One of the founding fathers of rock and roll, Jerry Lee Lewis was the honoree for the 12th Annual American Music Masters series. Long considered one of the leading popular music stylists, Jery Lee Lewis 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. 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.
Jerry Lee attended the tribute concert and while not scheduled to perform, was moved to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to close the show.
Saturday, November 10 at 8:00pm
On Saturday, November 10 from 9am until 4pm at Case Western Reserve University's Wolstein Auditorium, scholars, artists, journalists and fans gathered at a conference to reflect on the career of Jerry Lee Lewis and his impact on rock and roll music. Participants included Jerry Lee Lewis' longtime musical associate Kenny Lovelace, first generation Sun Records musicians Billy Lee Riley and James Van Eaton, legendary artists Sleepy LaBeef and Narvel Felts, former Sun Records engineer Cowboy Jack Clemenet, lontime Jerry Lee Lewis friends and associates JW Whitten and Cecil Herrelson, Knox Phillips (son of Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records), Jerry Lee Lewis' sister Linda Gail Lewis, and, as keynote presenter, celebrated author Peter Guralnick.
On Thursday, November 9, the Rock Hall screened the documentary Jerry Lee Lewis: Killer Piano that features the life and career of Jerry Lee Lewis.
NPR Cleveland Ideastream reporter and producer David C. Barnett discussed the impact of Jerry Lee Lewis in film and on television on Wednesday, November 7.
On Tuesday, November 6, Professors Mary Davis and Daniel Goldmark of Case Western Reserve University, Rock Hall Exhibitions Coordinator Shelby Morrison and Cleveland pianist Mike Petrone presented a comparative study of the piano-playing of Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Fats Domino.
On Monday, November 5, music journalist Hank Davis reflected on the music and life of Jerry Lee Lewis.
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