original compositions. This first, previously unissued, take of ''Lewis Boogie'' is similar to the known version and contains some seminal pounding piano.

The most notable lyrical difference is the location of Presley's saying "You ain't nothing but a hound". This preliminary version has Elvis working Natchez, Mississippi. Apparently, he didn't get to Memphis until the next version. There are other differences. When Jerry offers to do a '"little boogie" it's only on "2this piano" and the line sounds naked without '"this here piano". When it's Roland's turn to play he offers a solo that doesn't quite match the excitement in Jerry's shouts of encouragement. Overall , this Song still needed a little more work before it could become a candidate for release.

5.2 - It'll Be Me (A)
(Jack Clement) (Original Sun LP 1230)

In a novel piece of merchandising, Sam Phillips chose to release this alternative version of ''It'll Be Me'' on Jerry's first LP, despite the fact that there were over one million copies of the original circulating on the flipside of ''Shakin'''.

This is quite a different approach to the song and although it's a much gutsier piece of music it doesn't do equal justice to Jack Clement's lyric. The introduction is quite grabby and probably served as the inspiration for the intro to Ray Smith's later Sun recording of ''Right Behind You Baby''. The whole performance is really a showcase for Jimmy Van Eaton's drumming, which keeps jumping out and freeing the song from an otherwise leaden tempo.

5.3 - All Night Long (D)
(Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued)

With ''Whole Lotta Shakin''' still on the charts and a follow-up urgently required, this session was also devoted to the first of many attempts by Jerry to conjure another winner from the recesses of his memory. Sam Phillips obviously took the view that Jerry could probably repeat his phenomenal success if he just sat at the piano long enough.

Although it stayed in the can for many years, ''All Night Long'' is a good example of what Sam was seeking. It's a collection of verses from half remembered blues and country tunes, many of which had been recorded as ''All Night Long'' by a variety of western swing bands throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

This alternative take is a solid driving performance, in no way inferior to the version issued in 1974 on "Rocking And Free''. Jerry repeats the intro he used on ''Lewis Boogie'' and sings the rather busy lyric to a pounding rhythm and insistent drum work. Roland contributes some strong support with muted string work and his solo which begins in a rather countryish manner becomes appropriately bluesy as it develops.

5.4 - Sixty Minute Man (D)
(Rose Marks-Billy Ward) (Previously Unissued)

In some respects this might have been a good follow-up to ''Shakin'''. However, Sam Phillips judged that this revival of the Dominoes' rhythm and blues smash of 1951 would have had a hard time getting on the radio. What Jerry did out behind his barn (or how long he took doing it) was nobody's business. What we have, then, is an unpolished practice tape with plenty of excitement but lyrics so uncompromisingly dirty it was never going to become a 45 release.

5.5 - I Don't Love Nobody (C)
(Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

This was not a serious contender for single release back in 1957 but it's a jumping version of the old timey standard, emphasising Jerry's ability to pump new life into these old favourites. Jerry Lee generates the life and humour by trading 2 bar solos with Roland Janes and telegraphing them with announcements like '"Now it's your turn". This might have been a powerful album track but remained unissued until the 1970s.

5.6 - My Carolina Sunshine Girl (C)
(Jimmie Rodgers) (Not Originally issued)

The old sunshine girl of the 1930s might have had a few problems recognising herself 20 years later. Although the old they chord changes are a little unsettling at times, Jerry turns in a fine performance and offers a tense and emotional vocal, using falsetto to good effect. Van Eaton's drum work sounds typically driving and full as it comes through the slapback echo machine at 706 Union. Roland makes almost no contribution to the overall sound although his guitar fill at the end emphasizes the loose and spontaneous nature of this performance.

5.7 - Long Gone Lonesome Blues (C)
(Hank Williams) (Not Originally Issued)

Hank WiIliams and Vic McAlpin reportedly cooked this song up on a fishing trip back in 1949. It is by no means the strongest of Jerry's interpretations of Hank's material but it is probably the one and only take, nothing more than a studio jam. There's a fine, rather echoey vocal and some driving piano work by Jerry during the solo, Roland's contribution is a little unfocussed but Jerry and Jimmy Van Eaton display their patented intuitive ability to play well together.

5.8 - You Are My Sunshine (C)
(Jimmie Davis) (Not Originally Issued)

One Of the biggest hits of 1941, this was probably the first country Song to cross over into the pop arena with major success. Jerry's performance Of Governor Jimmie Davis's theme song was not uncovered until the '70s. It was Jerry's cousin, Carl McVoy, who enjoyed the hit with the song in 1958.

The lyrics do not easily lend themselves to a rocking interpretation. Jerry and Jimmy Van Eaton seem to have to force the rhythm, although they turn in a fine pumping performance. Sam Phillips was probably correct to overlook this one when it came time for Jerry's first album.

5.9 - Lewis Boogie (A)
(Jerry Lee Lewis) > Sun 301-B < 

The drive, energy and enthusiasm of this track are simply overwhelming. This version shows that Jerry had done his homework and tightened up the demo version featured at the start of this side. The song itself is a fine piece of egotism. A song for Jerry, by Jerry and about Jerry.

The opening is lifted from the works of the boogie woogie giants. There's not much originality anywhere but it doesn't matter. ''Boogie Woogie'' is a limited style at best and its success usually depends on the drive and attack of the pianist. In that respect Jerry comes storming through. It's his record from the first bar and the energy level never lets up.

In June 1958 Sun announced that this track would be titled ''Jerry's Boogie'' but it was already rolling off the presses by then so it was probably a memory lapse on someone's part.

Record 3 Side 6 ''Lewis Boogie'' (Summer 1957)
6.1 - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (C) (Not Originally Issued)
6.2 - Honey Hush (C) (Not Originally Issued)
6.3 - Singing The Blues (C) (Not Originally Issued)
6.4 - Rockin' With Red (E)
6.5 - Matchbox (B)
6.6 - Matchbox (D)
6.7 - Ubangi Stomp (A)
6.8 - Rock 'N' Roll Ruby (C) (Not Originally Issued)
6.9 - So Long I'm Gone (C) (Not Originally Issued)
Original Sun Recordings

6.1 - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (C)
(Stick McGhee-J. Mayo Williams) (Not Originally Issued)

Another song from the late 1940s is dressed up fit to kill. This time its ''Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee'' which began life as a U.S. Navy song with unprintable lyrics. It was first successfully adapted for commercial release in 1947 by bluesman Granville 'Stick' McGhee but not before the lyrics had been cleaned up by the ''song doctor'' J. Mayo Williams, owner of Harlem Records for whom McGhee recorded.

Jerry's four bar intro to this track is a deft stroke Of genius. He tears through McGhee's original at a breakneck pace. His first solo is a model of classic boogie woogie piano. Roland also manages to stay with the pace with some fine single note work during his guitar solo. Except for the song's theme (getting sloppy drunk and loving it), this track was clean and driving enough to have been a candidate for single release.

6.2 - Honey Hush (C)
(Lou Willie Turner) Not Originally Issued)

Joe Turner's blues rocker from 1953 about his prattling girlfriend is taken for a reverent ride by Jerry. His left hand is solid throughout although his first solo is curiously unaffecting, and almost discordant. Roland's solo is more upfront and works decidedly better. Jerry's post "Hi-yo Silver" solo works better because of some exciting drum accenting.

6.3 - Singing The Blues (C)
(Melvin Endsley) (Not Originally Issued)

Occasionally there's trouble, even in Paradise. ''Singing The Blues'' is one idea that didn't come together. Jerry's vocal phrasing follows Marty Robbins' version of this multiple hit but somehow it remains a little ragged and uncertain. He stops unnecessarily after the first verse and plays right through the stop before the guitar solo. Nobody seemed to be on their mark for this one. Even the near legendary rapport that existed between Jerry and Roland Janes failed to shine. There was an obvious choice point at the fourth bar of the guitar solo where Jerry and Roland go their separate ways, leaving things unresolved. Fortunately, Jerry redeems the solo by playing some nice piano during the second half. This time around, the changes seem to have been agreed upon.

There was certainly nothing wrong with the song itself. It was one of the biggest hits of 1956, written by Melvin Endsley, a crippled polio victim from Heber Springs, Arkansas. He pitched the song to Marty Robbins backstage at the Opry and went on to write songs for many artists including Janis Martin and Andy Williams.

6.4 - Rockin' With Red (E)
(Willie L. Perryman) Previously Unissued)

This single take of ''Rockin' With Red'' appears to have been the first track recorded at a session in mid 1957. The date yielded two tracks for Jerry's first LP and two other titles all culled from the Sun publishing catalogues. According to Sam Phillips' handwritten note in the tape box, all five titles were originally considered for album release but Sam eventually wrote "mediocre" against this one.

25 years later the listener must agree with Sam that this is not the place to come for new ideas, but it sounds like a fine place to come for some unfussy rocking blues. Everyone seems to be in shape although some of the playing is a little ragged around the edges. In particular, Roland plays some odd notes against the intro as well as at the top of his own solo. Nevertheless, the track burns right along.

The song itself was a jump blues recorded by Willie Perryman (also known as Piano Red and Dr. Feelgood) in 1950. It quickly appeared in many artists' repertoires and Jerry might have picked it up anywhere. It often appeared as ''She Sure Can Rock Me'' (as by Jerry's mentor Roy Hall). Even Little Richard had a shot at it as ''She Knows How To Rock''.

6.5 - Matchbox (B)
(Carl Perkins) Previously Unissued) in this form.

Moving into the Sun catalogue for his material. Jerry reeled off two different versions of this old blues that had recently been adapted into a rockabilly hit by Carl Perkins.

This take is actually the vocal and instrumental performance that appeared on Jerry's first album. This is how it sounded before Jack Clement overdubbed the vocal chorus and handclapping. Jerry kicks off by responding to an off-mike suggestion by saying "Let me see if I know the words to that one. I think I do". At the end, he asks "How was that''?, a phrase that was plainly audible on the first Sun album and emphasised the spontaneous nature of the performance.

This laid-back yet deeply intense track is a gem. If they had spent six hours planning the arrangement it is doubtful whether it could have worked any better. Jerry pounds away with his right hand and the bass slides against it. It's surprising that anyone saw fit to dub a chorus onto this performance. It hardly needed adorning and, in fact, Roland's sticky guitar figure is far more audible on this undubbed version. There's not a level on which this track does not succeed. If first takes routinely went this well, most studios would be out of business.

6.6 - Matchbox (D)
(Carl Perkins) (Previously Unissued)

Not content with one performance that many artists would have settled for, Jerry tried ''Matchbox'' one more time. This alternative take has a more deliberate rhythm from the band and a bluesy delivery from Jerry. There is an exciting piano solo which leads into a real surprise: a totally different verse. It's an old blues refrain about drinkin' muddy water and sleeping in a hollow log which Sun fans are most likely to identify with Warren Smith's ''Miss Froggie''.

6.7 - Ubangi Stomp (A)
(Charles Underwood) (Original Sun LP 1230)

Here is Jerry's classic reading of the essential racist love song, fresh from the good ole boy pen of Charles Underwood. Although not as countrified as Warren Smith's original version, this moves right along with able assistance from the electric bass. Picked for immortality on his first Sun LP, the track survives Jerry's typical lyric fluffs, although we do miss the great couplet "Ubangi Stomp, Ubangi Style''.

6.8 - Rock 'N' Roll Ruby (C)
(Johnny Cash) (Not Originally Issued)

Johnny Cash wrote this contribution to the songwriter's art and demoed it in his lumbering baritone back in 1955. The following ear, Warren Smith picked it up for his first Sun single and played it on the road, which is where Jerry undoubtedly heat.

Jerry and the boys give us a solid reading of the song although Jerry has obviously forgotten the lyric hook, the very element which would have made it commercially viable. J.W. Brown's electric bass keeps things solidly in place and Van Eaton kicks the tempo along nicely but presumably this was never considered for a single release. Eventually, when making notes against possible album tracks, Sam Phillips wrote "No go".

6.9 - So Long I'm Gone (C)
(Roy Orbison) (Not Originally Issued)

Continuing his journey through the Warren Smith hit list, Jerry tackled ''So Long, I'm Gone''. He had played piano on Smith's original recording six months earlier and seen the song climb into the charts. The overall effect is quite different from Smith's recording. Jerry was in characteristically top form and was probably not constrained by the need to cut a single release. He slows the tempo considerably and both vocal and guitar are quite bluesy. This is an interesting cut that stands firmly on its own merits.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-4 mono

The answer to the question of what to use for a follow-up to ''Shakin''' came in a package of dubs from New York, Otis Blackwell, musical: director for the movie ''Jamboree'', sent some songs for consideration. The creator of Elvis Presley's memorable hit title ''All Shook Up'' had come up with another classic exclamation, ''Great Balls Of Fire''!

Jerry and his producers took no chances; they tried 14 different incarnations before Jerry's controlled frenzy and the studio's barely controlled echo reached a magic blend and everyone knew that they had another hit. This album concludes with Jerry and his little studio group coming to terms with another Blackwell exclamation, ''Breathless''. This time, however, they had surrendered art to artifice and it would take all of Jud Phillips' promotional wiles to get the record moving.

Record 4 Side 7 ''Balls Of Fire'' (September 1957 to January 1958)
7.1 - Ooby Dooby (D) (Not Originally Issued)
7.2 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget (D) (Not Originally Issued)
7.3 - You Win Again (B) (Previously Unissued) in this form.
7.4 - I'm Feeling Sorry (D) (Previously Unissued)
7.5 - I'm Feeling Sorry (A) (Original Sun EPA 107)
7.6 - Mean Woman Blues (A) (Original Sun EPA 107)
7.7 - Why Should I Cry Over You (E) (Previously Unissued)
7.8 - Great Balls Of Fire (D) (Previously Unissued))
Original Sun Recordings

7.1 - Ooby Dooby (D)
(Wade Moore/Dick Penner) (Not Originally Issued)

Continuing his summer of Sun cover versions, Jerry borrowed the opening guitar figure from Warren Smith's ''Ubangi Stomp'' to open this rendition of ''Ooby Dooby. It's a driving track with a powerful vocal (despite the inane lyric), and a solid, insistent piano solo. The guitar, here played by Sidney Manker, surfaces for a nice solo, although it is nowhere else in evidence during the take. The drummer is Otis Jett, like Manker a member of the Bill Justis band. Jett tries some military drum rolls in the style of Roy Orbison's original recording, but gives up the effort in favour of more conventional accenting. The crash cymbal is strongly in evidence throughout, a technique the other drummers frequently employed behind Jerry.

7.2 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget (D) (Not Originally Issued)
(Stan Kesler) (Previously Unissued)

This is a much earlier version of the Sun classic than has previously been available by Jerry. It is a nicely rolling interpretation although Jerry seems to be struggling for the words here and there. The piano solo starts off promisingly but is then extended by Jerry to a full 24 bars, simply too much to sustain his unadorned piano work.

The rather overlong solo probably accounts for the non-appearance of this track until now although, with some discrete editing, it could have been a candidate for Clement's overdubbing experiments.

7.3 - You Win Again (B)
(Hank Williams) (Previously Unissued) in this form.

Although unissued in this form, this take is actually the undubbed vocal and instrumental performance from the flipside of ''Great Balls Of Fire''. This was an extremely important coupling because it marked the first time the world had heard Jerry's ballad style. ''You Win Again'' gave us a fairly clear picture of the depth of Jerry's country roots and the highly charged emotional style he would bring to this material.

The appearance of a rolling right hand chord immediately following the second line of the song ("...all over town") was very reassuring. It told us that even if Jerry condescended to play a non-rocker, he would bring considerable style to it. ''You Win Again'' is a beautifully crafted performance, giving the sense of emotion just barely contained, almost leaking out at the seams. The brief foray into falsetto on "This heart of mine" suggested just how pent-up Jerry was. The drum work is duly restrained; the first time we have heard brushes behind Jerry.

One thinks of Sam Phillips' famous words after hearing the first take of Presley's ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', "Hell, that's different. That's a pop song now''. Those words apply here all over again.

7.4 - I'm Feeling Sorry (D) (Previously Unissued)
(Jack Clement) (Previously Unissued)

At the time Jerry was recording ''You Win Again'' for single release, Sam Phillips was also sorting out some tracks for an E.P. This Jack Clement song was eventually chosen and a lot of work was put into it there were ten unissued takes. As here, all the out-takes are a little more countryish than the EP version. Jerry is content to lope through the song until he launches into his solo. The piano was always very distinctive on this song and Jack Clement has recalled tuning it especially to get a harpsichord effect.

7.5 - I'm Feeling Sorry (A) 
(Jack Clement) (Original Sun EPA 107)

When it appeared on the "Great Ball Of Fire" EP, this song, together with ''Turn Around'', confirmed the country side of Jerry's brand of rock and roll. 25 years later, all the old familiar elements stand out: Jerry humming over the opening piano figure; J.W. Brown's rock solid electric bass line; Jimmy Van Eaton's echoey drum work - his 1-2 on the snare comes through the echo chamber as 1-3. All in all, this is vintage Jerry, an impressive performance that inspired Sun-addict Ricky Nelson to rush into the studio and include it on his very next Imperial LP.

7.6 - Mean Woman Blues (A)
(Claude Demetruis) (Original Sun EPA 107)

Elvis Presley recorded this song in January 1957, a few weeks after the Million Dollar Quartet session. It was released in July of the same year to coincide with his second movie, ''Loving You''. Presley may have sung the song for Jerry and the boys back in December and Jerry then improvised on a half-remembered fragment. Even if he had heard the original version, he hadn't memorised it. His is markedly different. He has only remembered the main refrain and used it as the centrepiece of a completely new song. Presley's performance is brooding and melodramatic; Jerry's is confident and drips bravado. Who cares if he has a mean woman; there are 50 more outside the stage door who are eager to please. Running out of lyrics in the middle, Jerry slows it down, like ''Shakin''', then comes storming back for a triumphant finish. Jerry, bass and drums are rock solid with Van Eaton especially effective on his cymbal work.

How many of Jerry's new fans from the Steve Allen show understood the couplet:
"l like a little coffee, like a little tea
Jelly, jelly is the thing for me''.

7.7 - Why Should I Cry Over You (E)
(Jimmie Short) (Previously Unissued)

This is one of the few completely new performances by Jerry recently uncovered in the Sun tape boxes. Unfortunately, Jerry has brought his honky tonk heart to a pedestrian piece of material. The song had been written by Jimmie Short, guitarist with Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours, and recorded by the band, without Tubb, for Bullet Records in 1946. It was a hit in 1950 for Eddy Arnold. Quite where Jerry learned it is not clear, since he has remembered only the melody and the title line from the original song.

To the extent that this is a listenable track, it's all to Jerry's credit. The melody simply doesn't allow for the kind of expressive vocal that he specializes in. Although there is a nice round sound to the piano work during the verses, Jerry gets some timing problems with his playing during the solo. This is a case of Jerry being reined in by the material; his biggest failing here is in the choice of what to record.

7.8 - Great Balls Of Fire (D)
(Otis Blackwell-Jack Hammer) (Previously Unissued)

"They approached Jerry for ''Jamboree'', recalled Otis Blackwell, "and got him, but then they wanted an original song for him. I said I didn't have anything at the time but would look around. A few days later a writer by the name of Jack Hammer brought me a song called ''Great Balls Of Fire''. I said 'Give me the title and I'll write the song.' So I wrote the song around Jack Hammer's title''.

By October 1958 the movie was on the point of being released and Sam needed Jerry in the studio to record the single. The song was recorded over a period possibly lasting up to three days. At least 14 takes survive and it is obvious that it was absolutely crucial to Sam that Jerry should follow ''Shakin''' with another top seller. Many of the out-takes are perfectly sale able including this splendid one.

If anything, Jerry gives a more frenzied and urgent vocal performance here and Roland Janes' guitar is rather more audible but the pattern had already been set and Jerry uncharacteristically makes very few changes as he goes along. This take may have been withheld for purely technical reasons. Jerry's vocal is a little off-mike on several lines and the left hand boogie figure during the second half of his solo is rather muddy.

The take is preceeded by the famous but never before legally issued studio conversation between Jerry and Sam Phillips. Jack Clement had turned the tape off following some run throughs on ''Great Balls Of Fire'' and we miss the start of the discussion. Jerry appears to have a fit of remorse about singing the devil 's music. Possibly he had gone so far as to suggest that he wouldn't cut the song; certainly he stirs Sam Phillips into a logical and determined rationalisation of what they were attempting to do. Either Jimmy Van or Roland Janes, who were probably getting less than $50 each for the night's work and could sense this argument might last a while, can be heard saying "Let's cut it, man''. Jimmy Van is banging his drums impatiently in the background.

Record 4 Side 8 ''Balls Of Fire'' (September 1957 to January 1958)
8.1 - Great Balls Of Fire (D) (Previously Unissued))
8.2 - Great Balls Of Fire (A) (Original Sun 281)
8.3 - You Win Again (A) (Original Sun 281)
8.4 - Cool Cool Ways (Sexy Ways) (C) (Not Originally Issued)
8.5 - Milkshake Mademoiselle (D) (Previously Unissued)
8.6 - Down The Line (D) (Previously Unissued)
8.7 - I'm Sorry I'm Not Sorry (E) (Previously Unissued)
8.8 - Down The Line (D) (Previously Unissued)
Original Sun Recordings

8.1 - Great Balls Of Fire (D)
(Otis Blackwell-Jack Hammer) (Previously Unissued)

A few takes further on and the session seems to have degenerated a little. Talk of religion has given way to more secular pursuits and, while this is a fine cut in itself, Jerry isn't quite in control of the song anymore and Van Eaton's drumming is not as urgent as it had been.

8.2 - Great Balls Of Fire (A)
(Otis Blackwell-Jack Hammer) > Sun 281-A <

Although Roland Janes is clearly present on other takes, there appear to be only two instruments present on the originally released version of ''Great Balls Of Fire''. One has to listen carefully before this becomes apparent and it would be hard to imagine more powerful playing and singing from Jerry and more sensitive and forceful drumming from Van Eaton. There is not a wasted note on the record. All those out-takes were certainly worthwhile on this occasion as the well thought out piano lines are stunningly effective. Listen, for example, to Jerry's right hand playing just before the opening line.

Jerry's solo is a twin threat. On the first half he gives it all away with four sweeping ''Glissandi'' but then, on the second half, manages to build incredible tension by hammering away with his right hand on the same notes for six consecutive bars. His vocal is a model of confidence. It ranges from barely controlled lust ("Oooh, feels good..") to playfulness ("You're Kind, So fine...''). It's fair to say that we're unlikely to ever hear a more basic, exciting and competently made rock and roll record.

8.3 - You Win Again (A)
(Hank Williams) > Sun 281-B <

When it appeared on the flipside of ''Great Balls Of Fire'', this was not only the first slow country song to be issued by Jerry but also the first to have been overdubbed with a chorus. Jack Clement had been pressing Sam Phillips for some time to experiment with the basic Sun sound and to "soften" it where it was likely to be effective. On ''you Win Again'' the results were basically inoffensive and really do little to enhance or destroy the mood Jerry had created (See Side 7; track 3). The chorus may have surprised Jerry's growing army of fans in 1957 but it sounded essentially male and virile. It was not overpowering like some of the contributions of the Gene Lowery Singers who destroyed more Sun records at the end of the 1950s than a raging warehouse fire.

8.4 - Cool Cool Ways (Sexy Ways) (C)
(Hank Ballard-Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

With ''Great Balls Of Fire'' well up the charts and Jerry's itinerary becoming increasingly crowded, Sam Phillips pencil led in January 1958 as the time when the new Lewis single should be cut. The favourite candidates were ''Milkshake Mademoiselle'' and Breathless'' written respectively by Jack Hammer and Otis Blackwell, who had served Jerry so well with ''Great Balls Of Fire''.

Instead, Jerry seems keen to record a sanitised version of Hank Ballard's vintage rhythm and blues hit, ''Sexy Ways''. It was obviously commercial hara-kiri to use the phrase "sexy ways" but Jerry comes up with the ultimate sleaze, a really lascivious performance. The song features a drooling invitation from the Killer to the girl of his dreams to shake it with him until her parents come home. Jerry is really revved up and totally convincing as he proclaims "I can't stand much of this''. Needless to say, this was consigned to a tape box immediately after the session, where it stayed for many years.

The false start is quite revealing. Nobody seems to mind the line about "meat falling off the bone" but when Jerry blows the game by saying "sexy ways", the take is over.

8.5 - Milkshake Mademoiselle (D)
(Jack Hammer) (Previously Unissued)

This seems to be the earliest surviving tape of a song that was originally mapped out as a successor to ''Great Balls Of Fire'', before being shelved. The song did eventually become a favourite with many Lewis fans when issued in various forms during the 1970s. This is a typically impassioned reading of the trite teen rocker. It is distinguished by some frenzied half tempo piano work and Van Eaton's tasty cymbal work until eventually he can't keep up the pace and the take fades away.

8.6 - Down The Line (D)
(Roy Orbison) (Previously Unissued)

It is not clear whether ''Down The Line'' was being considered for a single release when the January sessions began. The song had been written and recorded by Roy Orbison in 1956 as ''Go, Go, Go''.

On this early take, the band is clearly experimenting and there is some way to go before a final take emerges. Jerry's phrasing is quite different from the released version and there is some artificial sounding vocal straining, not typical of his style. The band's work is clearly tentative with bass fluffs and unsettled chord changes still in evidence. This is more of a glimpse midway through the transformation of Orbison's song than a finished take.

8.7 - I'm Sorry I'm Not Sorry (E)
(Wanda Ballman) (Previously Unissued)

Either Jerry heard this during his days of touring with Carl Perkins or one day he flipped over a copy of ''Dixie Fried'' and discovered it the way most of us did. In any case, he tries his hand at Arizona disc jockey Wanda Ballman's claim to songwriting fame. In contrast to Perkins' upbeat original treatment, Jerry takes the material for a slower, countryish ride. The song is not award winning material but it possibly fares better with the country approach. Jerry's piano work is more listenable than the tinkling piano triplets on Perkins' original. He also manages some nice country singing, slipping in a few yodelling effects, marred only by the occasional flat note. As is his wont, it seems that Jerry has done a bit of lyrical improvising on the second verse. The words are brand new and it seems more likely that Jerry has made them up than Carl had left them out.

8.8 - Down The Line (D)
(Roy Orbison) (Previously Unissued)

Returning to rockabilly after a trip in the country, Jerry brings a more solid approach to ''Down The Line''. Jerry's solo is upon us before we real is it and Roland has to fight at the start of his solo. Overall, this is a fine rocking out-take with some effective stuttering effects, marred only by the messy non-ending.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-5 mono

Jerry was now on the crest of the wave that he rode for barely over a year. There were plans for a first album and Jerry's prodigious memory was called upon to find some suitable album tracks. He was also taking no chances with ''High School Confidential'', trying the song in different ways. As it happened, the seeds of his destruction had already been sown but there was no hint of this as Jerry and the boys straggled home after fourteen takes of ''Confidential''.

Some very fine music emerged from these sessions although most of it was destined to remain in little 7in. tape boxes for many years.

Record 5 Side 9 ''Good Rockin' Tonight'' (January to March 1958)
9.1 - Milkshake Mademoiselle (D) (Previously Unissued)
9.2 - Milkshake Mademoiselle (D) (Previously Unissued)
9.3 - Breathless (D) (Previously Unissued)
9.4 - Down The Line (A) (Original Sun 288)
9.5 - Breathless (A) (Original Sun 288)
9.6 - High School Confidential (D) (Previously Unissued)
9.7 - High School Confidential (D) (Previously Unissued)
9.8 - High School Confidential (D) (Previously Unissued)
Original Sun Recordings

9.1 - Milkshake Mademoiselle (D)
(Jack Hammer) (Previously Unissued)

Judging from his comments before and after this take, Jerry wasn't too happy with the progress they were making towards cutting a single version of '''Milkshake''. Nevertheless, the band is beginning to sound full and fiery and Jerry is attacking the lyrics quite effectively. The electric bass is prominent on this session to good effect and the boys were building up to do greater things later in the evening.

9.2 - Milkshake Mademoiselle (D)
(Jack Hammer) (Previously Unissued)

This is a finer alternate take still of the teen queen opus that surprisingly never saw daylight during the golden days. There's a crisp sound to the recording and Jerry's little quartet plays tightly through the stop/go rhythms of the material. Jerry plays and sings well and he forgets not a syllable of this lyrical rocker. The electric bass sounds appropriately fat and greasy, and Jimmy Van Eaton reminds us all what a truly fine rock and roll drummer he was. The guitarist takes a nice solo which has overtones of the work on ''Down The Line''. Perhaps the tune was never released because someone realised that "A cool lemonade and a warm ham hock" wasn't exactly mainstream diet for the urban white kids who were now buying Jerry's records.

9.3 - Breathless (D)
(Otis Blackwell) (Previously Unissued)

This is one of several practice tapes of ''Breathless'' apparently recorded a few days before Jerry went back to the studio to cut the song in earnest. The piano intro is a little different, as is the phrasing in places; otherwise this is a straightforward blueprint for the single cut. Probably Jerry needed to run through the song several times because its structure did not follow the conventional blues or ballad forms. With two hits on the charts, he was now becoming big business and dealing with the writers of purpose-built rockers aimed at a mass audience. The bass runs are not produced by Jerry's left hand but by the guitar. They are crisp and audible but somehow it sounds that much less like a Jerry Lee Lewis record.

