Jerry Lee Lewis

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Announces the 12th Annual American Music Masters® Series: "Whole Lotta Shakin': The Life and Music of Jerry Lee Lewis"

2007 series will mark the FIRST time Rock Hall honors a living master - Lewis will be special guest, present at tribute concert

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University will celebrate the legacy of one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, the legendary Jerry Lee Lewis, during the 12th Annual American Music Masters® series this November. The weeklong event begins on Monday, November 5, and will feature panels, films, educational programs, an all-day conference at Case and a tribute concert at Playhouse Square’s State Theater.

The tribute concert will take place on Saturday, November 10 at 8 p.m. at Playhouse Square’s State Theater. Participating artists will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets for the tribute concert are $30, $40 and $50.  Tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, September 19 through and at the Playhouse Square box office (216) 241-6000. 

Few artists represent the energy, spirit and passion of rock and roll music as well as Jerry Lee Lewis. Long considered one of the leading popular music stylists, he ranks among such figures as Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday and Jimmie Rodgers. Lewis helped to create the archetype of the rock and roll rebel artist with his mix of musical acumen and unbridled energy.

“It’s a profound honor for my father to be celebrated as the 2007 American Music Master and to be included in the company of previous honorees including Bessie Smith, Sam Cooke, Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie,” said Phoebe Lewis.

Lewis was in the first group of artists ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 2004, he was named as one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Whether performing an energy-filled rock and roll tune or a melancholy country song, Lewis is master of a wide musical territory. His voice projects an urgent yet polished rhythm and his live-in-the-moment, piano-pounding, bench-kicking stage presence has forever left its mark on rock and roll history.

A piano virtuoso, Lewis’s unique brand of country, rock and pop music catapulted him into the international spotlight in 1957 with the groundbreaking “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” which went to Number One on both the country & western and R&B charts. The popular “Great Balls of Fire” followed, selling more than five million copies. That same watershed year, Lewis traveled the country and appeared on many television shows, including Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and The Steve Allen Show.

Lewis grew up learning to play piano by ear, absorbing the rich musical heritage that was all around him: western swing, boogie-woogie, uptempo R&B and Delta blues. Among his first crucial musical influences was the blues-inflected country sound of Jimmie Rodgers. But Lewis also absorbed the gospel and R&B of the local black community.

Lewis was discovered by Sam Phillips of Sun Records, whose stable of artists also included Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. Not long after joining Sun, the now-famous Sun studio jam session with Presley, Perkins, Cash and Lewis led to the unprecedented Million Dollar Quartet recording.

Then came “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire,” followed by the hits “Breathless” and “High School Confidential,” all of which proved that Lewis was here to stay.

Beginning in the late Sixties, Lewis launched such Top Ten country hits as “Another Place, Another Time” and

“What Made Milwaukee Famous (Made a Loser Out of Me).” In 1973, Lewis released The Session, his re-entry into the rock and roll realm. The album was recorded in London with music greats Peter Frampton, Rory Gallagher, Alvin Lee and Klaus Voormann.  By the early Eighties, he’d racked up a string of 30 country hits. In 1986, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1995, he marked his 60th year with a red-hot rock and roll album, Young Blood.
His latest studio album, Last Man Standing, was released in 2006 and features duets with music legends Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Don Henley and many more. To this day, Lewis’s fire burns bright.
For more information on Jerry Lee Lewis go to Licensing and IP Management: Michael Blitzer, Brasstacks Alliance, LLC for Pont Neuf, Inc. Booking: Steve Green, Artist International.
About the American Music Masters® Series
The American Music Masters® series, a co-production of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, celebrates the lives and careers of artists who changed the shape and sound of American culture. Each year, the series explores the legacy of one of those pioneering figures in a range of events that includes Museum exhibits, lectures, films, a major conference and a tribute concert benefiting the Rock Hall’s Education Department. Drawing together experts, artists, fans and friends, these events aim to provide new perspectives on some of the most beloved and influential musicians of the past century.
The American Music Masters® series began in 1996 when the museum paid tribute to Woody Guthrie with a 10-day celebration of his life and legacy. Other American Music Masters® series honorees have included: the father of country music, Jimmie Rodgers in 1997; blues legend, Robert Johnson in 1998; rhythm and blues pioneer, Louis Jordan in 1999; the legendary Muddy Waters in 2000; the “Empress” Bessie Smith in 2001; Hank Williams, the first country western superstar in 2002; Buddy Holly in 2003; folk-blues artist Lead Belly in 2004; Sam Cooke in 2005; and Roy Orbison in 2006.
About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.
The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  On Wednesdays the Museum is open until 9 p.m.  Museum admission is $20 for adults, $14 for seniors (60+), $11 for children (9-12) and children under 8 and Museum members are free. When you become a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the world of rock and roll becomes yours to explore. Call 216.515.1939 for information on becoming a member. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK.

CLEVELAND (September 6, 2007)

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