From Memphis to Nashville: The Odyssey of Jerry Lee Lewis

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From Memphis to Nashville: The Odyssey of Jerry Lee Lewis

by Mark Royden Winchell
Southern Cultures, Vol. 6, No. 4: Winter 2000

"'This old boy wanted to kill me a while back because I married his daughter, but we're friends again now.'"

I first saw Jerry Lee Lewis in the Vanderbilt University football stadium on Labor Day 1973. The opening act that night was Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. Although political incorrectness was not yet in vogue, the irrepressible Kinky managed to insult every conceivable racial and ethnic group. After Kinky, Jerry Lee’s kid sister, Linda Gail Lewis, took the stage. By this time the crowd had grown restless. Because of his battles with the three scourges of modern lifebooze, drugs, and the IRS“the Killer” had begun to get a reputation for not showing up for scheduled gigs. Fearing that this might be a night of disappointment, the crowd began shouting for little sister to get the hell off the stage.