Jerry Lee Lewis, Rock Music Pioneer, Dead at 87

Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock and roll innovator, is dead at the age of 87.

Lewis’ passing was announced on Friday (October 28th) by his publicist, Zach Farnum of 117 Group.

According to an accompanying obituary written by Rick Bragg, the musician “suffered through the last years of his life from various illnesses and injuries that, his physicians have often said, should have taken him decades ago.” “He is ready to leave,” his wife Judith was quoted as saying, just before his death.

A trailblazing pianist, Lewis helped popularize rockabilly and rock and roll with a run of hits in 1957 and ’58 including, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Breathless,” “High School Confidential,” and especially, “Great Balls of Fire.”

Lewis would go on to record dozens of subsequent albums, and in 1986 he became one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Following the ceremony, he is credited with starting an impromptu jam sessions, which has become a Hall tradition.

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