9.4 - Down The Line (A)
(Roy Orbison) > Sun 288-A < 

With ''Milkshake Mademoiselle'' not yet perfected and ''Sexy Ways'' decidedly off limits, Sam Phillips and Jack Clement still needed to find a flipside for ''Breathless''. With two publishing companies chock full of material, perhaps the idea of getting a free ride on the back of ''Breathless'' warmed Phillips' heart that chill January night. In any case, ''Down The Line'' was the eventual choice to accompany ''Breathless''.

The underside of Jerry's slapdash bravado shows through on this record. From a distance he has moulded it into a rocker. The opening is extremely strong and well played. The electric bass and guitar complement Jerry's piano boogie. In the final analysis, though, this take was still less than perfect. Even the neophyte musicians among those gathered around the jukebox realised that the guitar had gone painfully out of tune by the fourth bar of the solo. Also, Jerry's penchant for forgetting lyrics came shining through. The verdict: If you don't look too closely, this record is exciting, especially if you don't mind your excitement with a tinge of sloppiness.

9.5 - Breathless (A)
(Otis Blackwell) > Sun 288-B <

''Breathless'' was a departure for Jerry in several ways. Apart from the move from 1 into a sustained 5-chord (F to C7) and the resultant unusual sound, the song has a crass, commercial and unmistakable "hook": the breathy pronouncement of the title. The big business influence of "external sources" (writers and publishers) had diluted the "good old boy rocker" sound, although not completely. There were still parts of ''Breathless'' that must have sounded a bit alien to Jerry's growing northern audience; for example, the Louisiana-tinged "You know I boin like a wood in flame". The song itself moves along at a breathless tempo. Jimmy Van Eaton plays fast and furiously and is well miked on both snare and cymbal. The simple guitar style has never sounded better than on the 12-bar solo here, in fact it actually sounds a little less commercial than most of what's going on around it. Jerry's piano is well recorded, but it plays a less central role. There are parts of the song where one can imagine the singer wandering away from his piano, mike in hand, while the band maintained the pulse unabated.

9.6 - High School Confidential (D)
(Ron Hargrave-Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued)

The exact recording date of ''Confidential'' is not certain. However, the date February 14 found on a tape box fits with the fact that the record was issued in May, and that the recording of the song must have been planned since it was featured in the movie of the same name. At least seventeen takes of the song survive, most of them apparently deriving from this February session.

Jerry is listed as co-writer of Ron Hargrave's original song, and certainly he comes up with a few vocal variations on most of these early takes. On this example he sings "everybody's rocking, everything is shocking" in a line that we've waited too long to hear. Musically, the early takes develop in cohesiveness and force as Jerry shakes the material into place. All are punched forward by bass and guitar and feature a nagging guitar figure from Roland. This take has spirited solos from both Jerry and Roland and it clearly pointed the way toward the finished take.

9.7 - High School Confidential (D)
(Ron Hargrave-Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued)

At the start, this unissued take had every chance to become the version. It opens more confidently than earlier takes, propelled by Van Eaton's forceful backbeat. Unfortunately the take was damned to oblivion when Jerry's vocal and Roland's guitar started to compete for space after the first piano solo. Undaunted, Jerry went on to finish the take via a furious second piano solo.

9.8 - High School Confidential (D)
(Ron Hargrave-Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued)

It took Jerry a little time to settle down before he could get this track organised, but it was worth the wait. This is arguably a better performance of ''Confidential'' than the released version. It is probably not as commercial, but it surely moves along in a more straight ahead fashion. There are none of the dissonant guitar fills which surrounded his vocal on the originally-issued 45. The guitar does surface for a twelve bar solo, and Jerry himself takes a pounding turn at the piano.

Record 5 Side 10 ''Good Rockin' Tonight'' (January to March 1958)
10.1 - Good Rockin' Tonight (D) (Previously Unissued)
10.2 - Pink Pedal Pushers (C) (Not Originally Issued)
10.3 - Jailhouse Rock (C) (Not Originally Issued)
10.4 - Hound Dog (C) (Not Originally Issued)
10.5 - Don't Be Cruel (A) (Original Sun LP 1230)
10.6 - Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You) (C) (Not Originally Issued)
10.7 - Jambalaya (On The Bayou) (A) (Original Sun LP 1230)
10.8 - Friday Night (C) (Not Originally Issued)
10.9 - Big Legged Woman (C) (Not Originally Issued)
Original Sun Recordings

10.1 - Good Rockin' Tonight (D)
(Roy Brown) (Previously Unissued)

This version of ''Good Rockin' Tonight'' is the sort of find that keeps album compilers rummaging through piles of unissued tapes. It's clear that this track could never have been a commercially issued side. It may only have been a studio warm-up. Whatever, they sure don't make 'em like this anymore. It's a fine southern rocker and Jerry really uses Roy Brown's title as an excuse to improvise his own lyrics, borrowing freely from Brown, Presley or his own earlier recordings. In fact, he gets in a pretty good plug for ''Whole Lotta Shakin'''.

There is a great sense of excitement in the vocal. Listen to how well Jerry uses falsetto to convey tension. Likewise, the solo work just flows with a sense of abandon. This track is essential, primitive rock and roll. Jerry telegraphs his intention to fade out, saying "gonna fade out a little now mama". It's not clear whether the line is intended for his girl friend, the engineer, or members of the band. Likely it 's not the engineer since Jerry (along with most other Sun artists) hardly ever used studio fade-outs. As Little Junior Parker had on ''Feelin' Good'', Jerry and company simulate a fadeout here by simply playing more and more softly.

Dated February 14 1958, this track ushered in a session of largely Presley-related material and the exact purpose is unclear. Maybe all six songs on the tape were an unscheduled jam recorded before, during or after the fourteen takes of ''High School Confidential'' also apparently recorded that day. If so, it would possibly explain why the electric bass only appears on some of the tracks. It is also possible that it is Jerry's stage band (J.W. Brown and Russell Smith) that plays on these tracks.

10.2 - Pink Pedal Pushers (C)
(Carl Perkins) (Not Originally Issued)

A solid piano opening slams us headlong into Carl Perkins' garment-based rocker. Much to his credit Jerry manages to retain nearly all of Perkins' lyric. During the first solo, he sustains a right-hand chord while the electric bass slides up and down against it. The style works quite effectively here, as it had on ''Matchbox''. However, Jerry nearly loses the beat when he tries to gallop against the same tempo; in fact he barely escapes disaster, using one of his patented glissandi to bail out. This particular session was magic; the balance between piano, bass and drums was ideal. It's hard to find a track that wasn't at least good, and most are downright superb.

10.3 - Jailhouse Rock (C) (Not Originally Issued)
(Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller) (Not Originally Issued)

Here Jerry takes on Elvis's rocker, which has gone virtually uncovered down the years, and comes up with a solid piece of southern rock and roll. Everybody on this track (and there are only three) cooks like crazy. As usual, Jerry makes the song his own; although he sticks with the original lyrics he puts his own stamp on the tune by reading the key line-of each verse in falsetto.

10.4 - Hound Dog (C)
(Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller) (Not Originally Issued)

Jerry continued to cook through another all too short version of a Leiber and Stoller song. Rocking rhythm and blues indeed. Jerry's piano is in top form here and there's some rather unexpected left hand work. The drummer gives his own interpretation of D.J. Fontana's classic drumroll. Very little else is required, other than another six verses. If Sam Phillips was present, he must have had some rather mixed memories as Jerry sang. In March 1953 he had dashed out Rufus Thomas' cover of Big Mama Thornton's original version of the song, and landed himself with his first big hit and a lawsuit to match.

10.5 - Don't Be Cruel (A) 
(Otis Blackwell) (Original Sun LP 1230)

There is a distinctive, compelling sound to Jerry's version of ''Don't Be Cruel''. His delivery, which is predictably unlike Elvis's, can be compared to someone making a forceful speech. Perhaps a sermon. The song is propelled by some forthright and prominent drumming. The echoey one-one, two snare is mixed so far up front that it becomes the pulse of the performance, and it's clear that the life signs are good. It is a totally effective performance and stands up well against Elvis's hugely successful original.

10.6 - Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You) (C)
(Jimmie Hodges) (Not Originally Issued)

Jerry turns in a rather emotional and occasionally dramatic reading of one of the hit hillbilly tunes of 1946. ''Someday'' had sold heavily for the Hoosier Hot Shots and for Elton Britt that year. Jerry's leanings toward excessive sentimental ity become obvious on material such as this. Here they are more in evidence in his piano work than through his vocals. Listen, for example, to the fills surrounding the 4 to 4-minor chord change on the line "Although you don't want me now". Even with this criticism, it's fair to say that there is plenty of life in this evergreen as long as Jerry's in charge.

10.7 - Jambalaya (On The Bayou) (A)
(Hank Williams) (Original Sun LP 1230)

Kicking off an undated session sometime in March 1958, this powerful track also began side two of Jerry's first album. It's a solid performance from top to bottom, each instrument contributing strongly to the final balance. Roland Janes accents against the vocal with just the right tone to offset Jerry's piano boogie. Jerry contributes a clean, sly reading of the lyric and a nice rocking piano solo. Jimmy Van Eaton is a standout, providing a pounding tempo during the solo, and some catchy cymbal work against the vocal that fol lows the instrumental break. It had been only six years since Hank Williams wrote the original (for which Moon Mullican has taken some credit) and Hank's version was number 1 on the day he died. Jerry was one of the first of many artists to successfully revive the song.

10.8 - Friday Night (C) (Not Originally Issued)
(James G. Liddle) (Not Originally Issued)

The essential teen rocker, ''Friday Night'' features a solid danceable beat, a prominent bass boogie figure (much like ''Breathless'') and a lyric steeped in the "weekend freedom" theme. Jerry really gets into the chorus and works the lyric hook ("Friday night's hey day, Friday night's payday...") for all he's worth. Roland boy takes a nice guitar solo and Jerry provides suitable encouragement with his cries of "Git it boy, git it". The track ends on a studio fade, one of the rare times Jerry depended on this conventional recording technique.

10.9 - Big Legged Woman (C)
(Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

This is one of the undisputed highlights of Jerry's seven year association with Sun. It is also one of the most determinedly lascivious recordings ever made. There are no double entendrés or hidden meanings here. Jerry had a picture of that fine big legged woman in his mind and it couldn't have been any more vivid if she had been sitting on top of the piano.

Musically, this is one of the few straight unadorned blues that Jerry recorded at Sun and it could hardly be bettered. The first recorded eulogy to big legged women dated from Johnny Temple's 1938 recording. This song has been credited to bluesman Big Joe Williams although the inspiration for it is probably lost in the Natchez night.

Despite Jerry's playful closing pronouncement "It's a hit''! this song was not a candidate for release when it was recorded. It must even have raised a few eyebrows when it finally appeared in 1970. "When I start drillin' on you, baby, you gonna lost your nightgown". Yes indeed!

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-6 mono

Jerry's time was now a precious commodity. He needed to complete his first album and ''High School Confidential'' before his British tour. Songs were being pitched at Jerry from every direction but Sam was careful to place on Jerry's album six songs for which he owned the copyright. Finally, after three days in the studio, they tamed ''Confidential''. Sam sent the tape off to the mastering house with instructions to ship lacquers to his pressing plants and Jerry went back on the road. The movie was being readied for the summer drive-in crowd. In little over a month, however, rock and roll's hottest property would be an outcast. But for the present there were 10,000 fans in stifling auditoriums across the country and the promise of thousands more across the sea.

Record 6 Side 11 ''Wild One'' (March/April 1958)
11.1 - Hello Hello Baby (A)
11.2 - Frankie And Johnny (A)
11.3 - It All Depends (On Who Will Buy The Wine) (B)
11.4 - Your Cheatin' Heart (C)
11.5 - Lovesick Blues (C)
11.6 - Goodnight Irene (A)
11.7 - Matchbox (A)
11.8 - Put Me Down (D)
11.9 - Fools Like Me (B)
Original Sun Recordings

11.1 - Hello Hello Baby (A)
(Jerry Lee Lewis) (Original Sun LP 1265)

Although Jerry was obviously deeply affected by the blues he generally brought those influences to his performances of country and popular music. This is one of the rare times that he recorded a straight ahead piece of blues material, and one which was actually issued as well. It appeared, belatedly, on his second album. As the track shows, Jerry had a powerful understanding of the blues idiom and he brought both depth and humour to it. Moreover, he doesn't try to affect black mannerisms or vocal patterns. He must have gone right back to the Natchez waterfront for this one, and just the thought of those big legged women was enough to make his voice tremble. The track has an easy contagious feel to it. Unfortunately the-last line may well become Jerry's epitaph.

11.2 - Frankie And Johnny (A)
(Traditional-Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Original Sun LP 1265)

Just about every performer from Dave Brubeck to Elvis Presley has tried his hand at ''Frankie And Johnny''. Folklorist Abbe Niles claims to know some 500 verses. No-one seems to know its origins except that they date from the 19th century and that, at one time, the ballad was called Frankie and Albert. It's a measure of Jerry's talent that he's able to instill new life in this material. Following a Fats Domino-like opening, the tempo moves along strongly and Jerry's vocal just drips confidence and enthusiasm. Sam Phillips was sufficiently impressed to unearth this track for inclusion on Jerry's second album.

11.3 - It All Depends (On Who Will Buy The Wine) (B)
(Billy Mize) (Previously Unissued) in this form.

Next to ''You Win Again'', this is often quoted by fans as the country song that most moved them during Jerry's early rocking career. Written by country singer Billy Mize and well recorded by him on Decca in 1956, ''It All Depends'' somehow gains an extra dimension in Jerry's hands. It becomes a desperately real story notwithstanding the country cliches it was built around. When originally issued, this tape had a vocal chorus that detracted marginally from Jerry's powerful performance. It is issued here unadorned for the first time.

11.4 - Your Cheatin' Heart (C)
(Hank Williams) (Not Originally Issued)

Jerry ignored few of the major numbers in the Hank Williams songbook. This version of ''Your Cheatin' Heart'' begins on a less than satisfactory vocal note (it's surprising that the tape wasn't stopped after five seconds) but soon recovers. The arrangement is quite assertive and features a prominent and echoey drum, mixed with equally echoey piano and guitar. The track is taken at a driving mid tempo. While it's true that Jerry could accomplish more in one take than many artists could in a weekend, it 's still a shame that ideas like ''Your Cheatin' Heart'' were not dwelled upon a little more. Once or two additional takes might have been all that was necessary to bring it home. This is one of the few instances where the Sun version is outclassed by one of Jerry's latter performances. His version of ''Your Cheatin' Heart'' on the Live at the Star Club album gives us some idea of just how good this might have been. As it stands, it's one of Jerry's less successful excursions into ol' Hank's treasure chest.

11.5 - Lovesick Blues (C)
(Irving Mills/Cliff Friend) (Not Originally Issued)

To the surprise of many, ''Lovesick Blues'' did not originate with Hank Williams. Nor was it a blues, even in Jerry's interpretation. It began life in 1922 as part of a musical ''Ooo Ernest'', and was then revived periodically through the 1920s and 1930s until Hank made it into a country standard. Jerry's version was probably a one-off during a jam session and not a contender to be worked up to release standard. It has its share of lyrical and musical rough spots. But it still has lots of energy and the patented 706 quartet sound. Jerry makes an adventurous foray into yodelling and gives a rather inspired reading of the lyric. His most obvious fluff comes when he substitutes "l got a feeling 'cos I'm blue" for the standard opening line.

11.6 - Goodnight Irene (A)
(Huddie Ledbetter) (Original Sun LP 1230)

Here is the track issued on Jerry's first album, complete with overdubbed vocal chorus. The recording had originally been made sometime around Christmas 1956 and the dressing up was done by Jack Clement on April 81958. Two other vocal overdubs of the same track remain unissued, as do several alternate overdubs of ''Matchbox'', ''It All Depends'' and ''When The Saints Go Marchin' In''.

11.7 - Matchbox (A)
Traditional-Arranged by Carl Perkins) (Original Sun LP 1230)

This is another product of the overdub session held by Jack Clement on April 8. Jerry's original vocal and instrumental track of ''Matchbox'' was already one of his most intense recordings. The vocal chorus may even have added to this. The piano break created the initial tension as Jerry's right hand banged out flatted thirds with the fat sounding bass sliding against them. The sound of hand clapping added during the solo is also quite effective. Jerry's rather suggestive choice of images obviously doomed the song to album filler status. The traditional blues line "If you don't like my peaches, please don't shake my tree" wasn't direct enough for Jerry. He saw no point in mincing metaphors and the phrase becomes "Don't pull around on my tree".

11.8 - Put Me Down (D)
(Roland Janes) (Previously Unissued)

Although this track is not the most dynamic of Jerry's career, it is nevertheless one of the most interesting out-takes. Jerry is obviously practising lyrical variations of Roland Janes' song, here reversing the opening lyric. Roland's guitar figure, while not yet developed into its final form, is quite prominent. The result is a different-sounding although totally effective reading of the song.

11.9 - Fools Like Me (B)
(Jack Clement-Murphy Maddux) (Previously Unissued) in this form.

This is the original tape of a recording issued in overdubbed form on the flipside of ''High School Confidential''. It is a country ballad, written by Jack Clement and "Pee Wee" Maddux, the man who played memorable steel guitar on Ernie Chaffin's Sun recordings. Maddux himself was a quite successful recording artist with MGM for several years before he started to bring artists to his friend Jack Clement at Sun. Clement and Maddux had worked this fine country lyric to perfection and Jerry assays the song flawlessly with diction a speech therapist would admire. Clement must have had cue cards nailed to the piano for this one.

''Fools Like Me'' is in sharp contrast to ''High School Confidential'', although it does have a pretty strong backbeat for a country song. There is some nice 706 echo on both the piano and drums. It is good to hear the undubbed version after all these years, although the chorus was never particularly obtrusive and may actually have helped. Gone also is the handclapping during the piano solo. The song builds in dramatic tension during the final verse, which Jerry punctuates by reading the last note in falsetto. In an ironic twist, Jerry's hero Moon Mullican recorded this song in 1963 on one of Jack Clement's own labels.

Record 6 Side 12 ''Wild One'' (March/April 1958)
12.1 - Wild One (Real Wild Child) (C)
12.2 - Carrying On (Sexy Ways) (C)
12.3 - Crazy Heart (D)
12.4 - Put Me Down (D)
12.5 - Let The Good Times Roll (C)
12.6 - Slippin' Around (C)
12.7 - I'll See You In My Dreams (E)
12.8 - Put Me Down (A)
12.9 - High School Confidential (B)
Original Sun Recordings

12.1 - Wild One (Real Wild Child) (C)
(Johnny O'Keefe-John Greenan-David Owens) (Not Originally Issued)

It is really surprising that this was not a successful candidate for single release when Jerry and the band laid down the track. The song features a strong vocal, inanely wild teen lyrics, a solid piano solo and even a passing reference to ''Whole Lotta Shakin'''. This is the Killer in top gear, continuously exciting. Even at this tempo, Jerry can still hold things together, slowing the vocal for a sly comment or two. The song, which Jerry had picked up from Australian pop star Johnny O'Keefe during his tour there in February 1958, did become a hit later in the year for Ivan (Jerry Allison) under its original title, ''Real Wild Child''.

12.2 - Carrying On (Sexy Ways) (C)
(Hank Ballard-Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

Another variation on Hank Ballard's ''Sexy Ways'', which Jerry had interpreted as ''Cool Cool Ways'' at an earlier session. This version is entirely credible and moves nicely along. Jerry contributes an enthusiastic vocal and some striking piano work..The rhythm section provides a smooth and driving backup. Perhaps the main reason this track never saw daylight as a single was its unabashedly "sexy ways".

12.3 - Crazy Heart (D)
(Fred Rose-Maurice Murray) (Previously Unissued)

Another of the biggest sellers from 1951 , this song was a huge hit for artists as diverse as Guy Lombardo and Hank Williams. It was obviously a Lewis favourite judging by the way it was attempted at three different sessions. Unfortunately Jerry doesn't seem to be quite into it here. His piano is not prominent during the first part of the song. This was one of the rare times when Jerry used a guitar intro, and ironically it is out of tune. Toward the end Jerry does develop some of his customary verve and excitement, giving the song a tense ''You Win Again'' type of reading.

12.4 - Put Me Down (D)
(Roland Janes) (Previously Unissued)

This is from the same session but is obviously preliminary to the originally issued take. Two key rhythmic elements (the stop at the end of each verse, and the percussive gimmick at the beginning of the song) aren't yet in evidence. The result is a more driving, straight ahead version than the tighter "arranged" take that appeared on Jerry's first Sun album.

Jerry really gets into the vocal and cooks up a storm during the second release. Roland's Oriental-sounding guitar figure is audible on this practice take and since he is the composer it 's quite possible that this guitar figure was a central part of the way he "heard" the song.

12.5 - Let The Good Times Roll (C)
(Fleecie Moore-Sam Theard) (Not Originally Issued)

Jerry navigates Louis Jordan's massive 1946 hit with aplomb. His vocal is flamboyant and engaging and his piano work is driving throughout. The guitar solo is also rather noteworthy; in fact, two guitars are audible on this and the subsequently recorded track ''Slippin' Around''. The second guitar was probably played by Billy Riley or Jack Clement. Jerry's "oohing" against the solo contributes to the excitement. Probably one reason this worthy track never saw daylight in the 1950s is that it duplicates many of the lyrics from Jerry's then recently issued ''Mean Woman Blues''.

12.6 - Slippin' Around (C)
(Floyd Tillman) (Not Originally Issued)

Continuing the experiment with two lead guitars, Jerry offers an extremely bluesy approach to Floyd Tillman's classic honky tonker from 1949. There is such a blues element that the track barely follows the original melody line. It is recognisable as Tillman's tune only from the title, the chord structure and what remains of the original lyrics. One electric guitar provides a nice echoey sound on the bass runs and Jerry's vocal is suitably impassioned, even down to some falsetto growling.

12.7 - I'll See You In My Dreams (E)
(Isham Jones-Gus Kahn) (Previously Unissued)

Another oldie, but from a much different source. This song is from the show of the same name based on the life of Gus Kahn. In Jerry's hands it is an experimental track which features some Del Wood inspired piano, some rudimentary electric bass, and a look at Jimmy Van Eaton trying his hand at some percussive gimmicks. This instrumental comes to life only intermittently, and usual by because Van Eaton has offered some backbeat (as in verse 4) or moved briefly away from his rather grating Oriental gimmick (verse 3). ''I'll See You In My Dreams'' stayed in the can for nearly a quarter of a century and is issued here mainly for its curiosity value.

12.8 - Put Me Down (A)
(Roland Janes) (Original Sun LP 1230)

This is one of Jerry's most distinctive rockers. The arrangement on this original LP version was obviously thought out pretty carefully, as the existence of several similar and indeed several quite different alternate takes indicates. Jimmy Van Eaton is a standout. His speedy stickwork during the 4-bar intro should be a Union test for rock drummers. Roland contributes an effective guitar figure throughout. Jerry is totally on top of things also and he sings with passion while his piano work absolutely soars.

12.9 - High School Confidential (B)
(Ron Hargrave-Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued) in this form.

Well, what do we have here? Apparently we have the A-side of Jerry's fifth single. In fact, this track is minus a little echo and contains a totally different ending. Jerry goes out here on a pretty, descending run instead of the triumphant sweep of the right hand that the world heard in 1858. Jack Clement or Sam Phillips presumably decided that the record demanded a more definitive ending and spliced one on from another take. Rather well, too.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-7 mono

This album takes us through the critical period of May-June 1958. The first side is devoted entirely to a series of vocal and piano solo recordings. As far as can be deduced, this rehearsal session was held in May 1958 just before Jerry left for England at the peak of his career.

The next time Jerry went into a studio the situation had changed dramatically. The Killer had fallen from grace and everyone, including Jerry himself, recognised the need for another smash hit to re-establish his credibility. The comedy record, ''The Return Of Jerry Lee'' had been designed to make the scandal seem like a good ol' boy prank but it was dying on the shelves. Jerry never worked harder on a single than on ''Break Up''/''I'll Make It All Up To You'' but his name had been tainted with scandal and sales were only fair. At one point, huge quantities of the record on both 45 and 78 rpm sat in Sun's Memphis warehouse, the unopened boxes testifying to the unfulfilled hopes.

Record 7 Side 13 ''Live And Let Live'' (May to November 1958)
13.1 - Memory Of You/Come What May (E)
13.2 - Come What May (C)
13.3 - Live And Let Live (E)
13.4 - Break Up (D)
13.5 - Crazy Heart (D)
13.6 - I'll Make It All Up To You (D)
13.7 - Johnny B. Goode (D)
13.8 - Crazy Arms (D)
13.9 - Break Up (D)
Original Sun Recordings

13.1 - Memory Of You/Come What May (E)
(Jerry Lee Lewis) Previously Unissued)

''Memory Of You'' has only been discovered very recently and it appears to be a Jerry Lee Lewis composition. Certainly there exists a sheet of Eastern Airlines notepaper with the words written out in Jerry's handwriting and his name given as composer. He apparently wrote it for his wife, Myra, while returning from his tour of Australia in February 1958.

Jerry's recording of the song is only a demo but it is quite an assured performance and he takes a well-developed solo between the two verses that he chooses to sing. There was a third verse on the Airline notepaper omitted from the recording:

"This road is so rocky, the nights are so long
That's why I'm so lonely and blue
You said your love was only for me
Then darling, you know I found you with somebody new."

13.2 - Come What May (C)
(Frank Tableporter) Not Originally Issued)

One thing is for sure, Jerry enjoyed laying down this solo track. The song was first recorded the previous year by Etta James, during a session in New Orleans. According to James the unlikely sounding composer credit is a pseudonym for Allen Toussaint, who presented her with the song at the session. In February 1958 another version was recorded by Clyde McPhatter, whose record of it was beginning to chart by May. Whichever version inspired Jerry, his is a magical performance of vocal gymnastics and piano pyrotechnics.

On these solo recordings Jerry is forced to become the rhythm section and soloist and we can hear his forceful left hand at work. These recordings also let us hear how Jerry performed at home for his family and friends before he ever stepped inside a studio.

13.3 - Live And Let Live (E)
(Unknown) (Previously Unissued)

Jerry's fans have waited a long time to hear this snippet. Although it's just a fragment of a song, Jerry is in a fine groove. The song is melodic and the recording is well balanced. Moreover, the message of the song is rather prophetic bearing in mind Jerry's problems in England later that month.

13.4 - Break Up (D)
(Charlie Rich) (Previously Unissued)

It is clear that ''Break Up'' was being groomed as Jerry's next single after ''High School Confidential''. He recorded the song time and again during the summer of 1958, first as a solo demo, then with an overdubbed band and finally with a studio band.

This recording seems to have been one of the earliest demos and a very fine one too. Like Charlie Rich, Jerry seems to thrive on these under-produced demo's. Listening to the drive of this recording makes one why the record industry ever evolved in the direction of more and more instruments rather than fewer and fewer. Since record companies surely weren't saving money by over-production, it's more likely they knew that most of their artists could not have survived under the intense scrutiny of such sparse recording techniques. It's clear that Jerry could. In fact, ''Break Up'' hardly sounded better when it hit the jukeboxes three months later.

13.5 - Crazy Heart (D)
(Fred Rose-Maurice Murray) (Previously Unissued)

A complete change of mood from ''Break Up''; Jerry moved straight into a solo country weeper. ''Crazy Heart'' must have been a favourite because he was returning to it after several previous recording attempts had failed in April. This is a highly reflective interpretation and Jerry milks the material for all its emotional intensity and melodic depth. It is a little surprising that Shelby Singleton has never tried overdubbing this track for single release. It remains a gem for fans and collectors alike.

13.6 - I'll Make It All Up To You (D)
(Charlie Rich) (Previously Unissued)

Initially, when Charlie Rich tried to write pop songs he reached too low and came up with songs like ''Popcorn Polly'' ("Everybody loves her 'cause she's so jolly"). However, by mid 1958 he was producing well crafted pop ballads and top drawer rockers.

Charlie, Jack Clement and Jerry worked very hard on both ''Break Up'' and ''I'll Make It All Up To You'' before the songs emerged on the familiar yellow label in August 1958. On this early demo, most of the ebb and flow is already present in Jerry's vocal performance and he seems to have picked up a few of Charlie Rich's characteristic right hand embellishments.

13.7 - Johnny B. Goode (D)
(Chuck Berry) Previously Unissued)

Jerry moved back into top gear for this early cover of Chuck Berry's hit (the song had entered the rhythm and blues popular charts a few weeks previously). What can be said about a performance like this? The more one listens to Jerry's solo session, the greater the sense of excitement. It's like overhearing a private conversation. Jerry's vocal and solo piano are simply a tour de force. No modern techniques here. No ''punching in'' corrections, no overdubbing, no choruses. This is it: The man and his music stripped down to essentials.

13.8 - Crazy Arms (D)
(Ralph Mooney-Charles Seals) Previously Unissued)

This solo out-take again shows the sheer intensity and power in Jerry's talent. He hesitates at the outset, musing "If I can remember the words to it..." Surprisingly, he does remember the words to the song issued as his first record eighteen eventful months before. He also remembers his original piano solo, almost note-for-note. About the only variation (actually an affectation) is the hi cupping around the vocal lines "not mine, not mine". The playful piano tag at the end emphasises that this was just a fun take, never intended for commercial release.

