Lewis, Jerry Lee / Great Balls of Fire | Sun 281 | Single, 7" Vinyl |  November 1957

Sun Sounds: “Great Balls Of Fire”- Jerry Lee Lewis. I just missed the 1950’s- I wasn’t there but it has a reputation as a conservative time in the United States. Yet with Rock N Roll- Elvis was surely outrageous – and well- I don’t know who was off the rails more- Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis- certainly those two had to seem like aliens from outer space to a lot of Americans at the time. In the late 50’s who would have thought the last man standing out of the great 50’s rock n rollers would be Jerry Lee?

“Great Balls Of Fire” in 1957 went to #2 on the Billboard Pop Chart and #1 on the Country Singles Chart. While I would give “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” the edge over “Great Balls Of Fire” as Jerry Lee’s greatest hit- they both are certainly rock n roll classics- “Great Balls of Fire” sold a million copies within its first ten days of release and 5 million overall- this was in the 1950’s. “Great Balls Of Fire” was listed by Rolling Stone at #96 on their 500 Greatest Songs Ever list {“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” was #61} Sam Phillips recorded “Great Balls of Fire” at Sun Studio in Memphis in October 1957.

A side note- if you want to see a truly awful movie- and a textbook case of overacting- see Dennis Quaid as The Killer- in the 1989 movie “Great Balls of Fire”- its so terrible its worth watching. My brother and I went and saw it opening night at the theaters- and we were the only ones in the theater. The review that best describes Quaid playing Lewis-a grinning simpleton with a crazy streak. I haven’t seen it in over 30 years I need to find a copy to see how well it ‘holds up.”


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