Jerry Lee Lewis is a singer and pianist who was born in Louisiana in 1935. Often known by the nickname ‘The Killer,’ Lewis is one of the most influential pianists of the 20th century and has been described by music critics as the first great wild man of rock ‘n’ roll. He was also a pioneer of rockabilly music, then transitioned to the country music genre a decade into his career. Lewis gained fame and success in the late 1950s, but his popularity waned during the 1960s due to various aspects of his personal life. Lewis was married seven times, and he had six children from these marriages. One of his wives was his 13-year-old cousin, while another of his wives died in a swimming pool accident. The sudden death of his fourth wife led to allegations that Lewis was responsible. Several of his wives accused him of being mentally and physically abusive. The allegations of abuse and Lewis’s marriage to his teenage cousin impacted his career, although he regained popularity during the 1970s. Despite the ups and downs of his career, Jerry Lee Lewis released 40 studio albums, ten compilation albums, four live albums, and 77 singles. Here are the 10 best Jerry Lee Lewis songs of all time.
10. To Make Love Sweeter for You (1968)
‘To Make Love Sweeter for You’ was Jerry Lee Lewis’s third number one on the county chart. It was also his first number-one single since ‘Great Balls of Fire in 1958.’ In total, the song was on the country chart for 13 weeks, although it was only in the top spot for one week. The single also reached number four on the Canadian country chart.
9. Me and Bobby McGee (1971)
Singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson wrote the song ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ with Fred Foster. It was originally performed by Roger Miller, then a version by Janis Joplin was released posthumously, and Joplin’s version topped the charts. Jerry Lee Lewis covered the track in 1971, and it was released as a single and on the album ‘Would You Take a Chance on Me.’
8. One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart) (1969)
‘One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart)’ was a number one hit in Canada in 1969, and it peaked at number three in the US country charts. It was written by Eddie Dean, Lorene Dean, and Hal Blair. Jerry Lee Lewis was not the first to perform the song, as it was first released by Jimmy Wakely. Within two years of the original being released, the song’s writer, Eddie Dean, has also released a version of the track.
7. What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) (1968)
Although ‘What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)’ was not a success on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching only number 94, it was number two on the US country charts and a number one hit on the Canadian country charts. Glen Sutton wrote the song, and it is about alcoholism. The title is a reference to the slogan of Schiltz beer, ‘The beer that made Milwaukee famous.’
6. She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye (1969)
Mickey Newbury and Doug Gilmore wrote ‘She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye,’ and Lewis released the track as the first single from his album of the same name. It was a number one hit on the Canadian chart and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Newbury later recorded a version of the song, as did Kenny Rogers and The First Edition and Ronnie Milsap.
5. Would You Take Another Chance On Me (1971)
Jerry Lewis achieved his fifth number one on the country charts when he released ‘Would You Take Another Chance on Me’ in 1971. Although it only topped the charts for one week, it was in the top 40 for 16 weeks. It was co-written by Bill Rice and Jerry Kennedy, and the song featured on the album of the same name.
4. There Must Be More to Love Than This (1970)
‘There Must Be Moe to Love Than This’ was Jerry Lee Lewis’s first chart-topping hit of the 1970s, reaching the top position in both the United States and Canadian country charts. Bill Taylor and Thomas LaVerne co-wrote this song.
3. Chantilly Lace (1972)
This Is My Jam lists Jerry Lee Lewis’s 1972 single ‘Chantilly Lace’ as one of his best songs, and it featured on the album ‘The Killer Rocks On.’ It topped both the United States and Canadian country charts. Jiles Perry ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson wrote this song, and he was also the first to release it as a single in 1958.
2. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On (1957)
‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On’ was Jerry Lee Lewis’s first top ten hits, as it topped the US Country chart, reached number three on the US Billboard 100, and peaked at number eight in the UK. Although it was a non-album track, it later featured on ‘Original Golden Hits- Volume 1.’ It was written by Dave Curlee Williams, and it was originally recorded by Big Mabelle before becoming a hit for Lewis.
1. Great Balls of Fire ((1957)
Classic Rock History says that ‘Great Balls of Fire’ is the best Jerry Lee Lewis song of all time, and it was also his most commercially successful single. It was his third single and the second single he released from his second album, ‘Jerry Lee’s Greatest!’ It was a number one hit on the US Country charts and in the UK, and it peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.