Trivia fans may care to know that this song, which became the biggest selling country record of 1956 in the hands of Ray Price, was written by Ralph Mooney back in 1949 as he was coming off a three day drinking binge, wondering if his wife would take him back.

13.9 - Break Up (D)
(Charlie Rich) (Previously Unissued)

Returning to ''Break Up'', Jerry allows us a clear-eyed look into the essential rocking nature of both himself and the song. As with the earlier solo version, there are shades of Charlie Rich's piano style and comparisons between this and Rich's widely available demo version are fascinating.

On this take, Jerry gallops through the piano solo and just makes it. Even the Killer has physical limitations. In fact, if he didn't stop for a cold beer after this take he may have been Ferriday's first android.

Record 7 Side 14 ''Live And Let Live'' (May to November 1958)
14.1 - The Return Of Jerry Lee (A)
14.2 - Settin' The Woods On Fire (D)
14.3 - Break Up (D)
14.4 - Johnny B. Goode (C)
14.5 - Break Up (A)
14.6 - I'll Make It All Up To You (B)
14.7 - I'll Make It All Up To You (D) (Overdub Excerpt)
14.8 - I'll Make It All Up To You (A)
14.9 - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (D)
Original Sun Recordings

14.1 - The Return Of Jerry Lee (A)
(Jack Clement) > Sun 301 <

When the scandal broke, the folks at 706 Union were left wondering whether they should fight back, lie low or cash in. ''The Return Of Jerry Lee'' was Jack Clement's response. Initially designed for circulation to DJs, it was apparently issued at Jud Phillips' insistence. (A few days later though, Sam was concocting the ultra pious Open Letter for the trade papers, showing just how confused they were during those weeks).

Clement had certainly wasted no time. Jerry had left London under a cloud on May 28th and Jack Clement went into the studio to manufacture this tape two days later. The track was composed of fragments of previous releases in a style borrowed directly from Buchanan & Goodman's Flying Saucer saga. Narrated by Clement and local disc jockey George Klein, ''The Return Of Jerry Lee'' succeeded in doing little more than depressing the already semi-defeated singer. One thing the record had going for it, other than the no-nonsense vitality of the music, was the flipside ''Lewis Boogie''.

Four-thousand miles away on the Thames Embankment, the folks at Decca Records sat in solemn judgement on Clement's handiwork and pronounced it to be one for the top of the radiator.

14.2 - Settin' The Woods On Fire (D)
(Ken Nelson-Fred Rose) Not Originally Issued)

This track was not issued until the Sun International era of the early 1970s. It originates from a tape box marked "July 9, 1958" which also contained unissued overdubbed versions of ''Break Up'' and ''I'll Make It All Up To You''. It is almost certainly an overdub as well, with guitar, bass and drums added to a tape Jerry originally cut at the solo session in early May. Guitar and bass are barely audible at all and the drums do little more than accent the rhythm that Jerry laid down so powerfully on his original.

14.3 - Break Up (D)
(Charlie Rich) (Previously Unissued)

The legend is that Jerry Lee Lewis looks at a song, sneers contemptuously and rolls off a perfect version on the first take. There is more than a grain of truth in this. It was not Jerry's habit at Sun to record a song more often than he needed to, at least at one sitting. It is not surprising, then, that he began to get sick of ''Break Up'' during the summer of 1958. Here he moans about being "in a steady old rut" before settling down to another take. But this one is different. It contains an intro redolent of the Champs' hit of that summer, Tequila. Jerry also takes a most uncharacteristic solo, playing melody with his left hand and further spices the recipe with some left hand piano fills between verses. This take holds our attention throughout.

14.4 - Johnny B. Goode (C)
(Chuck Berry) (Not Originally Issued)

Following his solo performance recorded in May, Jerry gives the full treatment to Chuck Berry's immortal hymn to himself. There is no energy crisis here and Jerry manages to impose his usual complement of lyric changes while retaining the basic vitality of the song. It was a title Jerry had learned on tour with Chuck and it had become a part of his stage show. The vocal is excitable but never out of control and the drummer drops his bombs in all the right places. Unfortunately, there are some sloppy, perhaps ill-considered stops, notably before the first solo. The guitar solo is fine but Jerry takes the instrumental honours, transposing Chuck's guitar licks deftly to his right hand and taking a driving solo with shades of boogie-woogie.

14.5 - Break Up (A)
(Charlie Rich) > Sun 303-A <

All the hard work on ''Break Up'' finally came to fruition. Following the solo versions and overdubbed versions Jerry finally participated in a new session in mid July which yielded the version chosen for single release.

According to the September 1 , 1958 issue of Billboard, "Break Up is a rocker and Lewis sells the tune with great drive and spirit''. A quarter of a century later, it's hard to argue with those words. In any case, Charlie Rich provided Jerry with his last dent in the Top 50 for more than two years. Jerry's piano comes nicely to the fore during the solo although it is rather subdued during the verses when the electric guitar is prominent. The arrangement also allows the drummer to indulge in an effective two bar drum roll during the "Baby, please don't go" line.

The identity of the musicians is interesting. Bass player J.W. Brown had left Jerry to go to the West Coast for a year. Jack Clement stands in on bass, with Billy Riley on guitar and Otis Jett on drums. Jerry's tight little studio group was beginning to go its separate ways and new faces were appearing at his sessions.

14.6 - I'll Make It All Up To You (B)
(Charlie Rich) (Previously Unissued) in this form.

Building on the solo session of May, Jerry spent some time in July working on another Charlie Rich song for the flipside of ''Break Up''. This tape has Billy Riley and Otis Jett giving support and it could well be Charlie Rich on piano. If so, it was a fine idea because it left Jerry free to concentrate on singing and he turns in a very sensitive reading of Rich's beautiful ballad.

This is actually the tape that Phillips chose to issue as a single, heard here for the first time without the vocal chorus that was overdubbed for commercial release. Interestingly, the first and second verses are identical, an uncommon ballad device. Either Rich was innovating or Jerry was forgetting (even without the piano to distract him). Rich owes much in the construction of this song to Ivory Joe Hunter, whose ''Since I Met You Baby'' was a national hit barely two years earlier. There is a prominent and effective guitar figure played by Billy Riley and Rich himself takes a fine solo with the left hand crisply recorded.

14.7 - I'll Make It All Up To You (D) (Overdub Excerpt)

14.8 - I'll Make It All Up To You (D)
(Charlie Rich) > Sun 303-B < 

Some four days after the basic track was recorded for ''I'll Make It All Up To You'', Sun's musical arranger, Bill Justis, took a vocal group into the studio to dub a chorus onto ''Break Up'' and ''I'll Make It All Up To You''. The chorus was eventually rejected on ''Break Up'' but it did appear on this, the flipside.

Whether the chorus added much to the final product is a matter of personal taste. What is clear, though, from listening to the out-takes is that Justis and his group had more fun dubbing these tapes than many of us did listening to their efforts. There's some bantering between the shoobie doowops before they finally get it right. Justis can be heard chiding them along, "All right girls", following some exchanges about who is on whose beat and who is going to jump off the song's bridge.

14.9 - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (D)
(Stick McGhee-J. Mayo Williams) (Previously Unissued)

This take appears to have been a warm-up song for Jerry's November 1958 session that produced his follow-up to ''Break Up''. Jerry had already recorded and rejected a better version of ''Drinkin' Wine'' the year before and this one crops up in the middle of a sequence of false starts and timing problems. It is included here because it is an altogether different treatment of the song. Jerry opens with some pounding piano and follows it up admirably through his solo. The guitar is also quite pleasant although buried in the mix. Jerry has adopted a yodelling delivery style and succeeds in losing some of Stick McGhee's original lyric.

One of the features of this session was the introduction of another member of Billy Riley's band, saxophonist Martin Willis, although his contribution to this track is minimal.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-8 mono

This record marks the beginning of Jerry's descent into the wilderness. He was attempting a wide variety of material, trying to find the magic combination which would transport his face back onto prime time television and his records back onto every jukebox.

He recorded a fair amount of country tinged material but it was the rockers which were chosen for release. However, Jerry's booting rock 'n' roll style was losing ground in the marketplace and, of course, his own career had been sabotaged following his marriage. In view of this, it is hardly surprising that he almost dropped out of sight for two years.

Record 8 Side 15 ''It Hurt Me So'' (November 1958 to March 1959)
15.1 - I'll Sail My Ship Alone (D)
15.2 - I'll Sail My Ship Alone (A)
15.3 - It Hurt Me So (D)
15.4 - It Hurt Me So (D)
15.5 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (D)
15.6 - Lovin' Up A Storm (D)
15.7 - Lovin' Up A Storm (A)
Original Sun Recordings

15.1 - I'll Sail My Ship Alone (D)
(Morry Burns-Lois Mann-Henry Thurston-Henry Bernard) (Previously Unissued)

This country hit from 1950 is indelibly associated with singer/pianist Moon Mullican. It was one of Jerry's favourite country songs and is one of his rare explicit homages to Mullican, who was more of an example and inspiration than a direct influence. On this unissued take, saxophonist Martin Willis comes a little closer to the foreground and the group punches out an interesting rocking interpretation of the song while Jerry shines with a fine solo.

15.2 - I'll Sail My Ship Alone (A)
(Morry Burns-Lois Mann-Henry Bernard-Henry Thurston) > Sun 312-B <

By the time Jerry was satisfied with a take of this song for single release he had totally reinterpreted Moon Mullican's poignant original. It is now a storming rocker and while it undoubtedly lost something in the transition it stands as a fine record on its own merits. Piano and sax work solidly together and there is also some pounding drumwork. On the less positive side, the electric guitar fills sound tinny and occasionally discordant. Reportedly, no- one at Sun was thrilled about this choice of material for single release but it was shipped at the Killer's insistence. It crept into the Hot 100 at number 93 in January 1959 before promptly disappearing. This was also probably the last Jerry Lee Lewis single to be manufactured on 78rpm as well as on 45rpm.

15.3 - It Hurt Me So (D)
(Charlie Rich-Bill Justis) (Previously Unissued)

During 1958, Jerry's method of recording began to change. Rock and roll's golden days were drawing to a close and Jerry was trying to come to terms with the changing times. Bill Justis and Charlie Rich were heavily involved in this November 1958 session, trying to help Jerry get back on Bandstand with a new sound.

Charlie Rich played piano on this title while Jerry is using headphones in an attempt to concentrate on his vocal and render the perfect ballad performance. The overall effect is a classy production. This is a similar take to that which was issued on the flipside of Sun 312. The chorus is also absent. The disc probably disappointed a substantial number of unregenerate rockers among Jerry's following but it did inspire some prime Billboard-ese, being dubbed "a heartache type vocal by the cat''.

15.4 - It Hurt Me So (D)
(Charlie Rich-Bill Justis) (Previously Unissued)

This out-take of ''It Hurt Me So'' is not as good as the previous take but is worthy of inclusion in the context of the discussion that preceded it. Jerry obviously felt constrained by the new approach and is straining to cut loose. "l want to cut one more rock 'n' roll song before I go'', he says forlornly. Bill Justis finally persuades him to hang up his rock and roll shoes for this one.

15.5 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (D)
(Gene Autry) (Previously Unissued)

This is a song that Jerry returned to several times at Sun. On this version we have a saxophone. It didn't help. The take provides a glimpse of things going wrong in the studio. There were three false starts, each time Jerry stopped to complain to the drummer about the tempo. When the take was completed Jerry obviously wasn't satisfied, asking "You wanna cut it''? Jerry seems to be fighting the rhythm section all the way, trying to go faster than the leaden drum track will allow. This tends to show that it was Jeff Davis on drums rather than Jimmy Van Eaton, who had given no such problems in the golden days of 1957. How Davis came to be on part of this session is not clear. His fee was noted as being mailed to his home in Atlanta, Georgia.

15.6 - Lovin' Up A Storm (D)
(Khent-Dixon) (Previously Unissued)

There is no indication in the Sun files or tapes when ''Lovin' Up A Storm'' and ''Big Blon' Baby'' were recorded, or even if they were recorded at the same time. They were issued back to back in mid February 1959 and, presumably, they and this out-take of ''Lovin' Up A Storm'' were recorded around Christmas 1958. Jerry's performance is full of attack and he contributes a two-fisted solo but this one obviously needed more work. The guitar is minimal and the drumming proficient. Neither proves whether or not Roland Janes and Jimmy Van Eaton were present.

15.7 - Lovin' Up A Storm (A)
(Khent-Dixon) > Sun 317-A < 

Despite its obviously frantic nature, ''Lovin' Up A Storm'' was not as successful as many of Jerry's vintage recordings. The writers have taken meteorological rock to its pinnacle and Jerry's vocal and piano are duly frenzied. The rhythmic hook at the opening gives the song a powerful sound and there is lots of drive all around but somehow the entire project seems a little too manufactured to be among Jerry's top output.

Record 8 Side 16 ''It Hurt Me So'' (November 1958 to March 1959)
16.1 - Big Blon' Baby (A)
16.2 - Sick And Tired (C)
16.3 - (Just A Shanty In Old) Shanty Town (C)
16.4 - Release Me (C)
16.5 - I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (D)
16.6 - Near You (C)
16.7 - I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (A)
16.8 Hillbilly Music (A)
Original Sun Recordings

16.1 - Big Blon' Baby (A)
(Rhoda Roberts-Kenny Jacobson) > Sun 317-B <

"Jumpin' Jehosaphat! Big blon' baby!" was obviously meant to echo that classic exclamation "Goodness gracious! Great balls of fire!" and get those cash registers ringing again. It didn't happen, and the reasons probably had more to do with the downhill slide in Jerry's fortunes than the song itself, which was catchy enough to stand a chance if it had received any airplay. Sun nearly sabotaged themselves on that count by coupling two rockers and splitting disc jockey attention. In April 1958 Ronnie Self had issued a version of the song which had also died.

''Big Blon' Baby'' is obviously a contrived pop song but Jerry's treatment, with the incessant rolling rhythm underpinned by bass and guitar, makes it into a very creditable performance. The drummer, who sounds remarkably like Jimmy Van Eaton, distinguishes himself with some very fine drumwork in the stops following the solo, and at the end when he makes his mark with a tasty single stroke roll. On the less positive side, the guitar solo rivals ''High School Confidential'' for the Pointless Pickin' award.

The charts were still open to rockers such as Lloyd Price and Jack Scott when this record hit the stores, but it did not bring Jerry back to his rightful place among them.

16.2 - Sick And Tired (C)
(Chris Kenner-Dave Bartholomew) Not Originally Issued)

Another mysterious session from the winter of 1958-9 yielded three strange tracks: ''Sick And Tired'', ''Shanty Town'' and ''Release Me''. Unfortunately, the most notable element on all three is some rather technically limited drumwork. Both this track and ''Shanty Town'' contain outright mistakes. ''Release Me'' is solid but lacks all of Van Eaton's subtlety. It is also very likely that Jerry is not the pianist, particularly on the first two tracks.

''Sick And Tired'' was first issued by Chris Kenner in 1957 but it was Fats Domino who took the song into the charts the following year. Jerry gives the song a driving reading. The enthusiasm is there but the drummer cannot decide whether to accent on the high hat or the crash cymbal. He tries it all, even losing the rhythm once. Jerry's reaction is to forge straight ahead and damn the torpedoes.

The real problem may be that the participants were constrained by the tempo and rigid structure they had enforced upon themselves. Jerry is a very loose performer with what verges on a jazzman's feel for accent and nuance. Here he's bound, tied and gagged by the structure of the song.

16.3 - (Just A Shanty In Old) Shanty Town (C)
(Joe Young-Jack Little-John Siros) (Not Originally Issued)

Arguably, material like this should be issued with the understanding that it should not be judged by commercial standards. It is released for the benefit of serious collectors and fans who seek a deeper understanding of the artist and his music. Many of the demo tracks that have been issued in this set work despite their obviously spontaneous origins. This is one that did not.

It is to Jerry's credit that he took on material like ''Shanty Town''. The song had started out as a Depression favourite in 1933 and was revived in 1951 for the musical "Lullabye of Broadway". Among the artists who recorded it at that time was Jerry's friend and mentor Del Wood.

Jerry's version actually starts off well with a pounding and engaging reading. It's hard to believe that something which begins so well could disintegrate into chaos. We can hear the fall from grace as fluffs and miscues accumulate to the point of no return. The pianist blows some chord changes around the "Queen waiting there" line. The drummer doesn't seem sure how to accent on the cymbal and stops playing cymbals altogether during the piano solo. His rhythm becomes ragged, playing too fast then slowing down noticeably. Finally, he blows a drum-roll following the line "See her Saturday night." Jerry's vocal, which started off nicely, becomes buried. He's obviously distracted and eventually blows the whistle on the proceedings.

16.4 - Release Me (C)
(Eddie Miller-W.S. Stevenson-Dub Williams-Robert Young) (Not Originally Issued)

This country classic was originally written by Eddie Miller after overhearing an argument in a bar in San Francisco back in 1954. Jerry gives us a solid mid-tempo reading that takes the song right back to its hillbilly origins.

The drumming is very much to the fore and provides an extremely heavy backbeat. Anyone doubting Jerry's country roots should listen to the first verse. The Killer's voice has never sounded purer or stronger.

16.5 - I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (D)
(Hank Williams) (Previously Unissued)

The catalogue of Jerry's attempts to record this song is a little unclear. Most, if not all, of the takes that survive on tape appear to come from a session dated March 22, 1959.

This is the best of several out-takes where Jerry struggles to work out a suitable arrangement. The musicians on this session are listed as Brad Suggs and Cliff Acred, who were members of Bill Justis's band, and Jimmy Van Eaton. This take, however, is dominated by Jerry with minimal support from the badly miked drums. It was probably designed as a run-through although it is notable for some unusual embellishments on the piano.

16.6 - Near You (C)
(Francis Craig-Kermit Goell) (Not Originally Issued)

Possibly another warm-up song, this is the best of three instrumental versions of ''Near You'' by Jerry and his crew. From the chatter between the takes it seems that Jerry contemplated recording the vocal version but no takes survive.

''Near You'' was a pop song that dates back to the 1920s, although it was on the pop charts by Roger Williams just a few months before Jerry decided to attempt it. The most successful version, which Jerry would also have remembered, was made in 1947 by Nashville bandleader Francis Craig; a record which put Nashville on the musical map and later became Milton Berle's theme song.

Jerry demonstrates some nice two handed piano work: a solid left hand bass line, and some right handed barrel-house rolls. Brad Suggs contributes a small figure against the melody line, and Jimmy Van Eaton lays down a solid, if somewhat unadventurous, beat. Jerry's piano work becomes plenty adventurous on its own during the final third of the track, when he appears to pull out the stops.

16.7 - I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (A)
(Hank Williams) < Sun 330-B <

This is a great version of one of Hank Williams' finest weepers. The song was originally recorded during Williams' last session for MGM and was probably on the radio when Jerry was getting his act together on the old Starck upright. There are some minor but critical lyric changes offered by Jerry. The sentiment "Makes no difference what you say or do" now becomes "Makes no difference what they say or do". Maybe Jerry wasn't as forgiving as Hank. There's a great honky tonk piano sound to the entire track and Jerry offers a fine solo. The simple drum track is given that patented 706-echo. Listen, also, to Jerry's deep south pronunciation of "perhaps". It's no mistake; he flaunts it both times.

16.8 - Hillbilly Music (A)
(George Vaughn) (Original Sun LP 1265)

This is a real curiosity. When it appeared on Jerry's second album in 1962 it was listed on the sleeve as ''Hillbilly Music'' and on the inner label as ''Country Music Is Here To Stay''. This highlights the problems Sun had in identifying some of the tunes which Jerry recorded. It bore not even a passing resemblance to ''Country Music Is Here To Stay'' and was actual by a very loose adaptation of as much as Jerry could remember of a Little Jimmy Dickens hit from 1950, ''Hillbilly Fever''. Jerry had not remembered any of the verses but had built a completely new song from the chorus (as he had on ''Mean Woman Blues''). Incidentally, ''Hillbilly Fever'' had been written by George Vaughn (a pseudonym for Vaughan Horton, composer of ''Mockingbird Hill, Choo Choo Ch'Boogie'' etc.).

Regardless, the performance is inspired. Jerry's vocal is neither subtle nor restrained, all to good effect. Brad Suggs contributes his finest recorded guitar solo which begins by sounding like a honking saxophone. It is a powerhouse performance all around, particularly by Jimmy Van Eaton who surpasses his own high standards and nearly plays the skins off the drums which have been mixed way upfront.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-9 mono

This was the period when Jerry tried to come to terms with the disaster that had befallen him. In an attempt to recapture his success he tried following patterns already laid down by others. He was no longer leading the pack. Even more galling, perhaps, was the fact that other Sun/Phillips International singer-pianists, Carl Mann and Charlie Rich, were hitting the high spots. Just as Jerry entered the studio to cut a record which was to be issued under a pseudonym, Charlie Rich was watching ''Lonely Weekends'' (which had been written for Jerry) take off. Nevertheless, some excellent music came from these sessions as Jerry continued to explore his own musical heritage while tackling some newer material.

Record 9 Record 17 ''The Guilty One'' (March 1959 to January 1960)
17.1 - My Blue Heaven (D)
17.2 - My Blue Heaven (D)
17.3 - Let's Talk About Us (D)
17.4 - Home (A)
17.5 - Night Train To Memphis (C)
17.6 - The Ballad Of Billy Joe (A)
17.7 - Let's Talk About Us (D)
17.8 - Sail Away (C)
17.9 - Am I To Be The One (D)
Original Sun Recordings

17.1 - My Blue Heaven (D)
(George Whiting-Walter Donaldson) (Previously Unissued)

Jerry recorded his version of this evergreen (it had been the most popular song of 1927) some three years after Fats Domino had revived it successfully for the mid 1950s pop charts. There is some of Fats' vocal style and lazy rhythm in Jerry's interpretation but enough of Jerry to keep it interesting. This warm-up take starts off slowly to a deliberate beat but gains momentum as it goes along and Jerry sings strongly toward the end. His piano style, in particular the right hand fills, is uncharacteristically florid. All told, the track is an odd mixture of styles; perhaps the birth of pounding cocktail piano?

17.2 - My Blue Heaven (D)
(George Whiting-Walter Donaldson) (Previously Unissued)

Experimenting with various methods of rocking up ''My Blue Heaven'', Jerry suddenly exclaims "this'll be Jerry Lee Lewis style", runs his right hand across the keyboard and proceeds to step it up a gear. Curiously, the result is not at all typical as Jerry retains the Fats Domino vocal delivery and employs a recurring run on the bass notes of the piano. Regardless of whose style this was, none of the surviving takes were used by Sun at the time. Interestingly, the title originally given to the song on the AFM files was "Just Mollie And Me" indicating that Jerry had forgotten the real title and that no one was much interested in finding it out.

17.3 - Let's Talk About Us (D)
(Otis Blackwell) (Previously Unissued)

Songwriter Otis Blackwell continued to have a good reputation in the Lewis camp long after ''Great Balls Of Fire'' and he continued to submit rocking material with a commercial bent. ''Let's Talk About Us'' is one of Blackwell's best songs, and it is no surprise that Jerry worked long and hard on it. This early take is still part of the learning process and Jerry rehearses his "breathless" reading of the title line when he stops to complain about the dragging beat. Eventually, Jimmy Van Eaton 's relentless and solid drumming would be a key to the success of the song and even at this early stage it works quite well.

17.4 - Home (A)
(Roger Miller) (Original Sun LP 1265)

Following the session of March 1959, Jerry returned to the studio in May to nail down both sides of his next single. Jim Reeves was high on the country charts with ''Home'' when Jerry sat down to record his version. It was too late for a cover version, and this track did not appear until three years later when Sam Phillips compiled Jerry's second Sun album. ''Home'' is a song steeped in traditional values. Like much of songwriter Roger Miller's work, there is a sing along, almost childlike quality to the song. The arrangement features a prominent guitar figure alternating with the vocal lines and some nice accenting on the cymbal. There is something affecting about the memory of good-tasting water and whippoorwills calling and although this is at variance with some accounts of Jerry's early life, it is nice to think of Mamie Lewis writing "Get it home Jerry, I'm missin' you so."

17.5 - Night Train To Memphis (C)
(Marvin Hughes-Owen Bradley-Beasley Smith) (Not Originally Issued)

In many ways, this is one of the finest tracks Jerry recorded for Sun even though it did not see daylight during the golden era. Jerry has provided a beautifully intense and surprisingly subdued reading of the classic Roy Acuff country hit from 1942. The song had been written the previous year by Nashville bandleader and radio personality Beasley Smith about the train which left town at midnight bound for Memphis. Once again, Jerry shows us how adept he is at reinterpreting country music with a dash of gospel' and blues to arrive at something totally unique. The only technical problem concerns phrasing as Jerry rushes to keep his right hand moving with the frenetic tempo and doesn't quite keep up during his solo. However this hardly detracts from the magic of Jerry in top form.

17.6 - The Ballad Of Billy Joe (A)
(Charlie Rich) > Sun 324-B <

Although neither side of Sun 324 was a national hit, both sides gained some attention. The original ''A'' side was this Charlie Rich song, an opus intended to "Cash in" on the success of ''Don't Take Your Guns To Town''. It supposedly provides an explanation for the senseless murder that took place in Johnny Cash's hit song. Perhaps the son 's biggest problem comes from trying to find too many phrases that rhyme with "Getaway with that". It led Rich to risk such lines as "Kill that little rat" and "gave her hand a pat". Jerry's vocal is fine and the back up, which features Rich on piano, is not too cluttered. In fact, it fitted in with the prevailing trend of pseudo-folkie hits by Johnny Horton and the Kingston Trio as well as Cash.

One point worth noting: nearly ten years later Bobbie Gentry tried her luck with the same title and struck gold. Her song, like Cash 's, was an enigma and subsequent attempts to demystify it were doomed to the same failure as Rich and Jerry met on this disc.

17.7 - Let's Talk About Us (D)
(Otis Blackwell) (Previously Unissued)

As Jerry neared the end of his work on ''Let's Talk About Us'' he had arrived at a fairly well-developed and self-assured performance. This is similar to the version chosen for release, but here we have just a vocal and instrumental track before the decision was taken to add a chorus. The performance is more rhythmic in this naked state with Jerry's piano and the bass flowing from line to line. The chorus may have been added for the purpose of breaking up that flow and accenting the guitar figure. It is not clear who would have presided over the addition of the vocal chorus since Jack Clement and Bill Justis had been fired sometime between the March and May 1959 sessions.

17.8 - Sail Away (C)
(Charlie Rich) (Not Originally Issued)

In the absence of Jack Clement and Bill Justis, Charlie Rich probably played a greater role at the May session. One idea that emerged was that of recording a duet. At least two songs were tried but were never released. Possibly the - intention at the outset was to market the duo as a group, using a different name, thereby sidestepping Jerry's radio blacklist. Equally, the aim might have been to attempt to get Rich's name known by associating him with Jerry. Then again, these might have been totally spontaneous jam sessions. In any case, no commercially viable results emerged.

''Sail Away'' was a Charlie Rich song which had been recorded by Ray Smith on Sun the previous year. It had appeared as a 'B' side and Rich was probably keen to expose it further. The Ray Smith version is the standard against which this track must be measured and, although it possesses an undeniable charm, this version comes in second best. The vocal blend is neither ideal nor particularly smooth, although with stylists as pronounced as Jerry and Rich it's a wonder that they came together at all. The piano work is almost certainly by Charlie Rich.

17.9 - Am I To Be The One (D)
(Otis Blackwell) (Previously Unissued)

Possibly Otis Blackwell wrote and submitted this song at the same time as ''Let's Talk About Us''. Certainly it has the same ebb and flow and inherent tension. Probably if Jerry had worked on it as a solo vocal it would have become a good album track. As it stands, it is just an interesting but unsuccessful duet experiment with two vocal stylists struggling to come together. Following two false starts, Jerry and Charlie Rich eventually get through the song, but unfortunately they concentrate so much on the vocal that neither of them is available at the piano stool for a much needed solo.

Record 9 Record 18 ''The Guilty One'' (March 1959 to January 1960)
18.1 - I'm The Guilty One (E)
18.2 - Let's Talk About Us (A)
18.3 - Little Queenie (A)
18.4 - Lewis Workout (C)
18.5 - The Wild Side Of Life (C)
18.6 - Billy Boy (C)
18.7 - Mexicali Rose (C)
18.8 - I Get The Blues When It Rains (A)
18.9 - In The Mood (A)
Original Sun Recordings

18.1 - I'm The Guilty One (E)
(Unknown) (Previously Unissued)

This superb country track has been hidden away for far too long. It was recorded almost one year to the day after Jerry had been chased out of England and it would have stood as much chance in the pop marketplace as a ham hock in a piranha pond. ''I'm The Guilty One'' is a fine country outing right out of the Hank Williams school. In fact, its similarity to ''Cold, Cold Heart'' might explain Sun's reluctance to release it. Jerry excells on material like this: un gimmicky, good clean country music. There's a round syncopated sound to his honky tonk playing and his vocal is rich with the intensity of his best Hank Williams interpretations. There is not much distance between this and the country super-stardom that lay ten years ahead.

18.2 - Let's Talk About Us (A)
(Otis Blackwell) > Sun 324-A < 

Although deriving from the May 25 session, this original 45rpm version of ''Let's Talk About Us'' has a female chorus added to the basic track. There was obviously some debate about the sound required from the chorus because several other vocal overdubs exist, some with male voices.

