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Posted October 8, 2006
The first thing when you think about Jerry Lee Lewis is Great Balls of Fire, but 'Hellfire' says otherwise. A drunk driver kills Elmo Jr., Jerry¿s older brother in the first pages when Jerry is only three years old. Although Jerry is devastated by the accident, he does not let it get to him. Jerry started to play the piano at the age of eight and never looked back. Signing with Sun records in 1954, Jerry wrote three top ten hits, including Great Balls of Fire, which was his biggest hit of all-time. At the same time, Jerry married Myra Gale Brown, who happened to be his second cousin and only thirteen at the time. In the late 50's, Jerry appeared in a few movies including High School Confidential. Lewis's final note of fame was in the country music business in the late 60's, where he wrote a few songs that crossed the hits list, but nothing big. The fame that Mr. Lewis made could not match the tragedy or scandal in his life. Jerry hit rock bottom when his second born child, Steve Lewis died in a pool from drowning in 1969. In addition, in 1973, Jerry Lewis Jr. the firstborn child, died in a roadside accident. Also, in the 70's, came the scandal at Jerry's forty-first birthday, where Jerry shot his bass player thinking that the gun he had aimed at him was empty. Luckily, the band member survived and was released from the hospital a couple of days later. Jerry Lee Lewis was done with music from that point on, but his old tunes still make the airwaves today. This year Jerry Lee turned 71 on September 29 and still is living strong. The major messages of the book include scandal, addictions, tragedy and success. I liked the part of 'Hellfire' when it talked about how Elvis was jealous of his piano playing skills and how Jerry was able to overcome the death of his older brother at such a young age. I disliked how Jerry Lee married his cousin and conceived a child and how the author, Nick Tosches, did not explain the country music that Jerry sang. People should read this book because it mentions how hard life really can be to someone who seems rich and famous, and how tragedy can really affect everyone.
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Posted April 24, 2002