Printer Friendly

Jerry Lee's teen bride calls off the show for Welsh rock'n'roll fans; Time traveller looking back.

Byline: Dan O'Neill

IT appeared in the Echo 50 years ago thisveryweek: a headline todevastate the army of fans waiting to welcome the rockin' rottweiller they reckoned was ready to kick King Elvis off his throne.


Oh, what woe among the local Fonzies that night. Their hero, the most outrageous piano-pounder of 'em all, was being given the old heave-ho from the country.

Great news for the town's solemn elder statesmen though. They'd feared that Jerry Lee Lewis, a guy to make 'Keef' Richards look like Cliff Richard, would turn Splott into some sort of Sodom, Grangetown into Gomorrah, withRoathand Canton trying hard to catch up.

What ammunition Jerry Lee offered the prophets and preachers of our fair city and all those others who branded rock'n'roll nothing more than demented discords bellowed by a bunch of satanic singers. (Even the aforementioned St Cliff was condemned at one time).

But what had Jerry done to make him about as welcome as Osama in Our Town?

Well, nothingmuch, except bring his newlittle bride along for company on his 27-town tour of Britain. His third wife, he cheerfully conceded. Not bad going for somebody who was just 22 years old but hey, who's countin' our star wondered.

Trouble was, little Myra was just 13.

She was also, er, his first cousin. Oh, one other thing, Jerry had quite forgotten to divorce his second wife before saying I Do with Myra.

So who was worried?

Not those fans desperate to see the manic maestro who rocketed into the chartswithWhole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On and the one that got 'em stomping in the aisles, Great Balls of Fire. Liberace he wasn't. But Liberace never pummelled a piano like Jerry, never kicked a piano stool as far.

Nope, they weren't worried. But the authorities were, backed by a host of holier-than-thou columnists who claimed they were shocked, horrified and disgusted to think that anyone could tolerate this cradle-snatching sinner after Myra's age hit the headlines.

They kicked up such a storm that the usual rentamouth MPs joined in and got the tour cancelled after just one week.

So no Jerry Lee Lewis in Cardiff on June 5. NoJWBrown, either.

Who he? Myra's 31-year-old daddy, that's who, backing his son-in-law on electric bass. Shoulda been Young Love instead of Great Balls . ..

But the Show Must Go On so fans were invited to step into the Capitol Cinema and listen to Terry Wayne instead of Jerry.

Remember TerryWayne, do you? "Singing Star"

Terry Wayne? Thought not.

Never even made the charts.

Meanwhile, off they went to New York, Myra hanging on to hubby's arm, pouting, "It's just jealousy." She got back to Cardiff 25 years later looking for Jerry's roots (after all, he was a Lewis), taking time out totell us thatmarriage at 13 to a cousin who hadn't divorced his missus, "doesn't have the significance in America's Deep South it apparently does here."

Those Jerry-bashers were, "just looking for somewhere to stick the knife into sinful music. So they stuck it in Jerry."

Jerry was more forgiving.

"I got nothing against the British.

Audiences was fine. There was just some wanted to make trouble." Besides, hewas only14when hemarried for the first time (toa17-year-old). The second time? "Just 16." Jerry might have been exaggerating slightly.

But back in Lousiana, he remarried Myra "just to make things legal." And maybe tomake sure there weren't any problems when he came back to Cardiff in 1962 with 17-year-old Myra.

"This time the reception was fabulous."

The fans thought he was, too. "Worth waiting four years for him," said one.

Myra stuckwithher hell-raising husband for 10 years but his drinking and womanising got worse. When she called him, threatening suicide, he pinched a ditty from Jim Reeves.

"Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone," he crooned. Devotion?

Last minute change of hearet? No! "So I can hear the gun go off."

Myra settled for divorce then plunged her own knife in by announcing that "Anyway, y'all, Ah always liked Elvis' singing mo' than Jerry's," Maybe that's why Jerry was hauled into court in 1976 for being drunk and waving a weapon around outside the palatial pad of, yep, Mr Elvis Aaron Presley.

Jerry's fourth wife Jaren died in a swimming pool and Shawn, number five, was found dead in their home 77 days after their wedding. He married Kerry, number six, in 1984 and kept on swinging.

In 1993 he was chucked off stage in Spain for kicking a cameraman. And after that? Who knows . ..


ROCK REBEL: Jerry Lee Lewis and, below, his young wife Myra. Their relationship scandalised 1950s society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 27, 2008
Previous Article:News Quiz.
Next Article:1978 THIS WAS THE WEEK THAT... Continuing our look at stories of the past, we head back to 30 years ago this week. Take a trip downmemory lane.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters