Today The Killer Plays the Opry (Better Late Than Never)

Jerry Lee Lewis and Del Wood at the Grand Ole Opry, 1973

From all accounts he tore the place up too. He hadn’t been long out of the wilderness when he was finally invited to debut on the Grand Ole Opry. It was January 20, 1973 and Jerry Lee had in recent years paid for his sins by exile. Since the long goodbye he had slowly made his way back and had seemingly mellowed into a bonafide country and western singer, at least on record. His live shows were another matter, he was still the Killer after all.

In order to play the Opry his manager had to promise them that Jerry Lee wouldn’t play rock ‘n’ roll and wouldn’t cuss. What Jerry Lee did though was take control of the Opry for a full 40 minutes. He disregarded all curtain cues, commercial breaks and wrap it up signs and just played. Although, Jerry Lee doesn’t really just play so much as wrestle. He wrestles with the piano, the audience, the songs, God, sometimes all at once, sometimes it seems to be mostly a draw. He’s still kicking after all. So, yes he played his forsaken rock ‘n’ roll. He laid it all out there and the people stood up and hollered. They always did.

Oh yes, and he certainly swore. It was beautiful in a human kind of way.

Jerry Lee Lewis at the Grand Ole Opry, 1973

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About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
This entry was posted in Country, Folk, Honky Tonk, Music, Pop, Radio, Rock, Rockabilly and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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