50s Music

Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls Of Fire

About the song

If you are a fan of rock and roll music, you probably know the song “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis. It’s one of the most iconic and energetic songs of the genre, and it has been covered by many artists over the years. But do you know the history and meaning behind this classic hit?

“Great Balls of Fire” was recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis on October 8, 1957, at the Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. The song was written by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer, who also wrote “Don’t Be Cruel” for Elvis Presley. The song was featured in the 1957 movie Jamboree, which also starred Lewis and other rock and roll stars like Carl Perkins and Fats Domino.

The song was a huge success for Lewis, who was known as “The Killer” for his wild and flamboyant style. It sold more than one million copies in its first 10 days of release in the United States, making it one of the best-selling singles at that time. It also reached No. 1 on the country charts, No. 2 on the pop charts, and No. 3 on the R&B charts. In the UK, it topped the singles chart for two weeks, becoming Lewis’s first and only No. 1 hit there.

The song is considered to be one of the most influential songs in rock history, and it is ranked as the 96th greatest song ever by Rolling Stone magazine. It is written in AABA form, which means that it has two verses, a bridge, and then a repeat of the first verse. The song is driven by Lewis’s powerful vocals and piano playing, which showcase his talent and charisma.

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The title of the song comes from a Southern expression that means “amazing” or “incredible”. The lyrics are about a passionate romance that is so intense that it feels like fire. The song has a sexual undertone, which was controversial at the time, especially for a country singer like Lewis. Some radio stations banned the song or played a censored version that replaced the word “balls” with “kisses”.

Lewis himself had some reservations about recording the song, because he was a devout Christian who had attended bible school before becoming a rock star. He felt that the song was sinful and blasphemous, and he argued with Sam Phillips, the head of Sun Records, about whether he should sing it or not. Phillips convinced him to record the song by telling him that he was singing for God, not for himself.

The song became a signature tune for Lewis, who performed it live many times throughout his career. He also recorded several versions of it, including a live one at the Star Club in Hamburg in 1964. The song was also used as the title of the 1989 biopic about Lewis’s life, starring Dennis Quaid as Lewis and Winona Ryder as his teenage cousin and wife Myra Gale Brown.

“Great Balls of Fire” is a song that captures the spirit and excitement of rock and roll music. It is a song that celebrates love, life, and freedom. It is a song that has stood the test of time and inspired generations of musicians and fans.


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