Legendary pianist Jerry Lee Lewis is one of the most beloved ones in country music. Although he may have left the stage, his impact on the music world echoes through the ages. Let’s delve into the extraordinary life of The Killer. And the story behind Jerry Lee Lewis net worth.
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Who is Jerry Lee Lewis?
Jerry Lee Lewis was a legendary American pianist. Known by his nickname, The Killer, Lewis was a great singer of rock ‘n’ roll music, and was a songwriter too. He gained worldwide fame with the hit Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On and some others like Breathless and Great Balls of Fire in the late 1950s.
His energetic piano playing and wild stage presence earned him a reputation as rock ‘n’ roll’s first great wild man.
Transitioning to country music in the late 1960s, Lewis achieved success with country hits like To Make Love Sweeter for You. Over his seven-decade career, Lewis had numerous chart-topping songs and received multiple Hall of Fames. And his distinctive style and live performances had lasting contributions to rock and country genres.
|Jerry Lee Lewis
|September 29, 1935
|Ferriday, Louisiana, US
|October 28, 2022 (aged 87)
|Pianist, Singer, Songwriter
Jerry Lee Lewis Net Worth
In his six-decade lengthy career, rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis has earned not just fame but millions of fortune, too. As of October 2023, before his death, Lewis owned around $10 million of net worth.
In his early career, Lewis gained massive popularity while also making himself the greatest pianist of all time. Along with his earnings, he raised up as well. In between, the pianist faced several ups and downs and even bankruptcy. Still, he was able to overcome all the struggles and continue his music career successfully.
Born in September 1935, Jerry Lee Lewis hailed from Ferriday, Louisiana. His parents were Mary Herron Lewis and Elmo Kidd Lewis Sr.
Lewis started playing the piano with his cousins Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart. He made his first public performance in 1949, wowing the audience with one of the renditions of Stick McGhee.
His mother wanted him to sing only evangelical songs, so she enrolled him in the Southwest Bible Institute in Texas. Unfortunately, Lewis’s play of the boogie-woogie version of My God Is Real at a church event led to his expulsion from the school.
Undeterred, Lewis began playing at clubs around Ferriday and Natchez. He even became part of the emerging rock and roll scene. In 1952, he recorded his first demo in New Orleans.
Around 1955, Lewis tried to make a start in Nashville. But Grand Ole Opry rejected him. Nevertheless, he found success at the Louisiana Hayride country stage and radio show in Shreveport. That’s when he began setting the stage for his influential career in rock ‘n’ roll.
Music Career: Source Behind Jerry Lee Lewis Net Worth
Jerry Lee Lewis has released a total of 40 Studio albums, 77 Singles, and 10 Compilation albums in his entire career. His music career was solely the source of his income and the net worth he had in his lifetime.
In 1952, Lewis recorded his first cover at Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Studio in New Orleans. One of his early sessions was a cover of Lefty Frizzell’s Don’t Stay Away, and another one was his own composition, Jerry’s Boogie. In 1956, Lewis moved to Memphis and auditioned for Sun Records. That’s where he produced hits like Crazy Arms and End of the Road.
Lewis’s fame started aviating with his major hit Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On along with some other records in 1957. Due to personal controversies, he faced some challenges for a while during this time. Despite a dip in popularity, he continued to evolve, transitioning to country music in 1968 with hits like Another Place, Another Time.
During 1968-1977, Lewis dominated the country charts with 17 Top 10 hits. His unpredictable live performances, captured in albums like Live at the Star Club, Hamburg, showcased his dynamic stage presence.
In the late ‘70s, Lewis switched to Elektra Records and started releasing his highly praised albums. His induction into the Roll Hall in 1986 and the release of Great Balls of Fire! in 1989 renewed public interest even more. In the 2000s, he continued to tour, releasing successful albums like Last Man Standing and Mean Old Man.
With several health setbacks in the later years, Lewis remained active in music, touring and performing in concerts. His 85th birthday celebration in 2020 featured a livestream with guest appearances. In 2023, A documentary, Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind, was released. The same year, he collaborated with Jimmy Swaggart on the gospel album The Boys from Ferriday.
Debt and Bankruptcy
Even with a huge success, Jerry Lee Lewis had to encounter substantial financial woes. Notably, his owing a significant tax debt of $274K to the IRS in the early 1980s was among them. A range of his assets, like vehicles, motorcycles, jewelry, and instruments, were seized by the IRS. But still, they could culminate in only a fraction of $91,382 in a 1980 auction.
Although Lewis was forgiven of tax evasion charges in 1984, he still scuffled with financial issues. The following year, the IRS seized assets from his Nesbit, Mississippi ranch. In 1988, facing an overwhelming debt exceeding $3 million, Lewis filed for bankruptcy, citing $2 million owed to the IRS. This period marked a challenging financial chapter for the renowned musician.
Jerry Lee Lewis was married seven times and had six children with different wives. He faced criticism early in his career for marrying his thirteen-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown. His sixth marriage lasted the longest, lasting for twenty-one years.
Lewis spent the rest of his life at his Nesbit Ranch, Mississippi. He was happily married to his seventh wife, Judith Brown, till his last breath.
Lewis’s religious convictions, as a devout Christian, often clashed with the more secular nature of his rock ‘n’ roll material.
What was Jerry Lee Lewis’s net worth when he died?
$10 million (estimated).
How many times did Jerry Lee Lewis marry?
What is Jerry Lee Lewis most famous for?
Jerry Lee Lewis was most famous for his energetic piano playing and wild stage presence.
What did Jerry Lee Lewis died from?
The legendary pianist and musician Jerry Lee Lewis died from natural causes.
While Jerry Lee Lewis net worth is not something that would imply how great he was as a musician. But it’s still an aspect that shows how successful he was. Though Lewis faced several hard times, his music was always great and adored. The Killer’s impact on music, with his electrifying performances and contributions to rock and country genres, will be remembered for generations to come.
Benedict is an entertainment enthusiast and a passionate blogger. He loves to share his insights and opinions of the ever-evolving entertainment world. When he’s not writing, you can find Benedict immersing himself in the latest releases, following the latest industry events, and engaging with fellow entertainment enthusiasts online.