Although Sun originally slated this as a ''B'' side, Billboard gave it a Pick Hit of the Week on July 6, 1959 calling it a "fine side" that could put Jerry on the "comeback trail". Unfortunately, Jerry's feet followed a different path although ''Let's Talk About Us'' remains an excellent record. Otis Blackwell has crafted a fine, not overly teen-oriented song, which builds considerable tension by holding the verses in a single chord for 12 bars. The middle portion of the song ("Dear I swear to love you until the very end..'') is technically known as a release and it was never more aptly named than on ''Let's Talk About Us''.

18.3 - Little Queenie (A)
(Chuck Berry) > Sun 330-A <

Jerry could not have written a better song for himself than this teen opus from Chuck Berry. Chuck and Jerry had a lot in common (besides trouble with minors); they were both unique stylists and neither was a coarse-voiced flat-out rocker. They brought a degree of subtlety to their work that has helped it survive these many years. Reportedly, Jerry's sole reason for recording this song was that he was sick of his mother playing Chuck's version over and over. However, it was really too soon after Chuck's original had been on the charts for another version to stand a chance.

When Jerry moves from his patented four bar introduction into Chuck's conversational lyric, he sounds right at home. Who could resist Jerry's delivery of the line "Meanwhile I's thinkin"? There is only one lyric change, from "If it's good she'll admit it" to "If it's good, I'll admit it". This is indisputably prime Killer. The only pity is that so few enjoyed it on release. It was not shipped until the nadir of Jerry's career in September 1959. Also, the song was in a different orbit from Paul Anka and Bobby Darin who dominated the charts in that far off month.

18.4 - Lewis Workout (C)
(Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

The origin of this track is not entirely clear. It was probably a warm-up instrumental for the 1959 session that included ''Billy Boy'' and ''The Wild Side Of Life''. The track begins on a muted string electric guitar figure with drums and bass smoothly added. It is basicaliy a twelve bar blues with a vaguely brooding and ominous feeling to it. Jerry's right hand runs some honky tonk chords over a solid rhythm section which riffs along in the gospelly fashion Jerry would later employ on ''What'd I Say''. The background, rich in 1-7 chords, builds a solid level of tension which is effectively broken during the twelve bar sax solo. This is a nice, bluesy and driving track which doesn't really go anywhere but has some fun along the way.

18.5 - The Wild Side Of Life (C)
(William Warren-Arlie Carter) (Not Originally Issued)

Willie Warren's wife had left him when he saw her in a bar drinking expensive whiskey while he was drinking five cent beer. He told himself, "She's left me for the wild side of life" , and he wrote the first draft of the song before he left the bar. It became a huge hit for Hank Thompson in 1952 and must now be one of the most easily recognisable songs in country music.

Jerry turned it into a strong "modern" country song by using saxophonist Martin Willis to extract the full crossover potential. The sax opens the song and continues riffing over the piano lines before stepping upfront to take the entire solo. Arguably, the sax might have split solo honours with Jerry's piano which put in some effective work in the fills around the vocal. This performance might have made a very interesting single.

18.6 - Billy Boy (C)
(Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

Jerry may be a 'young cat who cannot leave his mother' but he can and does offer a fine vocal and solid piano solo on this rocked up nursery rhyme. Several first generation rockers recorded nursery rhymes and reworked childish themes (most notably Bill Haley). Jud Phillips had the idea that there might be some mileage in it for Jerry. In the end, the song was not released but Martin Willis' sax and Roland Janes' guitar riff nicely over Jerry's piano boogie. Jimmy Van Eaton contributes a crisp drum track and his cymbal work is especially well recorded. Sun may have missed out here because within a matter of months Ray Smith had a hit with a nursery rhyme (''Rockin; Little Angel'') on Jud Phillips' own label, Judd.

18.7 - Mexicali Rose (C)
(Helen Stone-Jack Tenny) (Not Originally Issued)

As far as recordings went, 1959 had been a bad year for Jerry. He had not recorded at all for most of the year and while he was out of the studio Sam Phillips was grooming other singer/pianists. Charlie Rich and Carl Mann. Perhaps, then, there was a reason why Jerry came to his first session of 1960 with a Bob Wills oldie played in a vaguely Mexican style - a style that had been successful for Carl Mann.

Certainly Roland Janes had been encouraged to sound like Mann's guitarist, Eddie Bush, and the session also included Bob Stevenson, a peripheral member of Mann's band, Jerry turns in a pounding solo and it would have been natural for Roland to follow with an 8 bar solo of his own. The lack of a guitar solo contributes noticeably to the short running time.

18.8 - I Get The Blues When It Rains (A)
(Marcy Klauser-Harry Stoddard) > PI 3559-A <

Having exorcised the presence of Carl Mann from the studio, Jerry was able to devote the rest of the January 21 session to recording instrumentals for single release. It was apparently Sam Phillips' opinion that if he switched Jerry to his other label , Phillips International , and gave him a new name and a new style, Jerry might be relaunched as a chart performer. ''I Get The Blues'' was issued on the flipside of the experimental single and the slightly old-timey southern feel would have done little to rekindle Jerry's career. Nevertheless, it is a smooth small combo performance of one of Jerry's favourites from way back. Over a decade later he would record the vocal version for another label.

18.9 - In The Mood (A)
(Andy Razaf-Joe Garland) > PI 3559-B <

Usually associated with Glen Miller, ''In The Mood'' is actually an old jazz riff that composer Joe Garland had used in his work with Louis Armstrong and Don Redman back in the 1930s. It had been revived by Ernie Fields in 1959 with huge pop success and was chosen by Jerry for his instrumental debut as "The Hawk". The name had been chosen by Sun's new General Manager, Bill Fitzgerald, who advised Sam to try a new marketing ploy to get Jerry back on the charts. The identity of "The Hawk" was one of the worst kept secrets in the music business. Disc jockey Dewey Phillips even announced on air that it was Jerry on the day that the record was issued. ''In The Mood'' was not a hit but it was nevertheless a fine performance and it showed the power that Jerry and Jimmy Van Eaton were still able to generate on their own. Jerry's left hand covers the bass range while Van Eaton's crisp, laid-back drumming kept things riding smoothly under Jerry's steaming right hand.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-10 mono

1960 was a watershed in Jerry's career. It ended his association with the old Sun Records studio which had been the scene of so many memorable sessions. The AFM had banned him from recording as a musician so he recorded one session as a vocalist only. Moreover, his records were selling worse than ever.

By the beginning of 1961 , however, things were looking up. Jud Phillips had ironed out Jerry's problems with the AFM and Jerry was chosen for the inauguration of Phillips' new Nashville studio. Within weeks it was obvious that ''What'd I Say'' had put him on the comeback trail. The picture had changed remarkably in just a few weeks.

Record 10 Side 19 ''What'd I Say'' (January 1960 to February 1961)
19.1 - Old Black Joe (A)
19.2 - Baby Baby Bye Bye (A)
19.3 - As Long As I Live (A)
19.4 - Bonnie B. (A)
19.5 - What'd I Say (D)
19.6 - C.C. Rider (C)
19.7 - Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes (A)
19.8 - John Henry (A)
19.9 - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (C)
Original Sun Recordings

19.1 - Old Black Joe (A)
(Stephen Foster) > Sun 337-A > 

Jerry apparently returned to the studio at the end of January 1960, this time to concentrate on his next vocal single. ''Old Black Joe'' was an uptempo reworking of Stephen Foster's vision of the old South. Reportedly, it sold well in some southern markets although no-one up north was having much to do with it. However, it sports some fine piano work from Jerry and a nice spartan production until after the solo when the chorus comes swooping in.

19.2 - Baby Baby Bye Bye (A)
(Lewis-Smith) > Sun 337-B <

Released at the depth of Jerry's popularity, this weak entry failed to budge off ground zero. For one thing, it featured the overwhelming Gene Lowery Singers. For another, a rather dispirited Jerry offers an occasionallyuninvolved sounding vocal. The arrangement featured a strong rhythmic hook but given radio reaction to Jerry at that time, the track failed to impress. Actually, one week after release, Billboard applauded this "sprightly rocker" but to little effect.

19.3 - As Long As I Live (A)
(Dorsey Burnette) > Sun 367-B <

From what was probably Jerry's last session at 706 Union, this cut is a refreshing hark back to earlier days. Aided by Jimmy Van Eaton's drumwork it is one of the best of Jerry's 1-6-2-5 gospel-like performances. Jerry brings plenty of fervour to the performance. His piano work is particularly storming, especially during the solo when he rides comfortably through the chord changes. During the final verse, Van Eaton 's drums are exceptionally powerful and crisp as he literally smashes away at the closed high hat.

The song was written by Dorsey Burnette, an original Memphis rockabilly who had transplanted himself onto the west coast. He was peddling songs in those days although he enjoyed a massive hit later in 1960 with Tall Oak Tree.

19.4 - Bonnie B. (A)
(Charles Underwood) > Sun 371-A < 

Undeniably one of Jerry's best teen slanted songs. Composer Charles Underwood furnished an outwardly lyrical teenage love song, full of praise for Bonnie's pretty turned up nose. But, wait a minute, we're being told that she may be young but doesn't need to wait to love ol' Jerry. Quite an anarchic notion for that period.

Musically, ''Bonnie B'' is an engaging record because of its lovely rolling tempo. Firmly established during the six bar intro, Jerry offers a barrelhouse right hand chord against some simple two string guitar work deftly lifted from Bill Dogget's Honky Tonk. The mixture works excellently and the motif appears again during the piano solo. If there were any justice in the world, ''Bonnie B'' would have been a massive hit and it might well have been but for the partial radio blacklist. As it is, the record was a nice way for Jerry to sign of his recording career at 706 Union.

19.5 - What'd I Say (D)
(Ray Charles) (Previously Unissued)

Sometime in June 1960, Jerry recorded several songs at a lively session which heralded his first recordings at the new Sam C. Phillips studio on Madison Avenue in Memphis. This has been described as a 'party session' and certainly Jerry's voice was not up to true recording standard.

Ray Charles' seminal hit of 1959 was to play a part in Jerry's chart revival in 1961 but this cut seems to have been the Killer's first shot at the song. His voice begins to break up early in the track and it could never have been a candidate for release. In fact, the tape has only recently been discovered. Jerry is in fine form stylistically - singing, talking, cajoling and pleading his way through the lyric. This track is considerably more improvisational than the released version. The sax player riffs away relentlessly and Jerry works himself Into an uncharacteristic lather. Even the engineer was impressed!

19.6 - C.C. Rider (C)
(Chuck Willis) (Not Originally Issued)

A totally successful outing with an old blues standard. This classic is usually associated with Ma Rainey who recorded it (as ''See See Rider'') in 1924. The title originally referred to a Country Circuit Rider, or preacher, who made the rounds on Sundays and had a woman in every port. The original meaning was lost by the time Chuck Willis revived the song over 30 years later and Charlie Rich used it for his first album in 1960.

Jerry's version is markedly faster but still drenched in the blues. His voice is a little hoarse but that does nothing to detract from his reading of the song. The arrangement is rock solid and the bristling tenor sax player enhances it. Jerry contributes some fine blues piano but unaccountably takes up half of his solo space with glissandi. There weren't many popular records which came this close to the blues in 1960 which is probably why it remained buried for 10 years.

19.7 - Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes (A)
(Chuck Willis) > Sun 344-B <

Working his way through the Chuck Willis songbook, Jerry applied himself to Chuck's hit of April 1958, the very month that Chuck had hung up his rock and roll shoes for good. Jerry's voice had deteriorated further as the session went on but this hardly detracts from the quality of the record. The sax is upfront, taking a fine driving solo and the whole arrangement is beautifully tight and uncluttered. Sam Phillips picked it as a single release in August 1960 but it received scant acclaim at a time when it appeared that Jerry too was going to have to hang up his rock 'n' roll shoes.

19.8 - John Henry (A)
(Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) > Sun 344-A <

A chunk of folklore, this song had its origins back in the nineteenth century, although W.C. Handy had copyrighted it as his own in 1922. Jerry's reading is worth close attention for several reasons. Don Hosea's version of ''John Henry'' on Billy Riley's Memphis-based Rita label had started getting local attention and presumably inspired Jerry to rush out a cover version.

Jerry turns in a sly performance of the old steel driving man legend in a voice that could now plainly have used a few weeks rest. Somehow the pain in Jerry's voice makes the performance all the more effective. The background is rock solid and holds a fine gospel edge with sax and guitar riffing along the 1-7, 4-7 and 5-7 chords. There's an effective sax solo and some excellent accenting on the cymbal. The performance is so well conceived that one hardly notices the short running time: the track barely clears 1 1/2 minutes.

19.9 - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (C)
(Wiley Walker-Gene Sullivan) (Not Originally Issued)

The increasingly hoarse Jerry turned in a rocking version of a song that began life as a hillbilly record for Willey Walker and Gene Sullivan. The duo had been told by Columbia to write some original material and this one was written by Wiley Walker in 1940 as he was moving his family from Oklahoma to Texas, staring at the moon as he drove across the Lone Star state. It was subsequently revived by Eddie Arnold, Elvis Presley and even given a rocking R&B interpretation by Big Al Downing.

Jerry's version is firmly in the rock and roll mould, with the sax riffing behind his vocal and the electric bass weaving in and out of everything. Jerry takes a good solo but remembers even fewer of the lyrics than Presley. He contributes one telling lyrical change, altering the tag line to the more assertive "I'll be back...".

Record 10 Side 20 ''What'd I Say'' (January 1960 to February 1961)
20.1 - When I Get Paid (A)
20.2 - Love Made A Fool Of Me (A)
20.3 - No More Than I Get (C)
20.4 - My Bonnie (C)
20.5 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget (C)
20.6 - Cold Cold Heart (A)
20.7 - Livin' Lovin' Wreck (A)
20.8 - What'd I Say (A)
Original Sun Recordings

20.1 - When I Get Paid (A)
(York Wilburn-Henry Sledd) > Sun 352-A <

Despite the bouncy rhythm of this track, its effect is strangely lifeless. Like its flipside, ''Love Made A Foll Of Me'', this title was probably recorded in two shifts, Jerry's vocal being dubbed on at a later date. Not exactly inspiring conditions under which to record. Likewise, Jerry never laid a finger on the ivories for this one. In fact, even the solo work was handled by an electric guitar and honking saxophone. True, this side might have rated an "Eight" on American Bandstand ("It's got a good beat and you can dance to it real good") but it is hardly essential Lewis material. What is noticeable is the inoffensive, non-leering vocal that Jerry turned in as the music business cleaned up its act in the early '60s. The Protestant ethic almost jumps out of the grooves. Poor Jerry, he's been working so-o-o hard.

This song opened what was at least Jerry's second session of 1960 at 639 Madison, although it is the first for which details are filed. At this time, Jerry had been banned from playing on records because of alleged non-payment of Union fines. Consequently, we find Larry Muhoberac on piano.

20.2 - Love Made A Fool Of Me (A)
(York Wilburn-Henry Sledd) > Sun 352-B <

An uninspired outing that was issued back-to-back with ''When I Get Paid'' as the least typical of all Jerry's Sun singles. There is some Cookie & the Cupcakes swamp rock in there at the start and even some late period Fats Domino but it is more strongly redolent of the lifeless ballads that haunted Presley's post-Army movies.

Larry Muhoberac played piano in a style not even remotely like Jerry's. This sort of thing used to be called a "rockaballad" by Cashbox magazine. It typically comes with an innocuous lyric and chorus, designed to offend no major element of society. The trouble is, it also fails to excite most elements as well.

20.3 - No More Than I Get (C)
(Stan Kesler) (Not Originally Issued)

Another track illustrating the less inspired side of Jerry's latter period with Sun. Gone are the days of tense, echoey, tight little three piece combos. In their place, we have a honking sax solo, prominent electric guitar figure and cymbal work supporting a rather choppy tempo. The gospel sound seems to have influenced everything in sight, most notably the chord patterns (prominent 1-4-1 's at the end of each verse; 1-6-2-5 chords to flesh out occasional two bar spaces). It's a lot more likely that these gospel touches come from Ray Charles' influence than from Jerry's own fiery Baptist heritage. The overall effect is certainly not typical Lewis fare; only the vocal makes it recognisably a Jerry Lee Lewis record, and even that overdubbed track is rather mechanical.

20.4 - My Bonnie (C)
(Charles E. Pratt) (Not Originally Issued)

Recorded towards the end of 1960 at an unidentified time, Jerry attacks this vintage opus which had been written in 1882 by Charles E. Pratt (under the pseudonym H.J. Fulmer). Jerry brings a New Orleans sounding arrangement complete with stop tempos (perhaps too many!) and persistent 5 chords between verses a la Lloyd Price. He applies his familiar gospel chord progression which seems quite alien to the original ''Bonnie''. Since irreverence is the order of the day, Jerry also has fun with the lyrics. Actually, the fun is contagious as lines like "Bring her back" become "Ship her back". To his credit, Jerry manages to bring a touch of lasciviousness to staid old Bonnie. His line, "As I laid on top of my pilla" seems to drip with longing and, lest anyone doubt his urgency, he punctuates a chorus of "Bring her back"s with the line "I'm feelin' somethin'! " Towards the end of the arrangement, the brassy background is mixed down and we get a fine sample of unadorned pumping piano.

20.5 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget (C)
(Stan Kesler) (Not Originally Issued)

Sun switched Jerry to Sam Phillips' new studio in Nashville for this session in February 1961. The sound is markedly improved despite the presence of a vocal chorus. This is partly because Jerry was recording live in the studio again and partly because he had the challenge of working with some of Nashville's finest sidemen.

Jerry's familiar piano fills are back, although they are not really highlighted and the rhythm is bouncy and precise. Jerry takes a good solo and Hank Garland's guitar has an interesting and unusual tone. If only we could have found a tape without that chorus.

Stan Kesler had written this song back in 1954 for Elvis Presley but for many years Charlie Feathers was listed as co-composer because he recorded the original demo.

20.6 - Cold Cold Heart (A)
(Hank Williams) > Sun 364-A <

This is a fine example of a well produced contemporary country record. In that regard, it remains one of Jerry's most impressive performances. Obviously, the standout element is Jerry's piano. Rarely has he played with such urgency and fervor on a ballad. In fact, rarely has anyone played that way. The piano fills on this record often border on the amazing. Not often has a country record boasted such energetic and confident counter-rhythms. There simply isn't a dull passage in the entire performance. Not to be overlooked is Jerry's vocal, which is both professional and sensitive. Even the chorus seems to support, rather than overwhelm the arrangement.

20.7 - Livin' Lovin' Wreck (A)
(Otis Blackwell) > Sun 356-B <

Jerry's first Nashville session was certainly a success. Sun used three of the four titles for single release. Easily the weakest track was ''Livin' Lovin' Wreck''. Jerry sings and plays quite well but basically this was an uncompromisingly silly song from Otis Blackwell. Like most of Jerry's teen-slanted songs, this has not weathered the years too well.

The arrangement is immediately recognisable as an early 1960s piece from the gospel-influenced opening to the unobtrusive chorus. Jerry seems constrained by the chord changes although Hank Garland fares a little better. This is one of the few times when Jerry's solo was outclassed by the guitar break. However, Jerry does manage some nice bass runs from the 5 to 1 chord between verses. His reading of the last verse is as close to 'inspired' as this performance gets.

20.8 - What'd I Say (A)
(Ray Charles) > Sun 356-A <

It says much for Jerry's ability and that of the Nashville session men that they were able to create two such different but excellent recordings as ''Cold, Cold Heart'' and ''What'd I Say'' within four hours.

Much of Jerry's early 1960s attempts to return to the changing chart scene were influenced by Ray Charles in general and ''What'd I Say'' in particular. When Jerry plays this song, the reason is clear. The material is a natural fit for his talent. In Jerry's hands ''What'd I Say'' is a resoundingly fine vocal and piano workout. The back up is uniformly fine; even the chorus enhances Jerry's vocal and the overall musical sound. Perhaps the only weak aspect of the recording is the choral work during the final part of the record. Although they hum admirably, the chorus sounds a bit shrill and white when they repeat Jerry's vocal lines. Interestingly, this arrangement omits the lascivious "Don't stop, baby" portion of Ray Charles' original.

This record took Jerry back into the pop charts for the first time in over two years, peaking at number 30.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-11 mono

In retrospect, Jerry may have tried a little too hard to hang onto his success with ''What'd I Say'' by going back to the New York songwriters pool in the Brill Building. The result was that he coupled a deliberate commercial shot (''It Won't Happen With Me'') with a hillbilly weeper (''Cold, Cold Heart'') in a rather forlorn attempt to cover too many bases at once. When that failed, he returned to the rhythm and blues groove with ''Save The Last Dance For Me'' and ''Money'' before jumping onto the twist bandwagon. It was not until he revived Chuck Berry's ''Sweet Little Sixteen'' that he found himself back in Hot 100 territory, albeit briefly. This period was largely notable for Jerry's triumphant return to England and the fact that he was now starting to return to the larger venues at home. His reputation as a consummate showman counted for much in that bland era.

Record 11 Side 21 ''Won't Happen With Me'' (June 1961 to June 1962)
21.1 - It Won't Happen With Me (A)
21.2 - C.C. Rider (S)
21.3 - I Love You Because (C)
21-4 - Save The Last Dance For Me (A)
21.5 - Hello Josephine (My Girl Josephine) (A)
21,6 - High Powered Woman (C)
21.7 - Ramblin' Rose (D)
21.8 - Rockin' The Boat Of Love (C)
21.9 - Money (A)
Original Sun Recordings

21.1 - It Won't Happen With Me (A)
(Raymond Evans) > Sun 364-B <

Chosen as the follow-up to ''What'd I Say'', this song derives from Jerry's second Nashville session and was released almost immediately after Jerry recorded it in June 1961. Hopes must have been high for this one; it's about as self-consciously commercial as anything Jerry ever recorded. It was a fine vehicle for Jerry who was able to write off all his competitors and proclaim his own virtues at the same time. The song begins in true pop-gospel fashion, moving along in a 1-6 minor progression with some simulated Raelets along for the ride. It refers to a bevy of contemporary pop stars from Fabian to Jackie Wilson. Even Elvis features in the song. Aside from its vapid pop lyric, the song is a nicely played gospel-tinged rocker with fine piano work and some very inspired drumming by Buddy Harman.

The origin of the song is interesting. Otis Blackwell is said to have written it in 1958 and sold it to Jud Phillips along with other songs for Jerry. By the time Jerry actually used it, two years later, Blackwell had apparently copyrighted the song under the pseudonym Raymond Evans. There is a complication, though; when it did appear, the song was published by Sun's Knox Music and the content referred to songs that had not been issued back in 1958 (for instance, Ricky Nelson's ''Travellin' Man'' from April 1961).

21.2 - C.C. Rider (S)
(Chuck Willis) (Previously Unissued)

A fine addition to the Lewis collection, this is a previously undiscovered alternative version of the old blues standard. It seemed to bring out the best in Jerry. Unfortunately, it is not available in its undubbed state but the voices are sufficiently far back in this particular mix to allow us to enjoy Jerry's vocal and piano and the solid rhythm work of Bob Moore and Buddy Harman. Most of this session was produced by Marvin Hughes, a former Grand Ol' Opry pianist, who may also have played piano on a couple of tracks to enable Jerry to concentrate on his singing. Clearly this is Jerry at the piano on what was probably a warm-up take.

21.3 - I Love You Because (C)
(Leon Payne) (Not Originally Issued)

This is a rollicking, good natured uptempo reading of Leon Payne's weeper. There's some open, flowing drumwork by Buddy Harman and Jerry adopts an appropriately old-timey piano style and offers a credible vocal, given the mood of the piece. Bob Moore's bass sounds suspiciously like a jug, which certainly fits the tone of this arrangement. The chorus, however, is completely out to lunch, hitting an all time low with their ludicrous "l do, I do, I do's".

21.4 - Save The Last Dance For Me (A)
(Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman) > Sun 367-A <

In his continued search for that elusive hit record, Jerry turned to the Drifers' hit from the autumn of 1960. With its notably brief running time, ''Save The Last Dance For Me'' is a consummate pop record, pitched directly at the AM radio market. The song, of course, is excellent and Jerry's version sports some crisp and lively drumwork and a pounding piano. The major drawback is the overpowering chorus.

21.5 - Hello Josephine (My Girl Josephine) (A)
(Fats Domino-Dave Bartholomew) (Original Sun LP 1265)

Back in Memphis again, Jerry turns in a fine cover version of Fats Domino's ''My Girl Josephine''. He uh-huh's and grunts his way through the mildly nonsensical lyrics. The track shows a strong bluesinfluence and contains some effective staccato saxophone playing by Ace Cannon which finds its counterpart in Jerry's vocal style. In fact, Jerry's vocal is delightfully lazy during the first two verses and the incessant rhythm behind it really builds tension. This track was rescued for Jerry's second album, issued the following year.

21.6 - High Powered Woman (C)
(Sonny Terry) (Not Originally Issued)

This sparse production is driven along in rocking fashion by Jerry's piano with Brad Suggs' guitar and Ace Cannon's sax working out nicely in the background. With a little more work this might easily have been a single release but for one thing. Anyone who had seen ''The Man With The Golden Arm'' knew that "You're the monkey on my back" was a metaphor for hard drug addiction. As such it would not have gone down too well in the squeaky clean pop music world of the early '60s when the burning question was "What's it like to go on a date with Bobby Rydell''?

21.7 - Ramblin' Rose (D)
(Fred Burch-Marijohn Wilkin) (Previously Unissued)

On his third visit to the Nashville studio, Jerry recorded another good selection of country and rocking rhthm and blues. Never to be confused with the insipid Nat King Cole track of the same title, Jerry's ''Ramblin' Rose'' was one of his strongest pop contenders. Why it, or its flipside, ''I've Been Twistin'', never became certified hits will always remain a mystery. Jerry recorded three very good takes of this song; the one included here is an out-take. Like the others, it holds up incredibly well with its sexy, incessant, blues tinged rhythm and fine drumming and piano work. Even the vocal chorus doesn't offend.

21.8 - Rockin' The Boat Of Love (C)
(Carl Mann) '(Not Originally Issued)

This was a clear attempt to revive Jerry's fortunes by adopting the soft rock sound that had succeeded for Carl Mann. Not only was the song written by Mann himself but the arrangement featured the Eddie Bush guitar style heard on Mann's discs. It would have taken more than ''Rockin' The Boat Of Love'' to resuscitate the Killer's business, though. This is a nice pop record with the recurrent punctuation from a baritone sax adding some interest but it is far from being a gutsy performance of any kind. Neither blues nor country seemed to have left their mark on this production.

21.9 - Money (A)
(Berry Gordy Jr.-Janie Bradford) > Sun 371-B <

Jerry dipped into the Motown songbook for this emerging rhythm and blues classic, first recorded by Barrett Strong the previous year. The addition of a bigger brass section was notable. When the title was included on Jerry's second album, the liner notes referred enthusiastically to Jerry "working with the big brass sound," adding, "See if you don't feel he's perfectly at home and in fact shows off the brass to great advantage." However, this arrangement went even beyond 'brassy'. The choral response line "That's what I want" is so shrill that it's hard to tell where chorus ends and brass begins.

Jerry reads the vocal against Indian wardrums and during the solo his pounding piano manages to hold its own against the piercing brass. The horns really cut loose during the fade. Listen closely to the trumpet during the final 12 bars. It was clearly not your typical Sun record but kudos must go to the Killer for recognising the potential of this song some years before the Beatles popularised it.

Record 11 Side 22 ''Won't Happen With Me'' (June 1961 to June 1962)
22.1 - I've Been Twistin (D)
22.2 - Whole Lotta Twistin' Goin' On (D)
22.3 - High Powered Woman (C)
22.4 - I Know What It Means (D)
22.5 - Sweet Little Sixteen (A)
22.6 - Sweet Little Sixteen (C)
22.7 - Hello Josephine (My Girl Josephine) (C)
22.8 - Set My Mind At Ease (C)
22.9 - Waiting For A Train (C)
Original Sun Recordings

22.1 - I've Been Twistin (D)
(Herman Parker Jr.) (Previously Unissued)

It's January 1962, there's a hula hoop in every porch and a Chubby Checker record on every portable record player. Jerry Lee Lewis was back recording in Memphis with a black rhythm section comprising R.W. McGhee and Al Jackson. The first song they attempted was an updated slice of black Memphis history, Junior Parker's ''Feelin' Good''.

Jerry recorded three fine versions of the song, the third of which is issued here for the first time as an alternative take of Sun 374. Designed to cash in on the twist craze, Jerry and the band had nevertheless done their homework. The sound of the original version is redolent in their remake, most notably in the vocal line and guitar figure. It's likely that Little Junior, or for that matter John Lee Hooker, the song's real godfather, would have smiled when they heard this.

22.2 - Whole Lotta Twistin' Goin' On (D)
(David Williams-Sunny David) (Not Originally Issued

Jerry took the twist cash-in as far as he could on this one, reworking his own classic hit in the twist idiom. The whole enterprise is doomed to comparison with the original and, of course, it's bound to come in second. Among the things we lose is the classic couplet "We ain't fakin', whole lotta shakin'." However, despite their less than pure motives, Jerry and the band really got it up for this session and they turn in a surprisingly effective performance. Who said southern rock 'n' roll couldn't be commercial in 1962?

22.3 - High Powered Woman (C)
(Sonny Terry) (Not Originally Issued)

Turning from the twist back to a popular rhythm from a couple of years earlier, Jerry had a second bite at ''High Powered Woman'' using a riff from ''What'd I Say''. The opening piano figure shows just how much Ray Charles had coloured Jerry's early '60s music; the entire track maintains a solid rhythmic gospel feel. The drumming is crisp and well recorded with impressive counter-rhythms on the cymbal. Despite its short running time, this track might have been a candidate for single release with a little more work.

22.4 - I Know What It Means (D)
(Stan Kesler) (Previously Unissued)

This alternative take of Sun 396 is an unusual combination of different elements but, as in Jerry's style, these elements manage to coalesce comfortably. The song is basically a countryish ballad although it has clear overtones of the blues. It also retains an old-timey construction which is particularly obvious in the 4-4 minor chord changes. Finally, Jerry even infuses a honky tonk feel into the material with his effective recitation. This title, dating from January 1962, was rescued from the vaults for Jerry's last single on the old Sun label in 1965.

22.5 - Sweet Little Sixteen (A)
(Chuck Berry) > Sun 379-A < 

Jerry rarely turned in a bad performance of a Chuck Berry song and this June 1962 version of Chuck's classic is certainly no exception. It even scraped into the pop charts, giving Jerry and the Sun label their last hit. It is a sol id rock and roll record with a growling electric bass sound, although the take is surprisingly laid-back compared with the tempo of Berry's original. We can hear Jerry humming along with the piano, a reassuring sign that he was in fact playing on the date. The production is extremely clean, as was typical of Sun output from this period. The swampy reverb of Jerry's output from 706 Union is long gone.

22.6 - Sweet Little Sixteen (C)
(Chuck Berry) (Not Originally Issued)

In contrast to the 45rpm version, Jerry slams into high gear for this alternative take. It is basically the same arrangement speeded up and each is effective in its own way. This one has a dynamic Lewis solo and an interesting interchange between bass and guitars. It would probably have been chosen for release back in Jerry's heyday but by 1962 the slower cut was undoubtedly more likely to succeed.

22.7 - Hello Josephine (My Girl Josephine) (C)
(Fats Domino-Dave Bartholomew) (Not Originally Issued)

The reason why Jerry returned to this song after the earlier version had been issued on his second album is not clear. This version is not better or worse, just quite different.

The rhythm is looser and encourages some free, almost jazz like vocal phrasing from Jerry. The sax has been replaced by an electric guitar which dances around the vocal lines quite effectively. There's an organ on the date which gets rather annoying at times but fails to destroy the overall sound. It's just too good. Jerry and the boys really found a groove here and it's reflected in everyone's performance. In particular, Jerry's piano solo is strikingly assertive.

22.8 - Set My Mind At Ease (C)
(Red west) (Not Originally Issued)

This is one of the very best of Jerry's later, tightly produced Sun offerings. The song is melodic, yet bluesy; the production is as tight as a Southern clan (not Klan). The drums are very well recorded and a crisp high hat rides on top of the rhythm. There's a fine, bluesy guitar to the fore and although the skating rink organ is in evidence it does not detract from the overall sound.

22.9 - Waiting For A Train (C)
(Jimmie Rodgers) (Not Originally Issued)

To round off the June 1962 session, Jerry knocked out a couple of quick takes of one of the classics of country music. Jimmie Rodgers' daughter has recalled how he would invite the hobos back to his home and he apparently wrote this song in 1929 as a tribute to the ramblin' gambl in' men who rode the freight trains back when there were trains to ride.

There have been better versions of ''Waiting For A Train'' but this is an interesting glimpse of Jerry trying to reconcile forces at a particular moment in musical history. The drumming of soul man Al Jackson was way off the mark but Jerry ignored it and sang away enthusiastically. Shirley Sisk's organ conveyed the sound of the eerie musical saw used by Rodgers.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© January 1983 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 102-12 mono

Jerry's last months at Sun were accompanied by increasing acclaim both at home and abroad. His attempts to translate this into record sales met with limited success. As the end of his Sun contract drew near, the company tried indulging Jerry by signing his little sister, Linda Gail, to a contract. Jerry and his management were intent on leaving Sun, however, and this intention became clear to Sam Phillips during 1963. His last major acts, Jerry and Charlie Rich, were leaving and Sun's glories were being rapidly consigned to the past.

At 7.00 pm on August 28, 1963 Jerry strode into the Sun studio for the last time as a contracted artist. A fresh experiment was being tried: The Killer with Strings. A few months later, Jerry's first Smash Records single, ''Pen And Paper'', was to be in a very similar style; had it been a success, Sun would have been able to rush out their titles. As it happened, it was left to Shelby Singleton to unearth them following his acquisition of the Sun catalogue in July 1969. Released six years after being recorded the results of the last Sun session had hardly dated. The session foretold, almost to the last detail, how Jerry would conquer the country charts,

A comparison between Jerry's first and last Sun sessions provides an encapsulated history of how rock 'n' roll and country music had changed in the seven years since Jerry stood on the doorstep of Sun Records demanding an audition.

Record 12 Side 23 ''Can't Seem To Say Goodbye'' (June 1962 to August 1963)
23.1 - Waiting For A Train (C)
23.2 - Good Rockin' Tonight (C)
23.3 - Be Bop A Lula (C)
23.4 - How's My Ex Treating You (A)
23.5 - Good Golly Miss Molly (A)
23.6 - I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore) (A)
23.7 - My Pretty Quadroon (C)
23.8 - Seasons Of My Heart (A)
23.9 - Teenage Letter (A)
Original Sun Recordings

23.1 - Waiting For A Train (C)
(Jimmie Rodgers) (Not Originally Issued)

This faster version of Jimmie Rodgers' classic hobo song is essentially similar to the slower version that closed the previous album. However, this time the pace is closer to Jerry Lee Lewis than Jimmie Rodgers, although Jerry retains the lilting feel of the original.

Shelby Singleton picked this one out of the can to issue as a single in 1970 when Jerry was hot on the country charts. There is much to like about Jerry's approach to the song and many seemed to agree; as Sun International 1119 it made number 11 on the charts.

23.2 - Good Rockin' Tonight (C)
(Roy Brown) (Not Originally Issued)

A song that has been reincarnated many times, including twice by Jerry for Sun. It started life in 1947 as a jump blues in the hands of Roy Brown and was promptly covered by gravel-voiced Wynonie Harris. It might have gathered dust from that point if Elvis Presley had not recorded it for his second release in 1954. Usually it is Jerry's role to rockup ballads; here he turns the tables and slows down a rocker. It's an effective rendition. Al Jackson's drums and J. W. Brown's bass are prominent while the guitar and organ are barely audible. However, it is Jerry's piano and vocal that drive the recording, setting the loping beat with a vaguely western swing feel.

23.3 - Be Bop A Lula (C)
(Gene Vincent-Tex Davis) (Not Originally Issued)

Jerry's slow left hand is joined by Al Jackson on drums, coming in off the beat! When he begins to sing, Jerry is met by a sustained churchy-sounding organ. Ever so subtly, the organ dictates the overall sound of the track. Once the drummer has his act together, which is almost immediately, he provides a solid and crisply recorded backdrop, moving nicely from high hat to crash cymbal during the piano solo. Jerry sings his own lyrics to ''Be Bop A Lula'', improvising freely as he goes along. All in all, this rendition owes precious little to Gene Vincent's classic original version. Only Jerry Lee Lewis would be so unawed by the original to spontaneously create a personalized interpretation.

23.4 - How's My Ex Treating You (A)
(Vic McAlpin) > SUN 379-B <

As one of Nashville's first professional songwriters, Vic McAlpin periodically came up with a classic. This is one of them. In Jerry's hands it is a majestically drawled country ballad with a decidedly blue tinge. J. W. Brown certainly earned his money on this track, leading off the song with a growling intro which was clearly inspired by two Marty Robbins hits of the day, ''Don't Worry'' and ''It's Your World''. The percussive bass is prominent throughout, melding with the organ. Together, these instruments represented the difference between 1952 and 1962 in country music.

Although ''How's My Ex Treating You'' did not reach the national country charts, it did well in some major markets when it was released in 1962. Among these was Dallas-Fort Worth, which may account for the wild reception that greeted the song several years later when Jerry performed it for his live album recorded in Fort Worth.

23.5 - Good Golly Miss Molly (A)
(Bumps Blackwell-John Marascalco) > Sun 382-A < 

Following his chart success with ''What'd I Say'' and the improvement in his relationship with the Union, both early in 1961 , Jerry's recording career had picked up a little. He had been in the studio twice in June and was called back in September 1961. Following successful tour appearances with Ray Charles and Jackie Wilson, sometimes at black-dominated venues, Jerry was recording more R&B and soul.

However, some you win and some you lose. This is a high energy revival of Little Richard's classic but, in many ways,.it suffers by comparison with the original. Jerry seems to be straining and on all his finest recordings he never strained. When Jerry is at his best, he drives the recording from the first bar to the final glissando. Here he seems to be driven by the tempo and the arrangement, as if trying to keep up with a runaway train. The locomotive is powered by Buddy Harman's single stroke drum rolls and an effective baritone sax. This is one of the few occasions during Jerry's stay at Sun when he deliberately coarsened his voice. There is a prodigious amount of energy here but it is imposed on the music rather than flowing naturally from it.

23.6 - I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore) (A)
(Vic McAlpin-Tommy Certain) > Sun 382-B <

Another catchy song from the pen of Vic McAlpin. Jerry's treatment takes it midway towards pop. The sax gives a bluesy feel to the arrangement and Jerry takes a fine solo before launching back into the hook. This track deserved more than the regional attention it gained at the tail end of 1962. Only the chorus (which featured Linda Gail Lewis's debut on disc) works to the detriment of the record. After reissuing the song in 1972 as the flipside of ''Your Lovin' Ways'', Shelby Singleton decided to give it a final chance. In February 1973 he erased most of the backing track and replaced it with an updated countrified instrumental track led by 'Little' Jimmy Dempsey on guitar. On the market for a third time, ''I Can't Trust Me'' failed to recapture the success of Jerry's other Sun International singles.

23.7 - My Pretty Quadroon (C)
Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Not Originally Issued)

1962 was marked by intense struggles in the old Southland over integration and civil rights. This made it a politically insensitive time to release a revival of the old hillbilly novelty, ''My Pretty Quadreen'' (a ''quadroon'' is a person of one quarter black ancestry) and Jerry's recording did not see daylight until the mid 1970's. The song has a really catchy melody which grows on the listener after a few plays. There is a heavy backbeat throughout and Boots Randolph's tenor sax shares solo honours with Jerry's piano. Jerry sings his heart out, the chorus offers obliging "a-ha's" to confirm the message and Boots really cooks on the fade-out.

23.8 - Seasons Of My Heart (A)
(George Jones-Darrel Edwards) > Sun 384-B <

In what was probably an attempt to keep Jerry under Contract, Sun signed his little sister Linda Gail to a contract. March 1963 saw Jerry and Linda Gail together in the Madison Avenue studio trying together career off the ground. Your attitude to their duet on ''Seasons Of My Heart'' will depend on your attitude to Linda Gail's singing. There is certainly nothing wrong with the song; in fact it's a country music classic. George Jones' painfully simple and heartrending original would be hard to match and Jerry might have come close but for the agonised harmony with Linda Gail. It was a great idea to treat the song as a blues, which is underscored by a sax working the bass range. There are some blues-drenched piano fills tucked away behind the skating rink organ and there's a fine piano solo too. But there's also Linda Gail...

23.9 - Teenage Letter (A)
(Renald Richard) > Sun 384-A <

Blues shouter Joe Turner, whose teenage years had ended back in 1930, recorded this song at the height of his success as a rock 'n' roller. Jerry revived it for his last single before leaving Sun. The lyric is essentially a teenage chant written by an adult, with all the banality that conveys, but Jerry gives such an animated vocal that the song turned out successfully. Backed by members of the Four Upsetters, a recently signed rock group working at Sun, Jerry gets a fine groove going. The tenor sax is straight from the King Curtis/Boots Randolph school and comes blazing in for a well constructed solo, staying with the arrangement until the end.

Record 12 Side 24 ''Can't Seem To Say Goodbye'' (June 1962 to August 1963)
24.1 - Your Lovin' Ways (C)
24.2 - Just Who Is To Blame (C)
24.3 - Just Who Is To Blame (C)
24.4 - Hong Kong Blues (C)
24.5 - Love On Broadway (C)
24.6 - One Minute Past Eternity (C)
24.7 - Invitation To Your Party (C)
24.8 - I Can't Seem To Say Good Bye (C)
24.9 - Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (A)
Original Sun Recordings

24.1 - Your Lovin' Ways (C)
(Alton Harkins-Robert Chilton) (Not Originally Issued)

With his contract running out, Sun brought Jerry into the studio for two last sessions in August 1963. This time it was for real - Sun needed a store of potential hits in case The Killer scored some major hits with his new company.

''Your Lovin' Ways'' opens with a 1-4 figure borrowed directly from LON ELY WEEKEN DS. The track maintains a sol id pop-gospel groove, generating considerable tension. There are some melodic chord changes during the release but the highlight is obviously Jerry's 1-6 minor piano solo. All the tension breaks as Jerry's right hand soars freely over the simple two chord gospel progression. The drum accents are ideal, stressing only the 2 beat rather than smashing away on the 2 and 4. It's likely that Jerry's duet, such as it is, is with Linda Gail. If so, this was li'l sister's finest work.

24.2 - Just Who Is To Blame (C)
(Unknown) (Not Originally Issued)

A driving, rousing tune, this is a consummately produced pop record with that noticeable gospel sound that cropped up in Jerry's early 1960s recordings. Like ''Your Lovin' Ways'', this title is totally devoid of country feeling or sound. Jerry offers a spirited vocal and some nice piano work, although the latter has been relegated to background status. Surprisingly, even the guitar, which takes a good solo, has been mixed down in the arrangement. Luke Wright's sax eases things along with unobtrusive riffs and the overall effect, if not strongly memorable, is catchy and listenable.

24.3 - Just Who Is To Blame (C)
(Unknown) (Not Originally Issued)

This alternative take uses the same arrangement as the other but is interesting for its completely different feel. The instruments have been mixed differently and Jerry's voice and the guitar have a harder edge. The overall drive and tempo of this version is improved at the expense of some of the throaty sax and bass lines.

24.4 - Hong Kong Blues (C)
(Hoagy Carmichael) (Not Originally Issued)

Definitely a change of pace for Jerry and something of an oddity by any standard. It's a reworking of the old Hoagy Carmichael song ''Down In Old Hong Kong'', which dates from 1939. Other than demonstrating Jerry's versatility, it's hard to know why this recording came into being. Not exactly Top 40 fare, it was wisely (at least from a commercial point of view) left in the can for over 10 years. Jerry actually turns in a good performance, including some interesting counter-rhythm work during his piano solo. Kudos to all for having attempted something so different. It raises an interesting question: How many other minor key songs did Jerry record during his Sun days?

24.5 - Love On Broadway (C)
(Ronnie Self) (Not Originally Issued)

Shelby Singleton must have thought that it was his birthday when he uncovered the tape box which contained ''Love On Broadway''. Certainly, he knew how to market it straight into the country charts. The song is a fine country weeper penned by regenerate rockabilly Ronnie Self. The only drawback is the irrelevant and distracting skating rink organ. 'The vocal chorus seems quite in place here, whereas it might have driven us to distraction on Jerry's earlier country ballads. The record made number 31 on the national country charts in mid 1971 as Sun International 1125.

24.6 - One Minute Past Eternity (C)
(Bill Taylor/Stan Kesler) (Not Originally Issued)

Jerry suffered the ultimate fate of all rockers on his very last session for Sun; the arrival of a string section. Your reaction to this lavish production will depend on your attitude toward modern country music. Certainly the country music buyers of 1969 liked it, taking it to number 2 on the country charts. The song is catchy and moves along at a brisk tempo. Jerry sings well although his piano is rather crowded out. The band included members of his then current group, together with two of Sun's more famous session guitarists, Scotty Moore and Roland Janes. Even the writers had pedigree; they were working at the Cotton Club in West Memphis when Jack Clement first brought Jerry around to hustle some gigs for him.

24.7 - Invitation To Your Party (C)
(Bill Taylor) (Not Originally Issued)

Jerry came to prominence at a time when hillbilly music was losing its artless sincerity and becoming countrypolitan slick. Although many of Jerry's fans prefer his interpretations of earlier styles in country music, this is undeniably class modern country music.

''Invitation To Your Party'' was another song by trumpeter and racounteur Bill Taylor, who had obviously adapted well to changing times. His own record for Sam Phillips' Flip label was years away from this formula country ballad. The lush string-laden production enhances the maudlin nature of the song which Jerry manages to keep credible with his pure country vocal (witness his nasal pronunciation of the word "attend"). Jerry also plays some pleasant honky tonk piano at the start and this mighthave been a fine, simple record. However, once the strings slide in, we know the voices can't be far behind. This was the first of Jerry's late Sun country songs to be released by Shelby Singleton as a single. It went straight to number 6 on the country charts in August 1969.

24.8 - I Can't Seem To Say Good Bye (C)
(Don Robertson) (Not Originally Issued)

This became Jerry's third top ten country hit in a row when issued by Sun International in April 1970. So far ahead of its time was this 1963 recording that the smart money in Nashville said that Shelby must have leased it from Mercury. Writer Don Robertson had penned songs for many artists, including Elvis Presley, and chart watchers of long standing will recall his own hit, ''The Happy Whistler''. The basic tune is slick and pretty, Jerry singing with conviction even though it is a far cry from his hillbilly roots. Unfortunately, the chorus and strings virtually embalmed the proceedings, coming close to destroying the poignancy of Jerry's performance.

24.9 - Carry Me Back To Old Virginia (A)
(Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) > Sun 396-A < 

Truly an old standard, this was written back in 1878 by a black musician (from Flushing, N.Y., no less), James A. Bland. In its original form, as ''Carry Me Back To Ol' Virginni'', it contained such endearing lines as "That's where the darkey's heart am long'd to go." Jerry's version is a striking blend of the excellent and the excessive. After a self-conscious count-off he starts in a fine stomping groove, the other instruments blending in well during a longish 6 bar intro. Jerry's vocal is strong and confident and all is going well until some refugees from a Sing Along With Mitch session come swooping in, followed by irrelevant strings. The boys keep stomping away bravely under all this, Jerry takes a fine revivalist piano solo with handclaps from the band. The song ends on a 1-6 minor gospel fade. The track was eventually chosen as the 'A' side of Jerry's last single on the old Sun label, released in 1965, two years after Jerry had moved on to Smash Records. It is a shame that the strings and chorus prevented Jerry from ending his career at Sun as he had begun it, with an exciting, stomping, uncluttered interpretation of a country standard.

Song-by-Song notes about the recordings by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce.

Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

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There was a magical moment in the movie American Hot Wax when the camera panned to a vintage Cadillac with Louisiana license plates and tail-fins so sharp you could shave on them. The unmistakable figure of Jerry Lee Lewis got out and declared "I'm here to rock and roll" His youthful raw energy had dissipated from too many nights on the road and from looking at the bottom of too many bottles but his presence was undiminished. There remained the swaggering self confidence that had seen him through the best and worst of times: backwoods poverty, global recognition, scandal, playing small clubs as a has-been and finally rekindling a career in country music. Jerry Lee has always been larger than life.

Only the greatest musicians can stamp their personality indelibly on everything they record. Jerry Lee has showcased his talent in a variety of settings; hillbilly, storming rock and roll, soul, dixieland, gospel and blues. There have been high points and low points but a Jerry Lee Lewis record is usually identifiable from the first few bars.

Jerry has been recording since 1956, mostly through two long term label affiliations,with Sun Records from 1956 until 1963 and with Mercury from 1963 until 1978. His latter day association with Elektra dissolved in a flurry of lawsuits and, at the time of writing (1983), he had just signed a pact with MCA. There can be no doubt that many of the artistic high points from this long career date from Jerry's original seven year association with Sun Records.

For years there was considerable doubt about unreleased Sun recordings. Jerry himself fueled this speculation by asserting that he had left enough material behind for 40 albums. When Shelby Singleton bought the Sun catalogue in 1969 he immediately found some sale able titles in the mountain of tape boxes he had acquired and he rode the coat-tails of Mercury's recent success with Jerry in the country charts. This was followed by tantalising glimpses of unissued masters on albums designed for the American country market. During the 1970s we discovered more tapes on visits to Nashville and more previously unissue masters were issued, but the complete story had yet to be told. Finally, 25 years after Jerry sat on the steps at Sun Records demanding an audition we have put together the story behind the recording of the 155 different titles that survive his remarkable association with the legendary Sun label.


In October 1949 when Jerry Lee was a teenager sneaking into Louisiana roadhouses to soak up the blues, Sam Phillips was opening the doors of the Memphis Recording Service at 706 Union Avenue while still working at two other jobs. In 1950 after a complete breakdown, Sam got his wife's support to concentrate on his studio and for three years he pitched masters to the rhythm and blues labels which had been proliferating since the end of the Second World War. At the same time, he was paying most of the rent by recording weddings, social functions, sermons and almost anything else on a little portable wire recorder and transcribing the results onto acetate discs.

The next logical step was to start his own label and, after a couple of false starts, Sam launched Sun Records into the rhythm and blues market. In 1953 he issued his first hillbilly record by a group called the Ripley Cotton Choppers, acknowledging the fact that Memphis was a stronger market for hillbilly than blues. As the blues scene moved north Sam realized that if he was to drive a coral coloured Cadillac like Savoy's Herman Lubinsky then it was hillbilly bop rather than the blues that would pay for it.

A year after the Cotton Choppers had disappeared back into Ripley, Sam issued his first record by Elvis Presley and he began the long uphill struggle to get his little label and distributed. The company hovered on the brink of bankruptcy until November 1955 when Phillips sacrificed the last year of Presley's contract in return for $35,000 from RCA Records .The cash settlement from RCA together with another settlement from Duke Records over Junior Parker's contract gave Phillips the resources he needed to promote Carl Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes'' and within a few months the financial picture had changed from deep red to glossy black.

Other successes during 1956 included Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison as Sun quickly joined Dot, Imperial and Cadence among the leading independent record labels. Sam hired Jack Clement as an engineer (the term 'producer' was unheard-of in those days) and Bill Justis as musical director. By the time Jerry Lee arrived in Memphis there were line-ups to audition at most times of the day and night. The mailman brought a daily crop of demo tapes, many of which remain unopened to this day. As Jerry looked enviously at the Cadillacs outside 706 there seemed to be only one essential difference between himself and the other good ol' boys. He played piano.


By late 1956 Jerry had packed a lot of living into his twenty-one years. He was barely educated, twice married and good for nothing much other than pounding his piano, which he had been doing every day for over 10 years.

Since his expulsion from the Tallahatchie Bible Institute, Jerry had been dedicated to playing music professionally despite incessant carping from both his wives. Like Perkins and Presley, Jerry had only one talent - his ability to make music and make the folks sit up and take notice.

Jerry had been playing in a variety of settings since his debut at the Ferriday Ford dealership in June 1949. By 1934 he was sufficiently encouraged by local reaction to try for the Louisiana Hayride where Elvis Presley was starting to make a name for himself. The Hayride was broadcast over KWKH and manager Horace Logan was assembling a Slim Whitman tour. Jerry auditioned and was turned down. However, Logan invited him to cut a demo in the KWKH studios and Jerry recorded If I Ever Needed You'' and ''I Don't Hurt Anymore''. He returned to Ferriday in Aunt Stella's car clutching his acetate.

Undaunted, Jerry tried to crack the country music establishment in Nashville. He booked himself a room at a dingy hotel and toured the record companies, most of whom advised him to learn the guitar One person to offer him a job was Roy Hall, a piano player and racountuur, who owned an after hours drinking house, the Musicians Hideaway. "I hired him'', said Hall, "for $15 a night. He worked from one 'til five in the morning pounding that damn piano 'til daylight. Folks would give Jerry Lee their watches and jewellery in case there was a bust, figurin' that he would be the one let off, you know, on account of his age''. After one bust Jerry left Nashville and went back to Ferriday. playing the Wagon Wheel in Natchez, Mississippi

Quite a few people have taken credit for getting Jerry to Memphis for his audition with Sun. In any event, it was a logical move and it should not have been a matter of surprise to anyone that Jerry would find himself outside Sun one day in lace 1956.

Jack Clement takes up the story from there "I remember it like it was yesterday, Sun Records was very hot. We had people flocking in from everywhere. I would watch the board while Sam would listen to the talent. But Sam happened to be in Nashville at the Disk Jockeys' Convention and I was working with Roy Orbison. Sally Wilbourn (Sun's secretary) brought Jerry Lee back to me and said, I've got a fella up here who says he plays piano like Chet Atkins', and I thought I'd better listen to that. He started playing things like ''Wild Wood Flower'' and he was strictly country. In those days, Jerry played piano with his right hand and drums with his left.

"I finally made a tape with him because he was different. We recorded ''Season Of My Heart'' but I told him to forget country because (it) wasn't happening at that time. Rock had almost devoured it. I advised him to go home and learn how to play rock music. I took his name and said I'd let Sam hear it when he got back and let him know. After he left, I started listening to the tape and I found that I liked it. It really grew on me''.

'Sam came back from Nashville and I played it for him. He dug it right away. In fact, he told me that anytime anyone came in who sounded like that I should sign him''

''I was just about to call Jerry and tell him to come back in when he walked in the door with his brother-in-law, J. W. Brown. He had written a song called ''End Of The Road''. That was on Tuesday, I told him to come back Thursday and we'd put it down. There were a couple of cats around the studio and we just sort of messed around''.

"We had all kinds of problems. We only had two musicians and the circuit breaker in the studio kept going. In fact everything was going wrong but the singing and playing was right. As a matter of fact, I started to play the master for Sam the following Monday and he listened to only the first line. He stopped the tape and said, 'I can sell that''.

"I got him jobs in and around Memphis because we wanted him to stay there. We didn't want him going back to Louisiana, We wanted him available to record''.

Sam Phillips remembers being struck instantly by Lewis talent. ''I knew if he could do anything at all, even tooth a mouth organ. I had my next star'', recalled Phillips. "He looked like a born performer''.


Sam Phillips signed Jerry to a contract after the second audition and his first single was released in December 1956, but the record was sharply different from today's industry. What were the major trends and new developments as Jerry's first record hit the stores?

Firstly, of course, the industry was dominated by Elvis Presley Who was almost an industry within himself, generating more income than most small countries. No-one else even came close.

Jerry Lee was starting out with a cover version of ''Crazy Arms'' which had been the biggest selling country record of 1956 for Ray Price and still high in the charts at year end. Remember that cover versions were an industry practice in those days. A record buyer often had the choice of three or four versions or any hit. Ray Pries original was much too close to hillbilly heaven to stand a chance in the charts and Jerry's version just got lost in the Christmas shuffle.

There were other developments, too. 10" LPs were almost a thing of the past but EPs and 12" LPs, or ''packaged products'' as the industry liked to call them, were a growing business. Their volume had doubled in 1956. 78s were losing out badly in the battle of the speeds but some markets, such as gospel, still registered up to 90% of their sales on 78s. The major record companies had taken a beating in the singles market and were concentrating on albums, even dropping their prices in an attempt to discourage the independent labels. And the first mass-produced stereo records were almost ready to roll off the presses,

Jerry Lee was also facing some stiff competition. More new records by new artists were being issued than ever before. New Iabels were springing up every week (over 150 were started in the first quarter of 1957) and the leading DJs were starting to call a halt to the practice of young hopefuls dropping into the studio clutching a copy of their latest record. There were just too many of them

And, as always, the industry was seized by crazes. At the dawn of 1957 , as Eisenhower was elected for his second term, the word was ''calypso''. To his eternal credit, Sam Phillips issued nothing that even hinted at banana boats but everyone else was caught up in the rush to dash out a Harry Belafonte sound-alike. Anyone who thinks of 1956/57 as a golden age should remember that these records sold in the hundreds of thousands while Charlie Feathers barely scraped into four figures, ''Day-O''!


Despite some solid local reaction it was obvious that Jerry's version of Crazy Arms was going nowhere. Jerry had done a little session work and had participated in the legendary Million Dollar Quartet session but he began 1957 playing local gigs. Clyde Leoppard, whose band played regularly in West Memphis, remembered Jack Clement hustling dates for Jerry. ' 'Jack asked me if we needed a piano player. I said no but I went over to meet him anyway.. ... I agreed to let (Jerry) play some that night and he stopped the dance. Man, he beat that piano sore. "

On February 23 Jerry got his first crack at a major audience when he was booked onto the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. Three weeks later he was in Kansas City at the bottom of a bill that featured Johnny Cash, the Louvin Brothers and Smiley & Kitty Wilson. Two weeks after that, he was back on the Big D with Columbia's prototype rockabilly band, Sid King and the 5 Strings.

Then, starting the next day, March 31 , he began an exhausting tour with Cash, Carl Perkins, Onie Wheeler and Glen Douglas. We have heard a lot about Sun package tours. If you look at this itinerary you can appreciate the huge distances involved between shows. They travelled the long hauls in second hand family automobiles with side trips to visit influential DJs and attend record store openings or anything else which would bring them before a few people. They began in Little Rock, Ark., where Billy Riley joined them for one show, then onto Monroe, La., Sheffield, Ala., Jackson, Miss. and Odessa, Tex. on successive days. There was a short break while Cash prayed the Big D and Perkins played the Hayride, then the trek resumed. They appeared in Abilene, Tex. on April 8 then Texarkana, Ark. and Winfield, La. They took off another week then Jerry joined Cash and Sonny James on a tour of Canada that started in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. on April 21 then swung down to Ottawa and doubled back through the West where they were joined by Wanda Jackson. The tour finished in Billings, Montana on May 5.

