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The Story Behind Jerry Lee Lewis’ Nickname “The Killer”

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Many probably think that Jerry Lee Lewis was nicknamed “The Killer” because of his wild piano playing and his even wilder life. While it is true that he had some insane performances and really did live the rock ‘n roll lifestyle, his nickname came before he even became a musician.

Reportedly, when he was just a young boy in his hometown of Ferriday, Louisiana, he got into a fight with a grown man. He tried to choke him with his own necktie. Later on, he would always carry a pistol with him. This branded him the nickname of “The Killer” because you just didn’t mess with Jerry Lee Lewis. The name stuck around even as he got famous.

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Why Jerry Lee Lewis was nicknamed “The Killer”

HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL!, Jerry Lee Lewis, 1958 / Everett Collection

Even though his life was filled with controversy, for instance when he married his 13-year-old cousin, he is still known for his hit songs. One of his most beloved songs is “Great Balls of Fire” and his performances will live on.

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RELATED: Legendary Performer Jerry Lee Lewis Dies At 87

THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, Jerry Lee Lewis, (Season 1, ep. 111, aired April 6, 1973), 1972-81 / Everett Collection

In later years, he calmed down, especially after his drug and alcohol use caught up to him. He suffered from a stroke that caused him to take a break from touring a few years ago. Ultimately, he passed away at the age of 87.

THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO, Jerry Lee Lewis, Kid Rock, (aired November 21, 2006), 1994-2009, photo: Paul Drinkwater / © NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

He was one of the last surviving members of the era that brought us famous musicians such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Johnny Cash. May he rest in peace.

RELATED: Hollywood Remembers And Pays Tribute To Late Rocker Jerry Lee Lewis

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