Jerry Lee Lewis' new album, Mean Old Man
, came out today, and interviews with the 74-year-old Killer have been all over the newspapers and websites. The album -- available in 10- or 18-track editions -- includes collaborations with everyone from Sheryl Crow to Mick Jagger to Tim McGraw, and covers of classic songs such as "Bad Moon Rising" (with John Fogerty) and "Roll Over Beethoven" (with Ringo Starr and John Mayer). USA Today
has a particularly interesting profile of Lewis, along with his ever-present daughter and handler, Phoebe. The daughter considers what will become of her father's legacy when he passes on to the great gig in the sky.
"When he's gone, I'll go ahead and die, too," she jokes. "I want to get
as far away from the music business as I can. But I will guard his
legacy. I will not let him become an Elvis with silly, tacky junk. I'm
mortified when I see that merchandise all over Memphis. It's become
laughable. Elvis doesn't deserve that."
Kris Kristofferson, a longtime disciple, friend and collaborator, chimes in with sweeping praise for The Killer:
"He's one of the best American voices ever, and I'm not sure people
recognize what a great singer he is. It was always his rambunctious
activities that made the headlines. The fact that he's singing as strong
as ever is incredible. We're the lucky ones, because he could have quit
a long time ago."The Wall Street Journal
features Lewis recounting some anecdotes of his days at Sun with Elvis. Lewis is to jam Friday with the cast members of Broadway musical "Million Dollar Quartet,"
which is based on the impromptu 1956 jam session at Sun Studio involving Lewis, Elvis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.
Mr. Lewis and Presley were close friends and ambitious rivals. "One
day in the early '60s, I was driving to Sun in my Cadillac Eldorado and
Elvis was coming the other way in his," Mr. Lewis said. "Suddenly he
swings in front of me, screeching us to a stop. Out he jumps, laughing
and pointing, 'I'm going to sue you!' He loved what I had done with his
'Mean Woman Blues.'"
rockers spoke constantly by phone over the years, talking about music
and the pressures of the business. "Elvis always asked me to come up to
Graceland and play piano for him," Mr. Lewis said. "His favorite of mine
was 'You Win Again,' which he wanted me to play over and over again."
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Times' "Pop & Hiss" music blog offers a positive review of Mean Old Man, saying most of the superstar collaborations come off well.
It's a similar route to the one he took in 2006 with "Last Man
Standing," that one focusing on his stature as one of the founding
fathers of rock 'n' roll, this one emphasizing his second career in the
late-'60s and '70s as a master of country music.