It was probably during this tour that Jerry first came to the attention of Sam Phillips' brother, Jud, who had rejoined Sam as National Promotion manager. "I saw in Jerry Lee Lewis something I had seen in no other artist, " recalled Jud. "The first time I really noticed him was when he was part of a tour with Cash and Carl Perkins. We stopped by at my house in Florence, Ala. to eat but Jerry sat down at the piano and started to play. I heard him play tunes like Summit Ridge Drive and tunes you wouldn't believe he had in his repertoire. I had in my mind that this was not a cat that was well rehearsed on just a few tunes. This guy had depth." So began a relationship that extended beyond Jud's on/off involvement in Sun and beyond Jerry's own Sun contract.

Before starting the tour, or possibly while Cash and Perkins were fulfilling other commitments, Jerry recorded Whole Lotta Shakin ' Goin ' On and It'll Be Me for his second single. On May 20 the record entered the Memphis charts at No. 2. Meanwhile, Bob Neal booked Cash, Sonny James, Wanda Jackson, Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee into Beaumont, Tex., for the Annual Police Show on May 23-24. Everyone who heard Shakin ' was convinced that it was a winner. Billboard reviewed the record on May 27, calling it "a sure hit... (a) driving blues shouter in the typical Sun tradition. " It was an R&B and C&W pick too.

The following week, ''Shakin''' was number I in Memphis. This was hardly a guarantee of a life free of financial worries because the next week Jerry, together with Cash and Perkins and Onie Wheeler, were playing the Annual Tomato Festival in Warren, Arkansas. Cash went from there to the Opry while Perkins and Lewis played the Big D. Jamboree. The following week there was more good news as ''Shakin''' entered the country and western at number 15. On June 24 it entered the Hot 100 at number 70, the same week as 10 year old Dolly Parton made her debut on the East Tennessee Jamboree in Sevierville.

If Jerry Lee was to capitalise on this success, he had to start playing places where people wore shoes. In an interview, Jud Phillips, who had taken over Jerry's management, explained how he came to pivot him into the national consciousness.

"I took him to New York and presented him to Jules Green who was managing Steve Allen and Henry Frankel,who was talent co-ordinator for NBC. I took a real gamble in terms of Sun Records to see whether a mass audience would accept this man. There was another big gamble in ensuring that our distributors made certain that every retail outlet in the United States had copies of ''Shakin''' so that it was available. This represented a lot of merchandise that could have been returned. "

On Sunday July 28, 1957 Ferriday's pride and joy appeared on the Steve Allen show which was only one slot behind the Sullivan show in the ratings. Jerry's first appearance on the Allen show was one of the landmarks in the history of rock and roll. Jerry pounded the piano, his eyes fixed above, with an almost religious intensity and when it came time to sing he glared at the camera with a wild-eyed fury. "Whose barn? Mah barn''! It was demonic set alongside the jugglers and ventriloquists who were the staple of television variety shows in those far off days. Two minutes later it was over but it could stay in your mind for the rest of your life. Jerry was indisputably the real thing.

Sam and Jud Phillips were in New York for the occasion. Sam took the opportunity to announce the formation of his Phillips International label and also announce that Jerry had been re-booked on the Allen show for August 11 and again when his third single was released. Sam was also on hand while Jerry recorded his portion of the movie , ''The Big Record'', later retitled ''Jamboree''. ''Shakin''', which had started to peg out in the charts around number 35 renewed its upward movement.

By mid September ''Shakin''' was up to number 10. It was number 3 best seller in the stores and number 1 in country and western and rhythm and blues. The top pop spot was monopolized by Tammy. Jerry's bookings were mildly schizophrenic. He played the rock and roll caravan tours but also played the hillbilly circuit. In September he had played at the Apollo, the hub of black music in New York City. During late October he was touring the southwest with Cash, the Wilburn Brothers, George Jones and Bobby Helms. In December he was in Chicago at Howard Miller's Rock And Roll Bash with Sam Cooke, Pat Boone, the Four Lads and the Rays.

By the end of 1957 Jerry's career was just about as hot as it was going to get. In late October his first EP was issued. It had a rivetting jacket which billed him as "The Great Ball of Fire" , anticipating his next single which hit the stores two weeks later. Billboard waxed enthusiastic and Sam Phillips even took out a rare full page advertisement couched in even purpler prose. "The original Sun Records has its own satellite, the Ball of Fire, Jerry Lee Lewis'', all this surrounded by hand drawn exploding stars and comets. Phillips, who rarely took out advertisements larger than a postage stamp, must have recouped his money two weeks later when ''Great Balls Of Fire'' swept into the national Hot 100 at number 28.

Jerry was seen coast-to-coast in ''Jamboree'' which was also released in November. To ensure the widest possible circulation, the producers had included guest shots from DJs in nearly every corner of the country and even a couple from Canada and England. Carl Perkins had been signed to the production before Jerry but his single from the movie was not even shipped until the movie had been in the theatres for a month.

At some point in October 1957 Jerry's management was taken over by Oscar Davis who had previously worked with Hank Williams and, more recently, as a front man for Colonel Tom Parker. Davis formed Jerry Lee Lewis Enterprises with Jim Denny from Cedarwood in Nashville as vice president and treasurer. One of the duo's first moves was to book Jerry on a tour of Australia with the Crickets and Paul Anka starting in late January 1958. They also got him a place on Alan Freed's tour starting at the end of March with six weeks on the road. By December 1957 ''Great Balls Of Fire'' was number 1 in most charts and with Elvis half way into the Army,Jerry was just about the hottest thing in pop music.

Jerry quickly proved that he was not a one trick pony. He had made his name as a brash rock and roller but on country ballads he could be as smooth as a travelling salesman's seduction. The real proof of his versatility lay in an ever growing pile of tapes in the corner of the control room at 706 Union but at the end of 1957 he was branded as a rock and roller. There were already pointers towards wimp pop on the horizon and Jerry would have been hard pushed to survive those times but he never had an opportunity to try. At the end of 1957 while the trade was handing out its plaudits and awards Jerry was sneaking off to Hernando, Mississippi, to marry Myra Gale Brown, his thirteen year old cousin. It was not common knowledge to even Jerry's family for a while but within six months it would just about ruin his career.


Jerry toured almost continually. His fourth single, ''Breathless'', was shipped during the middle of February. Billboard applauded his '''vigorous rendition of these two rockabilly blues" and Standard Distributors got on the wire to say that they had sold 5000 copies in two days. Alan Freed's Big Beat tour commenced at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater and headed up into the northeast and then out through the midwest. Jerry was in stellar company - Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, The Chantels, Dicky Doo, Larry Williams, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Frankie Lymon and the Pastels. The tour grossed dollars a day.

''Breathless'' moved up the charts, finally settling around number 15 in mid April. Jerry was criss-crossing the country. He was on the Dick Clark show on March 8 and the kids were invited to send in 50c together with five Beech Nut chewing gum wrappers to receive an autographed copy of ''Breathless''. The deal had been set up between Jud Phillips and Dick Clark's management and the response was overwhelming. Sun's new promotional lady, Barbara Barnes, ordered a rubber autograph stamp and everyone in Sun's tiny operation had to lend a hand autographing and mailing thousands of singles. Jerry appeared on Dick Clark again when the promotion ended on March 18.

While the promotion was in full swing, Jerry was in Chicago with the Phillip Morris country show on March 13 and then chased down to Fort Lauderdale for a show with the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and the Royal Teens. Jerry appeared in a vest trimmed with ocelot fur and made a point of combing his hair after every song. Finally, toward the end of the show he broke the piano. A few days later he was in Denver with the Four Preps, the Silhouettes, Bill Justis and Bobby Helms. Promoter Irving Granz had hidden discs by the artists all over town to whip up interest in the package. On April 10, Alan Freed introduced Jerry on NBC's ''Today'' show doing ''Down The Line''. With Elvis in the Army, Jerry became the keeper of the flame. Newspapers began referring disparagingly to ' 'Jerry Lee Lewis and his ilk" when they were taking pot shots at rock and rollers.

''Breathless'' was hardly off the radio when ''High School Confidential'' was shipped at the end of April. It was the title song from a movie, also known as ''The Young Hellions'', which tried to deal with the high school drug problem. Unfortunately, neither the script not the cast were up to addressing such a relatively serious theme. In particular, an account of the discovery of America in bop talk can make you shudder years after having seen the movie. Mamie van Doren was stupendously bad; she had been horrifying audiences with her wooden acting for four years but was now a double threat with her Prep-Capitol recording contract. The only redeeming point in the whole movie was Jerry, flanked by J. W. Brown and Russ Smith, playing the title song off the back of a flat bed truck.

At this point Jerry's marital problems began to intervene. Jerry had first married in 1952 and had tied the knot again 18 months later before divorcing his first wife. This could have been lost in the dust of Louisiana courthouse records if Jerry had not married Myra Gale who was thirteen years old when they married and departed for England.

Myra accompanied Jerry on his British tour which began on May 23. Following the first, successful, show at Edmonton on May 24 the press picked up on a chance remark by one of Jerry's management entourage about Myra being rather young. The following day reporters hounded Jerry as he and Myra went out shopping for the ting he had omitted to buy her on the occasion of their marriage. The pressmen decided that Myra was indeed rather young. Hounding a rock and roll singer who was wearing a red lined black jacket trimmed with ocelot fur and sporting an underage bride was welcome relief for Fleet Street's finest, jaded by their diet of queer politicians and embezzling clergy. Jerry was hardly a moving target for their heavy guns and within days he was greeted with derision at his concerts and cries of '''Go wheel your wife in a pram'' and ''Go home baby-snatcher''. J. Arthur Rank cancelled the bulk of Jerry's 37 date tour and replaced him with 16 year old Terry Wayne. "He's good, he's clean, he's wholesome'', declared J. Arthur. And 25 years later he's totally forgotten.

The newspapers did such a good demolition job on Jerry's career that the Lewis case was even aired in the British House of Commons. One M.P. asked the Minister of Labour whether he was, "aware that great offence caused to many people by the arrival of this man with his 13 year old bride"? The question went on to ask whether we did not have "more than enough rock and roll entertainers of our own without importing them from overseas"? Iain Macleod, the Minister, replied, "this was of course a thoroughly unpleasant case, which was ended by the cancellation of the contract and the disappearance of the man".

This criticism showed none of the understanding which was reported to have been contained in the Immigration Officer's report on Myra: ''she was travelling on her own passport; this showed her surname as Lewis, and the space for occupation was blank although she described herself on the landing card as a housewife. It was noted that the date of birth in her passport was 11 July 1944. This seemed to be an unusually young age for a married woman, but since both parties came from the south-east part of the United States, where the legal age for marriage is lower than is usual in other parts of the world, no action on my part seemed to be called for".

A few weeks after Jerry arrived back in the States he signed an advertisement placed in all the music publications billed as an ''Open Letter''. Some passages rang false with excessive modesty, "I sincerely want to be worthy of the decent admiration of all the people, young and old, that admired what talent (if any) I had..'' but the final paragraph contained these words. "I can cry all I want to but I can 't control the press or the sensationalism that these people will go to to get a story started to sell papers. If you don't believe me then you can ask any of the other people who have been victims of the same''.

Alan Freed, who was to be a victim of another scandal a few years later, defended Jerry on CBS TV on May 31 saying that jazz musicians and the Hollywood crowd were far worse. "Jerry's a country boy'', added Freed, "and Tennessee boys get married quite young. This was courageous, particularly when compared with Dick Clark who hastily disowned Jerry, but it missed the point that no-one had complained about the age at which Jerry had married. Elvis Presley, who barely lived to see the scandal that years later began erupting around himself, offered a rather limp wristed defense, ''I'd rather not talk about his marriage, although I guess if he loves her it's alright''.

The whole situation was made worse by Jerry's management who booked him into the Cafe de Paris in New York as a belated stab at respectability. Jerry was resplendent in a spangled tan suit and played ''Johnny B. Goode'' and ''You Win Again'' before launching into his hits. He introduced every song in the same way, "And now we'd like to do a little number we have on record and it goes something like this... ".Almost nobody showed up and the engagement was cancelled by mutual agreement after the second show on opening night. Jerry returned to Memphis to lick his wounds.

He still had a sizeable hit with ''High School Confidential'' which had leaped into the Hot 100 at number 34 and reached number 25 before fading away. George Klein and Jack Clement concocted ''The Return Of Jerry Lee'' which was designed as a radio-only platter and shipped to DJs in the middle of June. "We think it's a cute disk'', commented Sam Phillips. "It makes light of the British episode which is the way we think the whole thing should be treated anyway''. The record was released commercially but went nowhere.

The vinyl flood from Sun continued unabated. Jerry Lee's first album was also shipped in June and was followed in short order by three EPs drawn from it. Two previous album compilations had been canned together with the six EPs that were to have been drawn from them. This accounts for the fact that Sun's first EP, ''The Great Ball Of Fire'', was numbered EPA 107. The previous six EPs had been scheduled but not pressed.

After waiting a couple of months for the furore over his marriage to die down Sun released Jerry's version of ''Break Up'' which was introduced to the industry in Barbara Barnes' Sun Liner as a "calming down''. It went quickly to number 50 in the Hot 100 and then declined. The flip side, ''I'll Make It All Up To You'', made its debut in the country charts during the week that ''Break Up'' disappeared from the pop charts but the single had died in all markets by the following week. By August the trade papers were already asking "Whatever happened to Jerry Lee Lewis''?

It was the beginning of twilight time for Jerry and despite grandiose expansion plans which were announced at this time, Sun was reeling from the loss of Johnny Cash in September 1958 and from the lack of artists to replace the departed hitmakers. The industry was changing and most of the new faces at Sun did not have the talent to dominate and lead the musical scene. Bill Justis and Jack Clement were sacked in the Spring of 1959 and Sun's new contenders simply failed to develop any lasting clout in the marketplace which was again dominated by the majors.

Jud Phillips had also departed and set up Judd Records in August 1958. In June 1958 he took over Jerry's management which had been in limbo. Jerry had been booked onto a tour of small halls in Texas with Carl Perkins but otherwise little had been heard from him. In November he joined a galaxy of stars in a memorial concert for Carl's brother J.B. Perkins, who had died in October leaving a wife and family without support. Among the other participants were Ernest Tubb, Webb Pierce, Porter Wagoner, Merle Travis, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Sonny Burgess, Slim Rhodes, Jean Shepard, Dicky Lee, Thomas Wayne; Curtis Gordon and Johnny Cash,who travelled in from his new base in California. Quite a show.

The year closed on a sorry note for Jerry. Another single, ''It Hurt Me So'' b/w ''I'll Sail My Ship Alone'', had been released. As a promotional gimmick to get the record in the stores Jud arranged for a limited edition of 100,000 bearing the number SUN 312-A to be shipped at a royalty and profit free price of 16c. Jud handled the orders himself from his home in Florence, Alabama. However, it showed no signs of rekindling the man's career. In Jerry's own words, "From $ 10,000 a night to $250 a night is a hell of a disappointment''.

Realistically, the fiasco in England had done no more than expedite the inevitable. Jerry was almost the last of a dying breed. Hard rockers were becoming noticeably absent from the charts and the radio. Middle America was fighting back with a vengeance and Jerry Lee with his blues drenched music, his ocelot trimmed coat, unseemly long hair and wild and woolly ways stood as much chance as a snowball in hell of surviving the new market conditions. It is true that Elvis survived but he had a stint in the Army to improve his image, more versatility as a performer, a sharper manager and the concern of RCA to protect their investment. He also forsook the shaking music, which Jerry never has.


1959 got off to an indifferent start. Another single was released in February and Sam took out full page adverts to promote Jerry's ''Big Blon' Baby'' (''Jerry Lee's Back and Sun's Got Him") and a single from the departed Johnny Cash. Jerry's record went nowhere; Cash's did quite well.

Nevertheless, Jud had all kinds of plans for Jerry. He filed a report with the media from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in April 1959 saying that he had put Jerry on tour with his Judd Records act Cookie and the Cupcakes, who were unknown at that point. "He's been doing real well'', enthused Judd. "We've got big plans a foot''. These plans included a tour of Australia in the unlikely company of Sammy Davis Jr, followed by the possibility of dates in Hawaii, Tokyo, Alaska and the West Coast. On a personal note, Jud added that Jerry's son, Steve Allen Lewis, was born a few weeks previously.

Jerry's career was now seriously in the doldrums. It was obviously time for a change in direction. Sam was having some success with Carl Mann in the soft rock vein and he talked in May 1959 about the changing climate. "The kids got tired of the ruckus'', declared Sam, "and we're moving to a period of greater variety of taste. But rock and roll has engraved itself on pop music and its beat, somewhat subdued, will remain a requisite ingredient and may even invite at some early stage the return of authentic rhythm and blues. " By this time Sam was a millionaire owning two radio stations, a zinc mine in Arkansas and oil properties in Illinois. He was also on the point of opening his third radio station in Lake Worth, Fla. It followed the format of WHER in Memphis; all female announcers and an easy listening policy. The call letters of the new station were WLIZ ("You'll love LIZ - LIZ loves you"). Changing times indeed.

It looked as though the train had gone and Jerry had been left standing at the station. If it had not been for a couple of sound career moves a few years later Jerry might have been eternally condemned to playing his greatest hits for drunken yahoos in small halls throughout the South.

Jerry's next single was a double sided stab at the pop and country charts. ''The Ballad Of Billy Joe'' was an answer disc to Johnny Cash 's monster gunfighter ballad of that era, ''Don't Take Your Guns To Town''. The other side, ''Let's Talk About Us'' made a small dent in a few charts but there was still a boycott of Jerry's singles by some stations and neither side did as well as it deserved.

This was the low point in Jerry's career. He bowed out of the tour of Australia with Sammy Davis Jr. and went back to Louisiana. He was also having problems with the Musicians' Union. "Oscar Davis had left'', recalled Jud, "and created a lot of difficulties that Jerry was accused of and Jerry was out of the Union''. Totally discouraged, Jerry told the media that he was going fishing.

Sun issued one more single in 1959; a revival of the previous season 's Chuck Berry hit, ''Little Queenie'', coupled with ''I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You''. Two key words in the Billboard review of September 28 highlighted Jerry's problem during this period: "Powerful outings that with exposure, could easily coast in''. (Our emphasis).

The media, who controlled his chance of getting another hit, had not forgiven Jerry for flaunting convention. There were more cheap shots when a 'comedian' appeared on the Ed Sullivan show and talked about rock and rollers running the government. Jerry Lee, sneered, he would be responsible for child welfare.

During this period Sam Phillips was completing work on his new studio on Madison Avenue, which set him back $400,000, and his growing chain of radio stations. The first sessions in the new studio were cut in late October 1959 although the old facility on Union was still used during the early months of the following year. Bill Fitzgerald had joined Sun from ''Music Sales One Stop'' in August 1959 and he went on the road with promo man Cecil Scaife in February 1960. They were pushing new titles by Charlie Rich, Carl Mann, Johnny Cash, Tracy Pendarvis and Mack Owen. Where was Jerry?

Jerry was reportedly completing his third movie. ''Young And Deadly''. No-one can remember much about this movie which could be because it was a long time ago or because it was never completed or released. A trade magazine dating from March 1960 mentioned it in the same breath as Conway Twitty's unforgettable appearance in ''The Teacher Was A Sexpot'' co-starring (you guessed it) Mamie van Doren.

There were four singles released during 1960. Three of them sank without a trace; the fourth was released under a pseudonym on the Phillips International label. The motives for this were obvious. It would avoid the partial radio blacklist and neatly sidestep Jerry's problems with the Union. Also, another countrified piano instrumental, Floyd Cramer's ''Last Date'', was hitting the high spots at that time. The record started getting a little action in New York but did not gather momentum. Some Sun insiders attributed this to the unmasking of Jerry's identity but the real reason is probably that it was released too late. Ernie Fields' revival of ''In The Mood'' had been released in June 1959 and by autumn 1960, when Jerry's version was shipped, there were reissues and cover versions by Crazy Otto, the Andrews Sisters, the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm Band, Jerry Gray, Johnny Maddox and probably others. It was simply overkill. Too late for another cover version and too early for another revival.


January 1961 found Jerry in the frozen north playing his greatest hits to scant acclaim at the ''Coq d'or'' in Toronto. The gig was not even advertised. He seemed to have resolved his problems with the Union, though. In February Jerry became the first act to record at Phillips' new Nashville studio. The new facility was previewed in November 1960 and opened in February in what was becoming the Music City Row area. Billy Sherrill, rescued from near starvation in an rhythm and blues band, was manager and in-house producer.

Jerry seemed to be back with a vengeance. Less than three weeks after the session Billboard had a copy of ''What 'd I Say'' in their hands and were enthusiastic: "It's been a long dry spell for Lewis but this outstanding rendition of the old Ray Charles song can bring him back with the proper push. Lewis's pumping piano work is tops and the vocal matches it. This can go''.

Two weeks later the record started getting a lot of action in New York and on April 3 it entered the Hot 100 at number 89. Sun backed up this action with a concerted promotional effort ("He's back with a big one") and by the middle of May it had reached number 30.

Jerry seemed to be back on the rails again. He had new management, National Attractions in Memphis, and there was talk of a reunion with the dethroned Alan Freed for a tour of Europe. In the fall he toured in a "Battle of the Century" with Jackie Wilson, following his appearance in a 10 day festival at the scene of one of his greatest triumphs, the Brooklyn Paramount theatre. However, this was not supported by much national chart action. The follow-ups to ''What'd I Say'' largely failed to make a dent.

Jerry was in a dilemma. He did not write his own material and depended on revivals or submissions. Because he did not hit the charts with regularity he did not get a crack at the cream of the new songs. This in turn reduced his chances of placing a record on the charts.

The year ended on a happier note than the previous two or three but Jerry was still a long way from recapturing sustained success. Others had seen their careers suffer too. Almost everyone who had worked with him on Alan Freed's Big Beat tour in 1958 was scuffling. Chuck Berry was playing fraternity dances on Southern campuses and went into the slammer in February 1962. Larry Williams and Screamin' Jay Hawkins were back playing the small halls, Frankie Lymon was cultivating the drug habit which would kill him in 1968 and Buddy Holly had died in 1959. Freed himself faced trial in September 1962 and died three years later. Only Big Dee Irwin who had played the bottom of the bill with the Pastels in 1958 had a hit record in sight. Would you like to swing on a star or would you rather sing in a bar?

The Mercury hierarchy in Chicago was making some changes which would affect Jerry in the long term. In March 1961 Shelby Singleton and Jerry Kennedy, who would produce virtually all of Jerry's Mercury albums, moved from Shreveport to Nashville. In the same month Mercury reactivated the Smash label (which was a Nashville indie they had bought in the late 1950s) and started the policy of signing faded hit-makers from the 1950s, such as Clyde McPhatter. Jerry's turn was not too far away.


Jerry Lee's contract with Sun was due to expire on September 6, 1963. The records still kept coming, usually coupling an uptempo rhythm and blues song with a slower country number. This formula netted one minor success when ''Sweet Little Sixteen'' made a small dent in the bottom of the Hot 100. The country side ''How 's My Ex Treating You'' was a regional break-out in Dallas-Forth Worth in mid September 1962 but it never gathered momentum from there.

Jerry's second, and last, Sun album was also shipped in 1962, a pot-pourri of titles recorded between 1957 and 1961. Sam Phillips never really came to terms with the age of the long playing record. By comparison, Fats Domino had fifteen albums to his name by mid 1962.

These were lean times for Sun. The hits had dried up and some distributors were not paying. This meant that Jerry's records were sometimes poorly distributed because Sam would refuse to ship to a delinquent account. In order to get around this problem Sam entered into discussions with Mercury in late 1962. He envisaged a wide ranging deal in which Mercury would act as a sales agent for Sun product and lease the studios in Memphis and Nashville. The reality of Sun's situation was obvious. "Generally speaking''', said Sam at the time, "I feel that the business is going to have to consolidate. The big companies are the only ones who can do an effective job of distribution. The distribution will wind up in the hands of the bigger companies while the creative aspect will be in the hands of the independent producers or smaller labels". This arrangement was working well between Stax and Atlantic and Hi and London. Sun's new releases were held up awaiting outcome of the discussions but the deal was never finalised.

Shortly after the negotiations broke off Sun issued Jerry's revival of ''Teenage Letter'' coupled with his version of ''Seasons Of My Heart'', poorly harmonized by his sister, Linda Gail. Sun announced that Linda Gail had been signed to a contract and a single was planned but never issued.

Jerry and Jud visited England again in May 1962. Here is Jerry's own account of opening night in Newcastle:

"I was very worried indeed. I knew this was one of the most important nights of my career. After the incident four years ago I was determined to make a comeback in England. I knew I could do it but would the fans accept me? I was just as prepared to be booed off the stage as I was to receive a quiet reception. I can't tell you how worried I was. I was setting off onto something that was important to me and could be a disaster''.

''What happened? (It) was great. I was shivering in my boots when I arrived at the theater. First sign I had that things could be alright was when I was mobbed for autographs. Then there were big banners saying ''Welcome back Jerry Lee Lewis". It was one of the great moments of my life''.

"On stage I really seemed to wow them. I have never had a reception like that. No sir, not even in the States. They really gave me a big hand. It has been a life ambition of mine to be a success in Britain and, after everything, I feel this has really happened. Everybody is really starving for action, not only in Britain but in the States. When the kids go to a concert they don't want to hear what they hear on records alone. They want to see some action and that's what I try to give them''.

On his return to the States Jerry was back playing the small clubs. At the end of October he was playing the Peppermint Lounge West in Pittsburgh. At the end of the year his management contract with National Artists Attractions expired and he signed with Conway Twitty's manager, Don Seat of New York, but that pact fell apart in April 1963 and after contemplating going it alone he finally signed with Frank Casone in Memphis. In April 1963 he was back on the plane to England for two weeks followed by two weeks in Germany. Returning to New York Jerry declared that it had been ' 'the greatest of the three tours I've made. They stormed the stage every night''.

Jerry was still a dynamo on stage as anyone who witnessed those European tours in the early 1960s will recall. He was starting to generate a lot of interest again but it was not being reflected in record sales. It was obviously time for a major career change.

On arriving back in Memphis he was greeted by Casone with a champagne buffet at the Oriental Lounge which Casone owned and where, it was announced, Jerry would be playing when he was not on the road. Casone's style seemed to be a little more forceful than Jerry's previous managers. "Las Vegas offered me $2500 a week for Jerry. I told them that if they couldn't reach $ 10,000 a week - Forget it''. Casone also booked him into the Chez Paree nightclub in Chicago and started talking to MGM about the leading role in the Hank Williams bio-pic, ''Your Cheatin ' Heart'', which was being cast at that time.

The good times seemed to be returning. In July Jerry was back at his old stomping ground, the Cadillac Club in Memphis, where he was mobbed every night. Casone was also opening negotiations with Mercury, Columbia, Liberty and RCA for a new record deal when the Sun contract expired. Sam Phillips sensed what was happening and brought Jerry into the studio for two successive sessions at the end of August. A third album was projected for release in late 1963. The previous month Phillips had lost Charlie Rich to RCA and when it became obvious that Jerry would not re-sign with Sun Sam lamented that "the present state of competitive bidding among major labels will ruin the independent record companies''.

On October 5, 1963 seven years of crazy history ended when Jerry signed with the Smash division of Mercury Records. He immediately went into the studio to recut his greatest hits.


Jerry's departure from Sun almost coincided with the end of the label itself. There were another 20 releases spread out over four years, most of which were for local consumption. Among these was Jerry's version of ''Carry Me Back To Old Virginia'', released in August 1965 when he started getting a little reaction to his revival of ''Rockin ' Pneumonia'' on Smash.

In 1968 Jerry Lee and Jud Phillips were reportedly trying to buy back Jerry's old Sun masters but the deal was never consummated. "We thought we had a deal'', recalled Jud. "We all met one Sunday morning and agreed on a price and then the only thing to work out was the mode of payment. The idea was for us to release these tracks on the Jerry Lee Lewis label with Mercury distributing but... the next thing we know, (Sam) sold out to Shelby Singleton''.

Shelby bought the Sun catalog on July 1, 1969. It was a propitious moment to acquire Jerry's back catalogue because Jerry Kennedy had apparently made a tacit deal with some big wheels in country and western radio programming that gave Lewis's new country records a much wider exposure. It made the man almost a permanent fixture in the country and western charts for the next 10 years. When Shelby looked inside the mountain of tape boxes that arrived in the truck from Memphis he found some very saleable country titles that sounded as though they had been recorded yesterday. He lost no time in getting them on the market and scored major hits in the country charts with titles like Waiting For a Train and ''I Can 't Seem To Say Goodbye''.

Jerry may never again become a regular contender in the pop charts but he has become an institution. Despite his success in the country market he has always referred back to his classic hits on Sun Records, Before we start looking at these recordings in detail we would like to offer a few thoughts on his hugely influential style.


This is how Jerry explained his unwillingness to write more songs. As a consequence, he has relied throughout his career on his ability to interpret other writers' work. He has often relied excessively on revivals of other artists' hits or, more recently, on songs generated from within his own publishing company or from drinking buddies. His revivals and cover versions have not always eclipsed the originals, especially during his last few years with Sun when he was working with rhythm and blues material. In part, the problem was that he was dominated by the arrangements rather than vice versa. By comparison, his earlier recordings had emerged spontaneously in the studio down to the final glissando or crashing chord.

