500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Jerry Lee Lewis, 'Great Balls of Fire'

96. Jerry Lee Lewis, 'Great Balls of Fire'

Writers: Otis Blackwell, Jack Hammer
Producer: Sam Phillips
Released: Nov. '57, Sun
21 weeks; No. 2

With Lewis pounding the piano and leering, "Great Balls of Fire" was full of Southern Baptist hellfire turned into a near-blasphemous ode to pure lust. Lewis, a Bible-college dropout and cousin to Jimmy Swaggart, refused to sing it at first and got into a theological argument with Phillips that concluded with Lewis asking, "How can the devil save souls?" But as the session wore on and the liquor kept flowing, Lewis' mood changed considerably — on bootleg tapes he can be heard saying, "I would like to eat a little pussy if I had some." Goodness gracious, great balls of fire, indeed.

Appears on: Original Sun Greatest Hits (Rhino) 


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