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Jerry Lee Lewis


Jerry Lee Lewis performs in Germany in the 1950.
K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns
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Like his cousin, the TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Lee Lewis was raised in a proper religious home. Sent to study at Southwest Bible Institute, the budding young entertainer was tossed out for performing a boogie-woogie version of a gospel standard. That set the tone for a life on the fault line between sin and redemption. His biggest hits, "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," were sometimes banned for their not-so-subtle sexual innuendo. Lewis' career hit a deep freeze after news broke of his secret marriage to Myra Gale Brown, his 13-year-old cousin. One of the original unruly rock & rollers, "The Killer" turned his back on the sound in the late Sixties, remaking himself as a country singer. "If I'm going to Hell," he once said, "I'm going there playing the piano."


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