I am a voracious ready, especially when it comes to rock ‘n roll bios. I often scan the used bookstores and the library for titles I haven’t read. During one of these recent “expeditions” to the library I came across book about Jerry Lee Lewis entitled, THE DEVIL, ME, AND JERRY LEE by Linda Gail Lewis.
When it comes to Jerry Lee Lewis, most people think his story “ends” after his marriage to his 13 year-old cousin Myra and the resulting “scandal” that seemingly ended his rock ‘n roll career. Yes, this book covers the early rock career of Jerry Lee – but it also covers his 2nd rise to fame as a country artist.
THE DEVIL, ME, AND JERRY LEE is full of road stories of Jerry Lee, told through the eyes of his sister Linda Gail Lewis, also a performer, who was also on tour with Jerry during these years. There are entertaining meetings with Elvis, John Lennon and Janis Joplin. One of the most interesting stories pertained to Jerry Lee’s “premonitions” when riding aircraft on tour in the ‘70s. If he had a bad feeling about the plane he would insist upon a new one, and this happened several times, much to the chagrin of his road manager. And guess where these planes ended up after Jerry Lee refused to board them? His management sold them to other rock artists, most notably Lynyrd Skynyrd and Ricky Nelson. That’s right, these same two planes crashed killing members of both bands! [At first I was a little skeptical, until I did a little research and found the same information in biographies of Rick Nelson.]
Although only 166 pages, I would recommend searching for a copy - the road stories alone make for a hilarious read. It’s ironic that some of the best stories occur after the official story “ends” in the Jerry Lee Lewis Hollywood bio “Great Balls of Fire”. Linda Gail claims that Myra’s input, for which the movie was based, is a little one-sided. I think that this book would make a great sequel (or a great TV docu-drama) to balance out the Jerry Lee Lewis story.