As a photojournalist in Memphis, I have covered Jerry Lee Lewis many times over the years. I moved to Memphis in the late 80's and I have always enjoyed watching Jerry Lee Lewis perform. I consider myself a fan as well.
I was originally introduced to him by my fellow coworker Jim Kingsley, who has since passed away. Jim who was a stereotypical newsman, was also in the inner circle of Elvis Presley. Jerry was married to his sixth wife Kerry Lynn McCarver at the time. I remember Lee (Jerry Lee Lewis lll) as a toddler.
Lewis is passionate about his music and loyal to his fans.
I have photographed him in clubs, festivals, on Donald Trumps yacht and have been lucky enough to visit his ranch many times. I watched him get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I watched the IRS remove his piano from his home when he owed back taxes.
Jerry Lee has lived a turbulent life and he has a wild reputation. While I admit he is a bit of a flirt, I can say my personal experience with him has been that he has always been a kind man and a gentleman, each and every time I have interacted with him. It has always been my pleasure to photograph him.
I recently watched him bring in the new year once again at age 82, at his namesake club, Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe and Honky Tonk on Beale Street in Memphis. I realized what an honor it has been to cover him for 30 years. I still get a kick out of watching him and he still gets a kick out of playing for his fans who come from all over the world to see him. You can see in the video that he stills smiles at the end of Great Balls of Fire, his signature song that he must have sung thousands of times since it was a hit in the 50's.
I have decided to share a glimpse of my photo collection in this photo gallery (above) and share a current video in this blog space below.
©Karen Pulfer Focht- Photojournalist