Jerry's unwillingness to write his own material is really our loss because his conversation is peppered with striking, if occasionally profane, images. His poor memory for lyrics has forced him to extemporize on many songs but he has rarely taken the final step of creating his own material.


That line from ''It Won 't Happen With Me'' hinted at the comparisons with Elvis that have dogged Jerry for 25 years. Perhaps Jerry was never quite ready for prime time. It's hard to imagine him in ''Blue Hawaii''. Would he have drawled "Listen to ol' Jerry, darlin''' in the middle of the ''Hawaiian Wedding Song''? Could he have sung ''Can 't Help Falling In Love'' without giving his co-star an outrageous leer that would have got the movie an 'X''' rating? Did he belong on the same beach with anyone other than Jaws?

Quite simply, Jerry had too many rough edges to sand down. If he had wanted a career to parallel Elvis then he would not have married Myra. Someone in his entourage, if not Jerry himself, must have known that he was flirting with disaster when he married a thirteen year old cousin. He had spent a few months looking at the bright lights, he must have known that a few conventions altered north of Natchez. It goes hand-in-hand with Jerry's personality. He is an open book. He could not have participated in the elaborate cover-up of a bizarre life style that Elvis achieved.

Jerry is a meat man and has never tried to hide it. His overt sexuality played a part in frightening away part of his potential market. Jerry was not in the least cuddly; in fact, he was almost intimidating. Elvis and Ricky Nelson had learned how to be sexy without being threatening. They had also mastered cloyingly tender ballads which were in a different league from the gritty hillbilly laments that Jerry turned to when the situation called for a ballad.

He paid the price. By the time Jerry left Sun his market had shrunk.


Jerry Lee was one of the first artists to bring the piano to the forefront in rock and roll. Fats Domino had been stomping away to the delight of the teens for a few years but he brought none of the calculated fireworks to his act that became Jerry's trademarks.

By the time Jerry's first record appeared Sam Phillips had dubbed his style the ''Pumping Piano'' which probably referred as much to the pumping action of Jerry's arms as he played. Whatever the origin of the phrase, it stuck with him until almost the end of his career on Sun.

Jerry's style seemed to be fully developed by the time he arrived at Sun. It was a unique blend of backwoods boogie woogie, rolling church music, honky tonk and the blues. His playing was already laced with the distinctive trills and glissandi that have become his trade marks and made him one of the instantly recognizable instrumentalists in rock and roll.

Jerry has borrowed liberally from boogie woogie with its distinctive rolling left hand and occasionally complex cross-rhythms. He also has shades of honky tonk (which was the style originally associated with movies about the gold rush era) and honky tonk pianist Del Wood definitely had an influence on his playing. Del had one of the first hits in country music with a piano instrumental which must have inspired Jerry to keep pounding those keys. When he moved to Nashville in 1955 they became friends.

Of course, Moon Mullican was an influence although he played with considerable restraint. In fact, there was hardly a long tradition of country pianists for Jerry to draw upon so his style probably emerged spontaneously as he tried adapting his favourite songs to the piano. When rock & roll took over, his style became more percussive to the point where it could drive rivets through steel plate but even within the confines of rock and roll his playing retained the delicate balance between flash and filigree that makes him such a unique stylist. His stage act and his unique piano style have influenced every rock and roller who ever sat down before a piano, including Elton John and Billy Joel.


Jerry Lee Lewis left Louisiana in 1956 overbrimming with talent and unbridled, sometimes misdirected, energy. Nothing can detract from his achievements, not even his weaker recordings or lacklustre appearances later in his career. His earlier recordings set a standard that he could never hope to match or even continue as the musical climate changed around him. He could not work in a time warp. For a few years there was the magical combination of boundless talent, favourable market conditions, unsophisticated recording techniques and hugely symphathetic supporting musicians.

Would Jerry have made the same recordings if he had been snapped up by a New York label and force fed with songs about summer romance and teenage angst from the Brill Building?

For the first time, all of his Sun recordings have been brought together and placed alongside some illuminating out-takes to show the full dimensions of Jerry's remarkable talent. The vagaries of his personal life are inconsequential when set against the achievements of his career. The ruined marriages, bigamies, wrecked automobiles, booze and pill consumption, personal tragedies and in unfathomable religion only became significant because Jerry made these great recordings. It is now 25 years since Jerry was banished from England and replaced with Terry Wayne. It is almost 20 years since Joey Dee was the delight of the wee ones at the Peppermint Lounge while Jerry was playing in godawful Pittsburgh at the Peppermint Lounge West as a "has been". Talent is the ultimate criterion,which is why Jerry is still looming and Joey Dee and Terry Wayne have been relegated to outdated catalogues and trivia lists.

As usual, Sam Phillips had the last word when he dubbed Jerry THE GREATEST ROCKER OF THEM ALL.


Jerry Lee Lewis's records for Sun represent the artistic high points of his career. This is hardly surprising; it seems to be true for the large majority of artists who recorded for Sun before moving on to a major label (e.g. Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash).

What, though, are the qualities of Jerry Lee's records that retain their power a full quarter of a century after they were made? Some of the answer lies with Jerry Lee himself. He was fresh, enthusiastic and unsullied by the years, miles and disappointments. Moreover, he was still riddled by the inner conflicts about making the "devils music" , which fed his creative fires.

Credit must also be given to the musicians who worked with Jerry Lee during his peak years at Sun. Roland Janes' guitar breaks may not always have been the tastiest in the land, but he knew the ins and outs of Jerry Lee's music. He knew when to bear down and when to lay back and he sensed, with clairvoyant precision, just where Jerry Lee was headed at all times. Jimmy Van Eaton shared this telepathy and managed to provide an incessantly full and driving rhythm section. It was a good thing, too, because his drumming typically constituted the entire rhythm section.

But a large measure of artistic credit must also go to that little piece of real estate located at 706 Union, and to the very special conditions which it brought to the recording process. For one thing, the sessions at the Sun studio were legendary for their informality. The refreshment flowed and time passed unnoticed. Experiments were welcome and many - in the form of unusual material or arrangements - survive to this day. When someone suggested "Hey, why don't we try..." to a roomful of well lubricated friends at one in the morning, they didn't take much convincing. Provided the tape was running, history was made.

On many occasions they were warm-up takes, serving roughly the same function as Elvis's gospel recordings made prior to his movie soundtrack sessions. But in Jerry's case there was a deeper reason. Sam Phillips and Jack Clement had the good sense to turn Jerry loose in the studio. Jimmy Van Eeaton explained, ''Whole Lotta Shakin'' came about the way. It was a song that Jerry had been doing in the subs where he was playing. It was a monstrous hit and I think they were searching for something else that might be in the back of his mind. Sam would just ask him, ''Look, just do any of those old songs''. The big question was obviously what other musical gems lay buried in the fertile memory of Jerry Lee Lewis? These musical experiments, examples of which are heard for the first time in this collection, were certainly spontaneous jams - but not simply for the hell of it. Always there was the possibility that Jerry would incidentally create another multi-million seller.

The studio provided more than just Fortunately, it was too small for many instruments; overproduction was out of the question (although examination of recently discovered original Sun tapes reveals that Jack Clement actually carried out a lot more overdubbing than anyone had realised). The main quality of the Sun studio was a special kind of echo. Not the big Spacey kind found in more technically advanced studios. Rather, Sam Phillips and Jack Clement used a primitive tape delay or "slapback" technique. This kind of echo has very special properties which both Sam and Jack developed to an art form.

Modern echo is like looking down the wrong end of a telescope. It tends to separate the listener from the sound and gives the illusion of one lonely voice or instrument bouncing back and forth off the walls of the cavern. It is echo without intimacy. When the instrumentation is sparse to begin with, as it nearly always was at Sun, modern echo accentuates the shortcomings of the recording: It ends up sounding very sparse. Slapback echo, on the other hand, turns the telescope around. The listener is drawn into the small room; voices and instruments vibrate together. The sound is actually enhanced and magnified. Every detail reverberates together and fuses. In fact, early Sun records pre-date Phil Spector's "wall of sound" by about ten years.

Nowhere is this more in evidence than on Jerry Lee's first records. Listen closely to ''Crazy Arms'' , ''Whole Lotta Shakin''' or ''Great Balls Fire''. New listeners are usually surprised to learn that the fullness of these records has been produced by essentially two instruments - piano and drums. Part of the magic of the opening two bars of "Whole Lotta Shakin"' is the reverb on Jerry Lee's piano. How many people have thrown away years of classical training and pounded away on the family upright trying to produce that sound? And reached the same conclusion. It can't be done. The notes are there, all right, but the driving, pounding sound of that Sun record came from miking the piano just fight and feeding the sound back upon itself at just the right rate in order to fatten it up. By the time the drums join in and Jerry Lee begins to sing, the record is throbbing with its own hypnotic life. Words like "pounding" or "incessant" don't even scratch the descriptive surface. In a sense, the entire record is a rhythm section. No wonder Jerry Lee's vocal or piano glissandi work so well; anything that moves in counterpoint to or breaks the underlying tension is bound to succeed.

For those who have wondered why recreations of original hits nearly always fail, it pays to consider that, aside from the artist's obvious lack of enthusiasm, the modern 16 (or 24) track production will be as likely to generate the original Sun sound as Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra did on the Beatles' greatest hits. In short, Nashville's (or Los Angeles') finest are no match for 706 Union. Whether they happened by design or by accident, the recording techniques at 706 were quite innovative for the mid-1950s. The battle to record voice and guitar with echo had only just been won. No-one had ever considered that piano and drums, instruments which thrived on clarity, might also snake their way through a tape delay circuit!

By June, 1960 Sun had left 706 Union and was trying to tame the studio at 639 Madison. It's a battle they never won during the lifetime of the label. A number of Jerry Lee's final sessions for Sun were recorded in Nashville. This studio was surely better than the one on Madison, but was still more sterile than 706 Union. To make matters worse, by the early 1960s, some of Jerry Lee's fire had been quenched by public disdain. He had fallen very far, very unfairly, and in far too brief a time. Also to produce a credible record in the early 60s, Jerry Lee depended upon a fuller production. Slapback echo was no longer there to fill in the gaps. Although Sun sessions were beginning to draw upon musicians who were among the finest in the business, they lacked the deep rapport that Jerry Lee had shared with his original

Memphis sidemen. If not for the best, it was at least inevitable that rock and roll was no longer the primitive liberating force it had been in the 1950s. The throbbing sound of slapback echo born at 706 Union had given way to modern technology which substituted competence and precision for primal enthusiasm. 



Compiled by Martin Hawkins and Cliff White in conjunction with Colin Escott and Barrie Gamblin with help from Hank Davis and John Pearce. Revised from the original research of Martin Hawkins and Colin Escott. Revision(1983) based on aural and notated evidence from recently revealed 'out-take' tapes matched against previously known recordings and session files. The sometimes conflicting or cloudy memories of people involved with the sessions have also been taken into account. Jerry himself would have been only too pleased to have helped but cannot rightly recall anything about the sessions except that he starred on them. Which is as it should be. This format of the discography specially prepared for this box set and introduced by
Cliff White.

There are several different ways we could have compiled this set of Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings. One alternative, for instance, would have been to first run all of Jerry's original Sun issues in chronological order of release, follow those with all of his other Sun recordings that have subsequently been issued, and finish up with the best of the previously unissued out-takes. It would have been an easy option to compile but unless you're equipped with a home computer and fertile imagination it wouldn't have helped you follow the ebb and flow of Jerry's vital seven years with Sun Records.

Far more relevant, logical and interesting, in fact the only sensible option, we decided, was to compile the whole set in chronological order of recording. To do that it was essential to refer to an accurate session discography. The only trouble was, no such thing existed.

Compiling such discographies is almost the  life's work of a select breed of dedicated archivists, and even they only usually come close to perfecting their craft when dealing with the careers of artists who recorded for companies that systematically filed most of the relevant information in the first place. Fortunately for the music, but unfortunately for the researcher, Sam Phillips was as informal in his administration of Sun Records as he was in his approach to recording sessions.

When originally researching Sun for their books, ''Catalyst - The Sun Records Story'' (revised and republished as ''Sun Records'') and ''The Sun Session File'' (shortly to be republished in revised edition), Colin Escott and Martin Hawkins found that a fair amount of Sun recordings had been logged as dated sessions, complete with personnel details, and filed accordingly with the American Federation Of Musicians. In retrospect it seems as if some of that data might be inaccurate, or at least open to doubt, but even more tantalizing are the Sun recordings for which no session details have survived, if indeed they were ever logged and filed in the first place. Foremost among the recordings for which all ''official'' information is missing are those made by Jerry Lee Lewis during his first two years with Sun.

When the previously unknown out-take tapes recently came to light we found, surprise, surprise, that most of them stemmed from the very two year period on which earlier research had drawn a blank. It was an important discovery on two counts: primarily because the performances were bound to be, at worst, fascinating to hear after all these years or, at best, downright brilliant; secondly because we could at last attempt to ink in the missing parts of the discography.

A few bits of information about Jerry's early Sun recordings were already common knowledge or had recently been independently researched by biographers Nick Tosches and Murray Silver: the release dates of the recordings that were issued at the time; probable or possible recording dates for some of those recordings; approximate periods when certain other titles were probably recorded; blocks of titles that may have been recorded at the same session; blocks of dates when Jerry almost certainly couldn't have been recording in Memphis because he was apparently elsewhere at the time; that sort of thing.

Our anchor points to begin to build on the shaky framework were the dated notes found in about a quarter of the out-take tape boxes. After listening to the tapes, however, we quickly realised that the dates didn't always necessarily refer to original recording sessions. Some of the tapes were obviously unedited recording sessions, complete with studio chat, false starts and so forth. Some of the others had the incidental rhubarb edited out but, as far as we could tell, still seemed to be the salvaged takes from particular recording sessions. Others, though, much to our surprise, obviously stemmed from backing-vocal (or, in a couple of cases, backing-musicians) overdub sessions, clearly illustrating that the company was overdubbing far earlier than previously suspected. Excluding the ''safety-masters'' of issued recordings, the balance of the tapes seemed to be what we came to refer to as Sam's Assessment Couplings: groups of recordings that weren't necessarily from the same session but had presumably been spliced together at times when Sam was assessing different compilations for possible release on single, e.p. or album.

After correlating the new info with the old we were still left with a load of issued and unissued recordings that couldn't be accurately dated. It was then down to the ears and intuition of those of us involved in the preparation of this ridiculously magnificent (or vice versa) project to assess whereabouts the undated tracks might slot into the grand scheme of things. Needless to say there was initially a small amount of dissension among us about the placement of a few tracks but in the main we independently came to much the same conclusions. Whether we are correct or not is, of course, another matter entirely. But for better or worse the following discography - and therefore the finalized running order of this box set - is the result of our efforts.

As normal, the discography is chronologically arranged and divided into blocks of recordings. For cross-reference purposes we have numbered the blocks of recordings and refer to them all as sessions, even though some are simply groups of tracks that we believe were recorded at or about the same time as each other. Except where noted, the known recording sessions are specifically dated whereas the estimated sessions are only approximately dated.

The discography includes nearly all of Jerry's Sun recordings that we know have survived on tape. The only known performances that we've deliberately omitted are his appearances on other artists' recordings (accompanying Carl Perkins, Billy Riley etc., and the Million Dollar Quartet session). Rumoured recordings for which no tapes have yet come to light are not included.

In more formal recording circumstances than those which existed at Sun, some engineers or producers of recording sessions will announce each attempt to record a particular title by calling out that title and a ''take'' number. The various take numbers will also be noted on the relevant sessions sheets and tape boxes. This is mainly done for immediate filing and reference purposes, but years after the event the take numbers can greatly help the researcher to sort out what went on at any given recording session - especially if, in the meantime, half of the original tapes have been edited, recompiled, wiped, recorded over or lost.

As far as we can tell, no take numbers were announced or logged at Sun recording sessions. Or if they were, the announcements must have been off-mike because they do not appear on any of the unedited session tapes. On these recordings it was generally Jerry himself that signalled the start of each performance with a brief "Ready? Let's Git It" or some such comment before launching straight into it. Therefore the bracketed suffix numbers to many of the titles in the discography should not be considered true chronological take numbers; they are simply our notation of how many different takes of any one title from any one session still exist on tape. It's probable, we hope, that most of the batches of takes of particular titles are complete. By good luck as much as by canny judgement, we may have even numbered many of the batches of takes in correct sequence, as originally recorded. We've certainly attempted to. But the only sequences we can fairly confidently assume to be correct are those from the apparently unedited tapes of session recordings.

Within each session block the titles are variously spaced. Each tightly grouped batch of titles is from an individual tape that seems to be unedited or, if edited, still seems to contain tracks in recorded sequence. Batches of titles from different tapes, and individual titles from recompiled tapes, are more widely spaced.

Sun only assigned matrix numbers to those recordings that were eventually selected and mastered for release. The numbers bore no relation to the recording sessions. They are therefore irrelevant to the discography and have been omitted.

We toyed with the idea of including in the discography the catalogue numbers of all American, British and continental issues of Jerry's Sun recordings - but then came to our senses. Instead we only list the first release of any issued recording. The numbers of all releases on Sam Phillips' original Sun label are prefixed, logically enough, by the word Sun; the two tracks first released on his subsidiary Phillips International label are prefixed P.I. Later issues are prefixed as follows: S.I. Shelby Singleton's Sun International label; NY = Dutch Sun; 6467 = U.K. Sun, when licensed by Phonogram; JS - Hilltop; CR = French and U.K. Charly; the Mule, Bop Cat and Redita releases were Dutch bootlegs. A chronological listing of the releases makes up Part Two of this Sun File.

The listed release numbers show the situation before the release of this box set. Many of the takes shown' as unissued you will hear for the first time on this set. All tracks included in the set are marked in the discography with an bullet (*) before the title.

The notes about who's playing what behind Jerry are, we believe, accurate up to a point - the point being that we have deliberately not attempted to precisely identify every musician on every track. For instance, on session 3 we list the bassist as either J. W. Brown or Billy Riley, then on many other sessions we simply refer back to session 3. It seems most likely that J. W. Brown was more often the bassist than Riley on these sessions but as we cannot be certain we've left it open to question. Similarly, it's possible that Jerry's road drummer, Russell Smith, played on a few of the sessions instead of Jimmy Van Eaton, as listed. Also, the listed musicians on any given session are not necessarily playing on all tracks at that session.

Finally, a word about the pattern of recordings shown in the discography. At the start the sessions are fairly frequent but the titles are widely scattered, including relatively few alternative takes; for a couple of years thereafter there's a heavier incidence of recording with many more alternative takes; after mid-1959 it's back to scattered titles again. In the main this would seem to genuinely reflect the pattern of Jerry's recording career with Sun. At the start he was fairly frequently in the studio, pumpin' through a lot of spontaneous performances, rarely bothering with more than one or two takes of any title. With his spectacular success came far more concentrated effort on each proposed follow-up release, although he was still also running through a lot of one-offs. In the immediate aftermath of the 'child-bride' scandal there was perhaps even more concentrated effort put into the attempts to record hit singles but there was less spontaneity in the studio. By mid-1959, when both Jerry's career and Sun Records were fast falling apart, the sessions became less frequent and there was less reason to use up time and tape on unrehearsed performances.

However, despite the changed situation, it's unbelievable that from mid-1959 on Jerry suddenly reverted to recording everything (except a few titles) in one take, and anyway the vocal choruses on a lot of the later issues were almost certainly overdubbed after the original recording sessions, even though we haven't discovered any of the relevant undubbed or unedited tapes. We therefore assume that there are still a lot of out- take tapes of the later sessions lurking around somewhere, unless, of course, they were all re-used for other recordings during the final frugal months of Sun.

In other words, while you can be certain that this is the most comprehensive and accurate discography to date of Jerry Lee Lewis's Sun recordings, you can also be pretty sure that it won't be the last word on the subject. Action of revising 1983.

1 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, November 14, 1956.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
*End Of The Road (Sun 259)
Crazy Arms (Sun 259)
You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (1) (Unissued)
*You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (2) (Unissued)
Born To Lose (6467.029)

2 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, Probably November 1956, possibly with session 1.
Personnel as session 1: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
*Tomorrow Night (6467.029)
*Silver Treats (Amongst The Gold) (Sun International LP 119)
*I'm Throwing Rice (At The Girl I Love) (Sun International LP 119)
*I Love You So Much It Hurts (Sun International LP 119)

3 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably December 1956/January 1957.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar); J.W. Brown or Billy Riley (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
*Deep Elem Blues (1) (Unissued)
*Deep Elem Blues (2) (Sun International LP 119)
*Hand Me Down My Walking Cane (Sun International LP 119)
*The Crawdad Song (Sun International LP 119)
*Dixie (Instrumental) (CR 30002)
*The Marines' Hymn (Instrumental) (CR 30007)
Goodnight Irene (1) (Unissued)
*Goodnight Irene (2) (Unissued)
Goodnight Irene (3) (Unissued)**
*Goodnight Irene (4) (Unissued)
*Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Sun International LP 119)
*Old Time Religion (1) (Unissued)
Old Time Religion (2) (Sun International LP 119)
*When The Saints Go Marching In (Unissued)**

** The unissued raw takes of ''Goodnight Irene'' (3) and ''When The Saints'' were later overdubbed with backing vocals for release on Sun LP 1230. See session 20.

4 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably December 1956/January 1957.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Carl Perkins or Roland Janes (guitar); Jimmy Van Eaton or W.S. Holland (drums)
*Turn Around (Sun EPA 107

5 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably December 1956/January 1957.
Jerry Lee Lewis (Vocal and piano) only
*That Lucky Old Sun (Mule 201)

6 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably January 1957.
Personnel probably as session 3: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar);
J.W. Brown or Billy Riley (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
*I Love You Because (Unissued)
*I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You) (Mule 201)
*Cold Cold Heart (Unissued)
*Shame On You (6467.029)
*(If The World Keeps On Turning) I'll Keep On Loving You (Sun International LP 119)
You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (1) (Unissued)
You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (2) (Unissued)
*You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (3) (Sun International LP 119)
*Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (1) (Unissued)
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (2) (Unissued)
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (3) (Unissued)
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (4) (Unissued)

7 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably February 1957.
Personnel probably as session 1: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano);
Roland Janes (guitar); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
Ole Pal Of Yesterday (1) (Unissued)
Ole Pal Of Yesterday (2) (Unissued)
*Ole Pal Of Yesterday (3) (Unissued)
Ole Pal Of Yesterday (4) (6467.029)
*It'll Be Me (1) (Unissued)
It'll Be Me (2) (Unissued)
*It'll Be Me (False Start) (Unissued)
*It'll Be Me (False Start) (Unissued)
It'll Be Me (3) (Unissued)
*It'll Be Me (4) (Unissued)
It'll Be Me (5) (Sun 267)
*Pumpin' Piano Rock (6467.029)
You Win Again (1) (Unissued)
*You Win Again (2) (Unissued)
You Win Again (3) (Unissued)
*Love Letters In The Sand (Unissued)
*Little Green Valley (1) (Unissued)
Little Green Valley (2) (Unissued)
Little Green Valley (3) (6467.029)
*Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (Sun 267)

N.B. During the final days of preparation of this box set a few previously unseen documents came to light, one of which indicates that from 2pm to 8pm on May 30th 1957 Jerry (vocal and piano) recorded at 706 Union with his then regular road accompanists, J. W. brown (bass) and Russell Smith (drums). There is no mention of a lead guitarist, nor, alas, of any of the titles recorded.

It is possible that a lead guitarist was also on the session and that some or several of the titles from the following ''session'' blocks 8-10 were recorded on May 30th. It is equally possible that the tapes of the May 30th session have not survived or not yet been discovered.

Unfortunately, in view of our finalized compilation there is also a third possibility. It now seems possible that some or all of the tracks we have designated ''session 18'', apparently recorded on February 14th 1958, may in fact stem from the previously unknown May 30th 1957 session. Your guess is as good as ours.

8 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably Summer 1957
Personnel probably as session 1: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
*Lewis Boogie (Unissued)
*Lewis Boogie (Sun 301)
It'll Be Me (1) (Unissued)
It'll Be Me (2) (Unissued)
*It'll Be Me (3) (Sun LP 1230)
*All Night Long (1) (Unissued)
All Night Long (2) (6467.029)
Sixty Minute Man (1) (Unissued)
*Sixty Minute Man (2) (Unissued)
Sixty Minute Man (3) (6467.029)
I Don't Love Nobody (1) (Unissued)
*I Don't Love Nobody (2) (NY-6)
*Carolina Sunshine Girl (6467.029)
*Long Gone Lonesome Blues (6467.029)
*You Are My Sunshine (False Start) (Unissued)
*You Are My Sunshine (Sun International LP 121)

9 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably Summer 1957.
Personnel as session 1: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano);
Roland Janes (guitar); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
*Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (Sun International LP 121)
*Honey Hush (Sun International LP 121)
*Singing The Blues (Sun International LP 121)

10 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Personnel as session 3: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar); J.W. Brown
or Billy Riley (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
*Rockin' With Red (She Knows How To Rock Me) (Unissued)
*Matchbox (1) (Unissued)**
*Matchbox (2) (Unissued)
*Ubangi Stomp (Sun International LP 121)
*Rock 'N' Roll Ruby (6467.029)
*So Long I'm Gone (6467.029)

** The unissued raw take of ''Matchbox'' was later overdubbed with backing vocals and handclaps for release on Sun International LP 121. See session 20.

11 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably September 5, 1957.
On the above date Jerry Lee (vocal and piano) recorded at a three hour session with Sidney Manker (guitar) and Otis Jett (drums). There is no surviving note of the titles recorded. We believe this was the session:
Ooby Dooby (1) (6467.029)
*Ooby Dooby (2) (Unissued)
I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1) (Incomplete) (Unissued)
*I Forgot To Remember To Forget (2) (Unissued)
I Forgot To Remember To Forget (3) (Unissued)
I Forgot To Remember To Forget (4) (Unissued)
I Forgot To Remember To Forget (False Start) (Unissued)
I Forgot To Remember To Forget (5) (Unissued)
*You Win Again (Unissued) **

**The unissued raw take of ''You Win Again'' was later overdubbed with backing vocals for release on Sun 282. See session 14.

12 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably September/October 1957.
Personnel as sessio0n 3: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar); J.W. Brown
or Billy Riley (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
I'm Feeling Sorry (1) (Unissued)
I'm Feeling Sorry (2) (Unissued)
I'm Feeling Sorry (3) (Unissued)
I'm Feeling Sorry (4) (Unissued)
I'm Feeling Sorry (5) (Unissued)
I'm Feeling Sorry (6) (Unissued)
I'm Feeling Sorry (7) (Unissued)
I'm Feeling Sorry (8) (Unissued)
*I'm Feeling Sorry (9) (Unissued)
I'm Feeling Sorry (10) (Unissued)
*I'm Feeling Sorry (11) (Unissued) (Sun EPA 107)
*Mean Woman Blues (Sun EPA 107)
*Why Should I Cry Over You (Unissued)

13 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. October 6-8, 1957.
Personnel as session 1: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar);
Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
Great Balls Of Fire (1) (Unissued)
Great Balls Of Fire (2) (Unissued)
Great Balls Of Fire (3) (Unissued)
*Great Balls Of Fire (4) (Unissued)
*Great Balls Of Fire (False Start) (Unissued)
*Great Balls Of Fire (False Start) (Unissued)
*Great Balls Of Fire (False Start) (Unissued)
Great Balls Of Fire (5) (Unissued)
Great Balls Of Fire (6) (Unissued)
Great Balls Of Fire (7) (Unissued)
Great Balls Of Fire (8) (Unissued)
Great Balls Of Fire (9) (Unissued)
Great Balls Of Fire (10) (Unissued)
*Great Balls Of Fire (12) (Unissued)
Great Balls Of Fire (13) (Unissued)
*Great Balls Of Fire (14) (Sun 281)
Probably recorded during above session(s).
Great Balls Of Fire (15) (W.B. JAM ½)
(Soundtrack version for Warner Brothers movie ''Jamboree'').

