The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Civic Portraiture #3

Jerry Lee Lewis (aka The Killer)


Ivan G. said...

You know, I finally got around to seeing Great Balls of Fire a few months ago, and except for the fact that Dennis Quaid seems to be channelling Clem Kadiddlehopper through the flick, it's actually not that bad.

Of course, the people behind the film wisely chose to include the scene where Jerry Lee and Chuck Berry are squabbling about who will close the show and, having lost the argument, Lewis pours lighter fluid on the piannah and sets it aflame. "Follow that, Killer."

Anonymous said...

I thought that Lewis actually used the "n" word in the actual story. At least that's the way I've always heard it.

A local record store owner is the biggest Jerry Lee Lewis fan I've ever met (he even has the hair), and he once said, to no one in particular, "Breathless is the greatest rock and roll record ever made."

I have yet to find any evidence to prove him wrong.


Tom Sutpen said...

You're correct, Stephen; at least insofar as every account of that night at the Brooklyn Paramount is concerned. Lewis was severely pissed off that he couldn't close, so in his performance that night he pulled out ever stop and then some. He did indeed utter the 'N' word to a probably somewhat admiring . . . since he knew almost as much about showmanship as Jerry Lee Lewis . . . Chuck Berry.

After that incident, whenever they appeared on the same bill, Lewis and Berry would alternate the closing spot. No grudges ever obtained as far as I can tell.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Lee Lewis rules, the first time i heard of him and didnt know it was when i was a baby and tarzan was on, and my grandmother kept saying Great Balls Of Fire, i just thought it was a saying and laughed, but then i saw the movie Great Balls Of Fire i think it was, with dennis quaid, and i jsut had to hear him after that, great balls of fire is one of my favorite songs, and Jerr Lee Lewis is the foundation of everything crazy in rock and roll