Jerry Lee Lewis was in the midst of controversy before the advent of social media. On stage, he performed in a state close to frenzy. A savage, raw energy burning within him, he hammered the keyboard like a man possessed.
His life was a toxic cocktail of scandal, addiction and violence. Two of his seven wives died in suspicious circumstances; another was barely more than a child. This was the man who – legend has it – once drove to Graceland, high on alcohol and pills, with a gun on the dashboard. “Come out,” he said to Elvis Presley, “and we’ll soon find out who’s King.”
Amidst all of the above, Lewis was still legendary to the rock and roll scene that made what we have today. On Sunday, Jerry Lee Lewis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame before his passing.
A post was put up on Instagram featuring one of the last known photos of Lewis that read: “The legendary Jerry Lee was too ill with the flu to attend the ceremony. His longtime dear friend @kristofferson accepted in his honor from @officialhankjr and Kris and his wife Lisa were nice enough to drive down to Memphis and present it to Jerry Lee in person. We love you, Kris, thank you so much – and major thanks to all the millions of fans who supported this effort, fellow Hall of Famers and artists, @officialcmhof and staff and @cma for honoring him.”
Along with post, an acceptance note was attached to the post that Jerry made for his fans: “Dear friends and fans in Nashville, It is with heartfelt sadness and disappointment that I write to you today from my sick bed, rather than be able to share my thoughts in person. I tried everything I could to build up the strength to come today – I’ve looked so forward to it since I found out about it earlier this year. My sincerest apologies to all of you for missing this fine event, but I hope to see you all soon.”