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Celebrities react to death of Jerry Lewis Rock ‘N Roll Pioneer

LEGENDS & ICONS OF MUSIC - Wanda Davidson Post

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The last survivor of a generation of groundbreaking performers that included Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, Lewis died at his Mississippi home, south of Memphis, Tennessee, representative Zach Farnum said in a release. The news came two days after the publication of an erroneous TMZ report of his death, later retracted.

Of all the rock rebels to emerge in the 1950s, few captured the new genre’s attraction and danger as unforgettably as the Louisiana-born piano player who called himself “The Killer.”

Lewis’s appeal to baby boomer kids entranced by the new genre called rock ‘n’ roll was boosted by manic performances on The Steve Allen Show and in the motion picture High School Confidential. Lewis’s hair flipped and flopped as he pounded the keys, yipped and yodelled, kicked the piano bench aside and played standing up or even with his feet.

“The Killer” — Lewis’s nickname stemming from a colloquial childhood greeting — was inducted into the inaugural 1986 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received a Grammy lifetime achievement award.

“God bless Jerry Lee Lewis peace and love to his family.”

— Ringo Starr, on Twitter

“Without Jerry Lee Lewis, I wouldn’t have become who I am today. He was groundbreaking and exciting, and he pulverized the piano. A brilliant singer too. Thank you for your trailblazing inspiration and all the rock ‘n’ roll memories. #RIP”

— Elton John, on Twitter

“Jerry Lee was a Christian, an American icon and the greatest piano player in the world. People will be listening to ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ’Whole Lot of Shakin’ 500 years from now. I will miss him. God bless you Jerry Lee.”

— Dennis Quaid, who played Lewis in a 1989 movie, in a statement