Jerry Lee Lewis At Sun Records: The Collected Works Released

(Webster) German-based Bear Family Records has just released Jerry Lee Lewis At Sun Records: The Collected Works, an eighteen CD & 2 book collection that tells the story of one of the most original and unique artists of all time. Spanning the years from 1956 until 1963, the set contains a staggering 623 tracks of Lewis at his piano-thumping greatness!

The set contains every surviving recording from the Sun master collection - and every single take! Included on the discs are such Lewis classics as "Crazy Arms," "You Win Again," as well as his two biggest hits, "Great Balls Of Fire," and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On," which topped the Billboard Country Singles chart in 1957 and 1958, respectively.

Lewis was born September 29, 1935 in Ferriday, Louisiana. With cousins that included Jimmy Swaggart and future Country superstar Mickey Gilley, music struck a chord in the singer at a very early age. His mother enrolled him in Southwest Bible Institute in Waxahachie, Texas, so he would be singing only Gospel and Inspirational songs, but was expelled for adding his own boogie-woogie touch to a version of the classic "My God Is Real." Also unsuccessful was a trip he made to Nashville in 1955 to drum up interest in himself as a recording artist. However, executives in Music City turned Lewis away, suggesting that he might take up the guitar instead.

As it turned out, Lewis found his home at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis - the home of Sam Phillips' Sun Records. The maverick producer loved the singer exactly the way he was, and quickly signed him to a record deal in November of 1956. By the mid-way point of 1957, Lewis was well his way to making musical history. "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" became his first hit - peaking at No. 3 on the Hot 100. "Great Balls Of Fire" was next, and it became even bigger - spending four weeks at No. 2 on the hit parade.

Besides the hits Lewis cut for Phillips at Sun, many songs that you might not be aware the singer cut for the label are included in Jerry Lee Lewis At Sun Records: The Collected Works, including "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" (made famous by Elvis Presley originally, "I'm Throwing Rice" (a hit from the Eddy Arnold catalog), as well as "Be-Bop-A-Lula" (an iconic Pop hit from Gene Vincent.

The set - as well as the two books in the collection - follows the Lewis story through his controversial marriage to his first cousin once removed, Myra Gale Brown. Though the chart successes came to an end for the singer (save his 1960 raucous take on "What'd I'd Say"), Lewis continued to record for the label for several more years, recording such gems as "Money," "I've Been Twistin," and "Seasons Of My Heart." The music also comes along with a pair of exclusive hardbound books - one with a complete Lewis On Sun discography, as well as another full of historical photos of the singer - many never published anywhere!

Jerry Lee Lewis At Sun Records: The Collected Works serves as an excellent companion piece to Mercury Smashes, a ten-CD set that Bear Family released in 2000, that chronicles the classic Country recordings of Lewis between 1968 and 1977.

Bear Family Records continues to plow new musical ground. For a detailed listing of all of their releases, go here.

Webster submitted this story.
It may be edited- Excerpted here with permission.

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