Jerry Lee Lewis on Ready Steady Go! - Hi Heel Sneakers and Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
I LOVE this footage of Jerry doing one great song after another. The first time I saw it was when RSG! was repeated on Channel 4 while I was at university. I remember kneeling in front of the TV and thinking that there really wasn't much point in any of the music that had come out since 1964 when this was filmed. It's all there. I'm still jealous of the audience.
Jerry Lee is: Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter, a striking cobra, a weirdly predatory older family member, a teenage heartthrob serial killer, Norman Bates at the end of Psycho and your cool uncle with a secret who you don't see all that often all rolled into one. At the start of that amazing performance he look like a bank clerk, hair all slicked back. He pounds out the opening chords and looks at the audience as if to say, "Idiots. I will kill you all". And then he slays them.
I love the way his eyes roll into his head when he hits the long repeated staccato chords and the amazing burnt edges to his vocals when he starts to testify. How is it comfortable for him to keep the mic stand in that position?
Half way through Whole Lotta Shakin' his hair comes undone and he's a bank clerk no more. You wouldn't trust him as far as you could throw him.
Then he starts to testify, looking straight into the camera, looking straight at YOU. And the final gallop to the finish line never fails to give me chills.
Plus the band in this footage is called The Plebs. Awesome.
Here's some prime Jerry Lee for you right here. Like many great artists, he seems to have had the potential to be an amateur human being. But at the very least Whole Lotta Shakin ' Goin' On is a top 5 all-time track. Don't you agree?
Jerry Lee Lewis - Lewis Boogie
Jerry Lee Lewis - High School Confidential
Jerry Lee Lewis - Whole Lotta Shakin ' Goin' On