14 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. October 1957.
Unknown vocal chorus overdubbed onto raw track from session 11.
*You Win Again (Sun 281)

15 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. January 16-17, 1958.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Billy Riley (guitar); J.W. Brown (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
*Cool Cool Ways (Sexy Ways) (False Start) (Unissued)
*Cool Cool Ways (Sexy Ways) (CR 30002)
*Milkshake Mademoiselle (1) (Unissued)
Down The Line (1) (Unissued)
*Down The Line (False Start) (Unissued)
*Down The Line (False Start) (Unissued)
*Down The Line (2) (Unissued)
Down The Line (3) (Unissued)
Down The Line (4)
*I'm Sorry, I'm Not Sorry (Unissued)
*Down The Line (5) (Unissued)
Down The Line (6) (Unissued)
Down The Line (7) (Unissued)
*Down The Line (8) (Sun 288)
*Milkshake Mademoiselle (False Start) (Unissued)
*Milkshake Mademoiselle (2) (Unissued)
*Milkshake Mademoiselle (False Start) (Unissued)
*Milkshake Mademoiselle (False Start) (Unissued)
Milkshake Mademoiselle (3) (6467.029)
*Milkshake Mademoiselle (4) (Unissued)
Milkshake Mademoiselle (5) (Bop Cat 100)
Milkshake Mademoiselle (6) (Redita 103)
Breathless (Unissued)
Breathless (Unissued)
Breathless (Unissued)
*Breathless (Unissued)
Breathless (Unissued)

16 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. January 21, 1978
Personnel as session 15: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Billy Riley (guitar);
J.W. Brown (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
Breathless (Unissued)
Breathless (Unissued)
Breathless (Unissued)
*Breathless (Sun 288)

17 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Apparently February 14. 1958 (although not as same time as session 18)
High School Confidential (1) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (2) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (False Start) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (3) (Unissued)
*High School Confidential (4) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (5) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (6) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (7) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (8) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (False Start) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (9) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (10) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (11) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (12) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (False Start) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (13) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (14 (Unissued)

18 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Apparently February 14, 1958.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano) with bass and drums only.
*Good Rockin' Tonight (Unissued)
*Pink Pedal Pushers (Sun International LP 124)
*Jailhouse Rock (Sun International LP 124)
*Hound Dog (6467.029)
*Don't Be Cruel (Sun International LP 124)
*Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You) (CR 30002)

N.B. A belatedly discovered document (see note between ''sessions'' 7 and 8) has opened the possibility that some or all of these Jerry-with-bass-and-drums-only tracks were recorded on May 30th 1957, despite the fact that the tape box of one of the tracks is dated February 14th 1958.

We are uncertain what to believe. These tracks certainly don't seem to have been recorded at the same time as the ''session 17'' out-takes of ''High School Confidential'', which are also dated February 14th 1958. On the other hand, Elvis Presley first recorded ''Jailhouse Rock'' on May 2nd 1957 and his recording (and film of the same name) didn't see release until September/October of that year. So it is highly unlikely that Jerry recorded his version in May 1957. On balance, this still seems the most likely placement of these tracks.

19 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably March 1958)
Personnel as session 3: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar);
J.W. Brown or Billy Riley (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
*Jambalaya (On The Bayou) (Sun LP 1230)
*Friday Night (6467.029)
*Big Legged Woman (Sun International LP 107)
*Hello Hello Baby (Sun LP 1265)
*Frankie And Johnny (Sun LP 1265)
It All Depends (On Who Will Buy The Wine) (Unissued)*
*Your Cheatin' Heart (Sun International LP 114)
*Lovesick Blues (Sun International LP 125)

**The unissued raw take of ''It All Depends'' was later overdubbed with backing vocals for release on Sun LP 1230. See session 20.

20 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. April 8, 1958
Unknown vocal chorus overdubbed onto raw tracks from sessions 3, 10, 19.
*Goodnight Irene (Sun LP 1230)
When The saints Go Marching In (Sun LP 1230)
*Matchbox (Sun LP 1230)
It All Depends (On Who Will Buy The Wine) (Sun LP 1230)

N.B. More than one overdub was made of each title but the unissued overdub attempts are not listed because they're irrelevant; the same basic raw takes of each title were variously overdubbed.

21 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Apparently April 20, 1958 (although there is some doubt about whether Jerry could have been in Memphis on this date).
Personnel as session 3: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar);
J.W. Brown or Billy Riley (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums)
Put Me Down (1) (Unissued)
Put Me Down (2) (Unissued)
*Put Me Down (3) (Unissued)
Fools Like Me (1) (Unissued)**
Fools Like Me (False Start) (Unissued)
Fools Like Me (False Start) (Unissued)
Fools Like Me (False Start) (Unissued)
Fools Like Me (Incomplete) (Unissued)
Fools Like Me (2) (Unissued)

**The unissued raw take of ''Fools Like Me'' (1) was later overdubbed with backing vocals for release on Sun 296. See session 23.

22 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. April 21-23, 1958.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Billy Riley (guitar and/or bass); Roland Janes (bass and/or guitar);
Jimmy Van Eaton (drums); Possibly another guitarist on some titles).
Wild One (Real Wild Child) (1) (6467.029)
*Wild One (Real Wild Child) (2) (CR 30002)
*Carryin' On (Sexy Ways) (1) (6467.027)
Carryin' On (Sexy Ways) (2) (Unissued)
Carryin' On (Sexy Ways) (3) (Unissued)
*Crazy Heart (False Start) (Unissued)
*Crazy Heart (1) (Unissued)
Crazy Heart (2) (Unissued)
Crazy Heart (3) (6467.029)
Crazy Heart (4) (CR 30006)
*Put Me Down (1) (Unissued)
Put Me Down (2) (Unissued)
Put Me Down (3) (Unissued)
Put Me Down (4) (Sun LP 1230)
*Let The Good Times Roll (CR 30006)
*Slippin' Around (False Start) (Unissued)
*Slippin' Around (NY-6)
*I'll See You In My Dreams (Instrumental) (Unissued)
*High School Confidential (False Start) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (1) (Unissued)
*High School Confidential (False Start) (Unissued)
*High School Confidential (False Start) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (2) (Unissued)
High School Confidential (3) (Sun 296)*

**The raw take of ''High School Confidential'' (3) was slightly amended for release on Sun 296, a different ending being spliced on from an earlier take.

23 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. April 1958.
Unknown vocal chorus overdubbed onto raw track from session 21.
Fools Like Me (Sun 296)

24 - Sun Studio, 706Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably may 1958.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano) only.
*Memory Of You (Unissued)
*Come What May (6467.029)
Break Up (1) (Unissued)
*Live And Let Live (Incomplete) (Unissued)
Break Up (Incomplete) (Unissued)
*Break Up (2) (Unissued)
*Crazy Heart (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (Incomplete) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (False Start) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (1) (Unissued)
Break Up (3) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (2) (Unissued)**
Settin' The Woods On Fire (Tape Missing)**
*Johnny B. Goode (Unissued)
*Crazy Arms (Unissued)
Break Up (4) (Unissued)*

** The unissued raw takes of I'll Make It All Up To You (2), ''Settin' The Woods On Fire'' and ''Break Up'' (4) were later overdubbed with instrumental accompaniment. See session 26.

The undubbed tape of ''Settin' The Woods On Fire'' is lost in the ozone but we believe it was originally recorded at this session, probably between ''Crazy Arms'' and ''Break Up'' (4). At that point on the surviving out-take tape there is still a brief, ''wrong-key'' false-start of ''Settin' The Woods On Fire''. The full version probably originally followed it but was later spliced out for overdubbing.

25 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. May 30, 1958.
A novelty compilation credit to ''George and Louis''. Written and produced by Jack Clement, narrated by Clement and disc jockey George Klein, including extracts from previously recorded titles: ''Great
Balls Of Fire'', ''You Win Again'', ''I'm Feeling Sorry'', ''High School Confidential'', ''Mean Woman Blues'',
''Don 't Be Cruel'', ''Breathless'' and ''Crazy Arms''.
*The Return Of Jerry Lee (Sun 301)

26 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. July 9, 1958.
Instrumental accompaniment overdubbed onto raw tracks from session 24. Personnel uncertain probably Roland Janes (guitar) and Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
I'll Make It All Up Yo You
Break Up
*Settin' The Woods On Fire

NB. As with overdub session 20, more than one overdub take was made on each title.

27 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. July 16,17, 1958.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano) except on some or all takes of ''I'll Make It All Up To You'' which have Charlie Rich on piano. Billy Riley (guitar); Jack Clement (bass)'; Otis Jett and Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
Break Up (Incomplete) (Unissued)
Break Up (1) (Unissued)
*Break Up (2) (Unissued)
Break Up (False Start) (Unissued)
Break Up (3) (Unissued)
Break Up (4) (Unissued)
Break Up (False Start) (Unissued)
Break Up (5) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (False Start) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (1) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (2) (Unissued)
Break Up (6) (Unissued)
Break Up (7) (Unissued)
Break Up (8) (Unissued)
Break Up (9) (Unissued)
Break Up (10) (Unissued)
Break Up (11) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (3) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (4) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (5) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (6) (Unissued)
I'll Make It All Up To You (7) (Unissued)
*I'll Make It All Up To You (8) (Unissued)
*Johnny B. Goode (Sun International LP 107)
*Break Up (12) (Sun 303)

**The unissued raw take of ''I'll Make It All Up To You'' (8) was later overdubbed with backing vocals for release on Sun 303. One or more of the above takes of ''Break Up'' was/were also overdubbed but not released. See session 28.

28 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. July 21, 1958 (and other days).
Unknown vocal chorus overdubbed onto raw tracks from session 27.
Break Up (Unissued)
*I'll Make It All Up To You (Sun 303)

N.B. More than one overdub take was made of each title. There may even have been more than one overdub session for these titles. The chorus on some of the out-take overdubs of ''I'll Make It All Up To You'' (an excerpt of which is included in this set) sounds different to the chorus on the issued version.

29 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. November 5, 1958.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano) except on the takes of ''It Hurt Me So'' which have Charlie Rich on piano. Martin Willis (saxophone); Roland Janes and Billy Riley (guitar); Cliff Acred (bass);
Jeff Davis and Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (1) (Unissued)
*Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (2) (Unissued)
I'll Sail My Ship Alone (1) (Unissued)
I'll Sail My Ship Alone (2) (Unissued)
I'll Sail My Ship Alone (3) (Unissued)
*I'll Sail My Ship Alone (4) (Unissued)
*I'll Sail My Ship Alone (5) (Sun 312)
I'll Sail My Ship Alone (6) (Unissued)
It Hurt Me So (1) (Unissued)
It Hurt Me So (2) (Unissued)
It Hurt Me So (3) (Unissued)
It Hurt Me So (4) (Unissued)
It Hurt Me So (5) (Unissued)
It Hurt Me So (6) (Unissued)**
*You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (False Start) (Unissued)
*You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (False Start) (Unissued)
*You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (False Start) (Unissued)
*You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (1) (Unissued)
You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (2) (Unissued)

**The unissued raw take of ''It Hurt Me So'' (6) was later overdubbed with backing vocals for release on Sun 312. See session 30.

30 - Sun Studio, 706 Union avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. November 1958.
Unknown vocal chorus overdubbed onto raw track from session 29.
It Hurt Me So (Sun 312)

31 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably December 1958/January 1959.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Probably Roland Janes (guitar);
Billy Riley (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
Lovin' Up A Storm (1) (Unissued)
Lovin' Up A Storm (False Start) (Unissued)
Lovin' Up A Storm (2) (Unissued)
Lovin' Up A Storm (3) (Unissued)
Lovin' Up A Storm (False Start) (Unissued)
Lovin' Up A Storm (4) (Unissued)
Lovin' Up A Storm (5) (Unissued)
*Lovin' Up A Storm (6) (Sun 317)
*Big Blon' Baby (Sun 317)

32 - Sun Studio, 706 union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably December 1958/January 1959
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal, unknown piano; possibly Jerry Lee Lewis, bass, drums).
*Sick And Tired (6467.029)
*(Just A Shanty In Old) Shanty Town (CR 30002)
*Release Me (6467.029)

33 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. March 22, 1959.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano): Brad Suggs (guitar); Cliff Agred (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (1) (Unissued)
*I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (False Start) (Unissued)
*I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (False Start) (Unissued)
*I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (False Start) (Unissued)
I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (2) (Unissued)
*I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (False Start) (Unissued)
I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (3) (Unissued)(Unissued)
*Near You (Instrumental) (Incomplete) (Unissued)
Near You (1) (Unissued)
*Near You (2) (CR 30002)
I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (4) (Unissued)
*I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You (5) (Sun 330)
*Hillbilly Music (Sun LP 1265)
*My Blue Heaven (1) (Unissued)
My Blue Heaven (2) (Unissued)
*My Blue Heaven (3) (Unissued)
My Blue Heaven (4) (Sun International LP 121)
Let's Talk About Us (1) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (2) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (3) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (4) (Unissued)
*Let's Talk About Us (False Start) (Unissued)
*Let's Talk About Us (5) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (6) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (7) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (8) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (9) (Unissued)

34 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. May 25-26, 1959
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal, probably piano on all tracks); Charlie Rich (vocal duet on ''Sail Away'' and
''Am I To Be The One'', possibly piano on some tracks); Leo Lodner (bass);
Jimmy Van Eaton (drums); Roland Janes and Billy Riley (guitars).
*Home (Sun LP 1265)
*Night Train To Memphis (Sun International LP 114)
*The Ballad Of Billy Joe (Sun 324)
Let's Talk About Us (1) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (2) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (3) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (4) (Unissued)
Let's Talk About Us (5) (Unissued)**
*Let's Talk About Us (6) (Unissued)
*Sail Away (1) (CR 30002)
Sail Away (2) (SHM 864)
Am I To Be The One (1) (Unissued)
Am I To Be The One (False Start) (Unissued)
Am I To Be The One (2) (Unissued)
Am I To Be The One (False Start) (Unissued)
Am I To Be The One (False Start) (Unissued)
Am I To Be The One (3) (Unissued)
Am I To Be The One (4) (Sun International LP 114)
*I'm The Guilty One (Unissued)

**The unissued raw take of Let's Talk About Us (5) was later overdubbed with backing vocals for release on Sun 324. See session 35.

35 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Late May 1959.
Unknown vocal chorus overdubbed onto raw track from session 34.
*Let's Talk About Us (Sun 324)

N.B. Several overdub takes were made of this title, probably at different sessions, some with male chorus, some with female chorus.

36 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably May 28, 1959.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Probably Roland Janes (guitar);
Leo Lodner (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
*Little Queenie (Sun 330)

N.B. This title was logged by Sun as having been recorded on May 26th, along with other titles. However, Murray Silver's research indicates that it was recorded in isolation on May 28th.

37 - Location Uncertain; Date Uncertain.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Probably Martin Willis (saxophone);
Roland Janes (guitar); Leo Lodner (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
*Lewis Workout (Instrumental)
*The Wild Side Of Life (Mule 201)
*Billy Boy (JS-6120)

38 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. January 21, 1960.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar);
R.W. Stevenson (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
*Mexicali Rose (6467.029)
*I Get The Blues When It Rains (Instrumental) (Phillips International 3559)
*In The Mood (Instrumental) (Phillips International 3559)

N.B. ''I Get The Blues When It Rains'' and ''In The Mood'' original issued as by ''The Hawk''.

39 - Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Apparently January 25, 1960.
Personnel as session 38: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes (guitar);
R.W. Stevenson (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
*Old Black Joe (Sun 337)**
*Baby, Baby, Bye Bye (Sun 337)**
*As Long As I Live (Sun 367)
*Bonnie B (Sun 371)

** Both sides of Sun 337 included overdubbed vocal chorus by The Gene Lowery Singers. From here on an increasing percentage of Jerry's recordings were issued with vocal chorus, all presumably overdubbed after the original recording sessions. As we have no information about the vocal overdub sessions, no further reference will be made to them - you can hear for yourself on this set which tracks were overdubbed. We are now into the period for which no original session tapes, and only a few alternative masters, have so far come to light.

40 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Probably June 1960.
Jerry Lee Lewis (Vocal and piano); Martin Willis of Johnny ''Ace'' Canon (saxophone);
Probably Roland Janes (guitar); Billy Riley (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
*What'd I Say (Unissued)**
*C.C. Rider (Sun International LP 107)
*Hank Up My Rock And Roll Shoes (Sun 344)
*John Henry (Sun 344)
*When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (6467.029)

**The unissued raw take of this version of ''What'd I Say'' was in 1978 overdubbed with a vocal ''duet'' by Jimmy "Orion" Ellis, recorded at Singleton Sound Studios, Nashville, for release on Sun International LP 1011.

41 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. October 13, 1960.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal); Larry Muhoberac (piano); Fred Ford, Ronnie Capone, Robert Alexius (horns); Scotty Moore and Brad Suggs (guitars); Billy Riley (bass); Jimmy Van Eaton (drums).
*No More Than I Get (CR 30007)
*When I Get Paid (Sun 352)
*Love Made A Fool Pf Me (Sun 352)

N.B. Backing tracks only recorded on October 13th; Jerry apparently overdubbed his vocals at a later date.

42 - Location Uncertain. Date Uncertain.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Unknown sax, guitar, bass and drums.
*My Bonnie (NY=6)

43 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 319 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee. February 9, 1961.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Hank Garland (guitar); Kelton Herston (guitar);
Bob Moore (bass); Buddy Harmon (drums).
*I Forgot To Remember To Forget (CR 30007)
*Cold Cold Heart (Sun 364)
*Livin' Lovin' Wreck (Sun 356)
*What'd I Say (Sun 356)

44 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 319 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee. June 12, 1961
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal, probably piano on all tracks);
Marvin Hughes (producer, possibly piano on some tracks); Kelton Herston (guitar);
Wayne Moss (guitar); Bob Moore 9bass); Buddy Harmon (drums).
It Won't Happen With Me (1) (CR 30116)
*It Won't Happen With Me (2) (Sun 364)
*C.C. Rider (Unissued)
*I Love You Because (Sun International LP 128)
*Save The Last Dance For Me (Sun 367)

45 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. June 14, 1961.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Johnny ''Ace'' Cannon (saxophone); Brad Suggs (guitar);
Jay W. Brown (bass); Gene Chrisman (drums),
*Hello Josephine (My Girl Josephine) (Sun LP 1265)
*High Powered Man (Sun International LP 1000)

46 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 319 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee. September 21, 1961.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Cam Mullins, John Wilkin, Don Sheffield, Bill McElhiney (horns);
Jim Hall, Karl Garvin, Homer Boots Randolph (saxes); Jerry Turtle (organ); Jerry Kennedy (guitar);
Bob Moore (bass); Buddy Harmon (drums).
Ramblin' Rose (1) (Sun 374)
Ramblin' Rose (2) (Sun International LP 108)
*Ramblin' Rose (3) (Unissued)
*Rockin' The Boat Of Love (NY-6)
*Money ((Sun 371)

47 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. January 4, 1962.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Roland Janes and Brad Suggs (guitars); R.W. McGhee (bass);
Al Jackson (drums).
I've Been Twistin' (Feelin' Good) (1) (Sun 374)
I've Been Twistin' (Feelin' Good) (2) (SHM 823)
*I've Been Twistin' (Feelin' Good) (3) (Unissued)
Whole Lotta Twistin' Goin' On (CR 30002)
*Whole Lotta Twistin' Goin' On (Sun International LP 1000)
*High Powered Woman (CR 30006)
I Know What It Means (Sun 396)
*I Know What It Means (Unissued)

48 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. June 5, 1962.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Shirley Sisk (organ); Scotty Moore and Roland Janes (guitars);
Jay W. Brown (bass); Al Jackson (drums).
Sweet Little Sixteen (1) (Unissued)
Sweet Little Sixteen (2) (Unissued)
*Sweet Little Sixteen (3) (Sun 379)
*Sweet Little Sixteen (4) (Sun International LP 107)
Hello Josephine (My Girl Josephine) (1) (Unissued)
*Hello Josephine (My Girl Josephine) (2) (Sun International LP 107)
*Set My Mind At Ease (NY-6)
*(All Around The Watertank) Waiting For A Train (1) (UK Sun 1003)
*(All Around The Watertank) Waiting For A Train (2) (Sun International LP 121)

49 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. June 14, 1962.
Personnel as sessions 48: Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Shirley Sisk (organ);
Scotty Moore and Roland Janes (guitars); Jay W. Brown (bass); Al Jackson (drums).
*Good Rockin' Tonight (Sun International LP 107)
*Be Bop A Lula (Sun International LP 124)
*How's My Ex Treating You (Sun 379)

50 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 319 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee. September 11, 1962.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Boots Randolph (saxophone); Kelton Herston and Fred Carter (guitars); Floyd Chance (bass); Buddy Harmon (drums).
*Good Golly Miss Molly (Sun 382)
*I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore) (Sun 382)**
(CR 30129)
*My Pretty Quadroon (NY-6)

**The raw performance of ''I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore)'' was in 1973 remixed with new instrumental accompaniment recorded at Singleton Sound Studio, Nashville, for release on Sun International 45-1130.

51 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. March 11, 1963.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano on Sun 384, piano throughout) Linda Gail Lewis (vocal except ''Teenage Latter''); W.R. Felts (organ); Luke Wright (saxophone); Scotty Moore (guitar);
George Webb (bass); Morris Tarrant (drums).
*Seasons Of My Heart (Sun 384)
*Teenage Letter (Sun 384)
Nothin' Shakin' (1) (Cr 30007)
Nothin' Shakin' (2) (Unissued)
Sittin' And Thinkin' (Unissued)

52 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. August 27, 1963.
W.R. Felts (organ); Luke Wright (saxophone); Scotty Moore and Roland Janes (guitar);
George Webb or Herman Hawkins (bass); Morris Tarrant (drums).
*Your Lovin' Ways (Sun International LP 128)
*Just Who Is To Blame (1) (NY-6)
*Just Who Is To Blame (2) (CR 30007)
*Hong Kong Blues )CR 30002)
*Love On Broadway (Sun International LP 128)

53 - Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. August 28, 1963.
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano); Scotty Moore and Roland Janes (guitars); Herman Hawkins (bass); Morris Tarrant (drums).Plus string quartet.

*One Minute Past Eternity (Sun International LP 108)
*Invitation To Your Party (Sun International LP 108)
*I Can't Seem To Say Goodbye (Sun International LP 114)
*Carry My Back To Old Virginia (Sun 396)



The following list is in three parts: a chronological breakdown of Jerry's American singles on the original Sun label and the equivalent British issues on London-American; the few EPs issued on Sun and London-American; a chronological selection of the main American and British (plus a few relevant continental) LP releases of Jerry's Sun recordings, not including the majority of very many budget-label issues and various-artists' compilations that have featured tracks by Jerry. In other words, it is only intended as a cross-reference guide the preceeding discography. A fully detailed catalogue of all known Jerry Lee Lewis releases, including post-Sun recordings, is published by the Jerry Lee Lewis International Fan Club, who also put out an informative bi-monthly magazine, Fireball Mail. For details write to Willem de Boer, Jan Hendrikxstraat 22, 5684 XJ Best, Holland, or Barrie Garnblin, 16 Milton Road, Winnbledon, SWI 9, England.

SUN SINGLES 1956-1065

(Sun 259) (December 1956) Crazy Arms/End Of The Road
(Sun 267) (HLS.8457 UK) (April 1957)Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On/It'll Be Me
(Sun 281) (November 1957) Great Balls Of Fire/You Win Again
(HLS.8529 UK) Great Balls Of Fire/Mean Woman Blues
(HLS.8559 UK) Your Win Again/I'm Feeling Sorry
(Sun 288) (HLS.8592 UK) (February 1958) Breathless/Down The Line
(Sun 296) (HLS.8780 UK) (May 1958) High School Confidential/Fools Like Me
(Sun 301) (June 1958) The Return Of Jerry Lee/Lewis Boogie
(Sun 303) (August 1958) (HLS.8700 UK) Break Up/I'll Make It All Up To You
(Sun 312) (HLS.9083 UK) (November 1958) I'll Sail My Ship Alone/It Hurt Me So
(Sun 317) (HLS.8840 UK) (February 1959) Lovin' Up A Storm/Big Blon' Baby
(Sun 324) (HLS.8941 UK) (June 1959) Let's Talk About Us/The Ballad Of Billy Joe
(Sun 330) (HLS.8993 UK) (September 1959) Little Queenie/I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You
(Sun 337) (HLS.9131 UK) (March 1960) Baby, Baby Bye Bye/Old Black Joe
(Sun 344) (HLS.9202 UK) (August 1960) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes/John Henry

(PI 3559) (October 1960) In The Mood/I Get The Blues When It Rains

(Sun 352) (November 1960) Love Made A Fool Of Me/When I Get Paid
(Sun 356) (HLS.9335 UK) (February 1961) What'd I Say/Livin' Lovin' Wreck
(Sun 364) (HLS.9414 UK) (June 1961) It Won't happen With Me/Cold Cold Heart
(Sun 367) (September 1961) Save The Last Dance For Me/As Long As I Live
(HSL,9446 UK) As Long As I Live/When I Get Paid
(Sun 371) (November 1961) Money/Bonnie B
(Sun 374) (HLS.9526 UK) (January 1962) I've Been Twistin'/Ramblin' Rose
(Sun 379) (HLS.9584 UK) (July 1962) Sweet Little Sixteen/How's My Ex Treating You
(Sun 382) (HLS.9688 UK) (November 1962) Good Golly Miss Molly/I Can't Trust Me (In Your Arms Anymore)
(Sun 384) (HLS.9722 UK) (April 1963) Teenage Letter/Seasons Of My Heart
(HLS.9867 UK) Lewis Boogie/Bonnie B
(Sun 396) (HLS.9980 UK) (March 1965) Carry Me Back To Old Virginia/I Know What It Means

SUN EPS 957-1965

(EPA 107 USA) Mean Woman Blues; I'm Feelin' Sorry; Whole Lotta Shakin; Goin; On; Turn Around
(EPA 108 USA) Don't Be Cruel; Goodnight Irene; Put Me Down; It All Depends
(EPA 109 USA) Ubangi Stomp; Crazy Arms; Jambalaya; Fools Like Me
(EPA 110 USA) High School Confidential; When The Saints; Matchbox; It'll Be Me

(RES.1140 UK) It'll Be Me; Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On; Great Balls Of Fire; You Win Again
(RES.1186 UK) Don't Be Cruel; Out Me Down; It All Depends; Crazy Arms
(RES.1187 UK) Jambalaya; Fools Like Me; High School Confidential; When The Saints
(RES.1296 UK) What'd I Say; Livin' Lovin' Wreck; John Henry; Hang Of My Rock And Roll Shoes
(RES.1336 UK) Money; Save The Last Dance For Me; Turn Around; Hello Josephine
(RES.1351 UK) Sweet Little Sixteen; How's My Ex Treating You; Lovin' Up A Storm; I've Been Twistin'
(RES.1378 UK) Good Golly Miss Molly; I Can't Trust Me; Teenage Letter; Seasons Of My Heart


1958 (SUN LP 1230 USA) (HAS.2138 UK) Jerry Lee Lewis
1962 (SUN LP 1265 USA) (HAS.2440 UK) Jerry Lee's Greatest
1966 (HAS.8251 UK) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
1967 (HAS.8323 UK) Breathless
1969 (S.I.LP 102 USA) (6467.002 UK) Original Golden Hits - Volume 1
1969 (S.I.LP 103 USA) (6467.008 UK) Original Golden Hits - Volume 2
1969 (S.I.LP 107 USA) (6467.017 UK) Rockin' Rhythm And Blues
1969 (S.I.LP 108 USA) (6467.011 UK) Golden Cream Of The Country
1969 (S.I.LP 114 USA) (6467.015 UK) A Taste Of Country

1970 (S.I.LP 119 USA) (6467024 UK) Sunday Down South
(5 tracks only, others by Johnny Cash)

1970 (S.I.LP 121 USA) (6467.020 UK) Ole Time Country Music
1970 (S.I.LP 124 USA) (6467.019 UK) Monsters
1971 (S.I.LP 125 USA) (6467.018 UK) Sings Hank Williams
(5 tracks only, others by Johnny Cash)
1971 (S.I.LP 128 USA) (6467.023 UK) Original Golden Hits - Volume 3
1973 (6641.162 UK) Rockin' Up A Storm (Double LP)

1973 (6467.025 UK) Put Your Cat Clothes On
(A various artists compilation containing one previously unissued track by Jerry Lee Lewis.

1974 (6467.027 UK) Carryin' On
A various artists compilation containing one previously unissued track by Jerry Lee Lewis.

1974 (6467.029 UK) Rockin' And Free

(NY-6) Collectors Edition.
A Dutch compilation containing several previously unissued tracks.

1974 (CR 30002 UK) Jerry Lee Lewis And His Pumping Piano
1974 (CR 30006 UK) Rare Jerry Lee Lewis - Volume 1
1974 (CR 30007 UK) Rare Jerry Lee Lewis - Volume 2
1976 (CR 30111 UK) The Original Jerry Lee lewis

1976 (CR 30116 UK) More Rebel Rockabilly
A various artists compilation containing one previously unissued track by Jerry Lee Lewis.

1977 (CR 30121 UK) Nuggets
1977 (CR 30129 UK) Nuggets - Volume 2
1977 (S.I.LP 1000 USA) Golden Rock 'N ' Roll
1978 (CRM.208 UK) The Essential Jerry Lee Lewis

1978 (S.I.LP 1011 USA) (SUN 1001 UK) Duets
Contains tracks overdubbed by Orion (Jimmy Ellis)

1979 (Sun 1003 UK) Good Rockin' Tonight

1979 (S.I.LP 1018 USA) (SUN 1004 UK) Trio
Contains tracks overdubbed by Orion (Jimmy Ellis)

1981 (CRM 2008 UK) Jerry Lee's Greatest (reissue of SUN LP 1265).
1982 (CFM.514 UK) The Pumping Piano cat
1982 (CFM.515 UK) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
1982 (CFM.516 UK) The Great Ball Of Fire
1982 (CFM.517 UK) Wild One At The High School Hop

Other albums that first contained at least one previously unissued track by Jerry Lee Lewis.

1972 (JS-6120) Rural Route 2
(Music 201 Bootleg) Rockin'
1974 (Hallmark SHM.823 UK) Great Balls Of Fire
1974 (Bop Cat 100 Bootleg) Good Rocking Tonight
1976 (Hallmark SHM.864 UK) Kings Of Country - Volume 1
1978 (Redita) 103) Raunch Radley - Guitar City


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