Jerry Lee Lewis, who died today at the age of 87, was the victim of a castrating mother who did not want her son to become a star of something that was being called rock n' roll. What did the lady do? She put him in a seminary in Texas. Result: in 1955, at the age of 16, Jerry marries Dorothy, the daughter of a preacher.
The disorders begin in that matriarchal decision. Later, Jerry's name would be inscribed on the wall of famous bigamists: having a son, already 17 years old, and still married to his premature second wife, Jane Mitcham, the precocious keyboardist married -obviously in secret- his cousin 13-year-old named Myra Gale Brown, daughter of a double bass player who performed at her shows.
At that time, the middle of the last century, it was not so strange. In fact, it even seemed quite normal, especially taking as an example Elvis himself, who, at the age of 24, married Priscilla, who was only 14.
But the difference was on the map: Jerry's misfortune was in England, while Elvis's was in the United States. As the legend goes: “What is done in Memphis stays in Memphis”.
Jerry Lee Lewis was on his third marriage before the age of 20, without even having consummated the divorce of the first. For one thing, for another, or for the sum of all fears, the effect was disastrous and devastating for the musician's career.
In January 1958, Jerry was hitting the charts high with Great Balls Of Fire. Also, god willing, he's divorcing Jane Mitcham and the good news seems to be multiplying.
In May 1958, the womanizing idol is set to tour the length and breadth of Great Britain. The star's demands did not highlight 30 bodyguards, a yoga instructor or a vegan chef, but there was one condition: his teenage wife had to accompany him and be with him yes or yes.
Her representatives were nervous about this condition and asked her to stay at home (with her parents) and, if possible, to finish school. But Lewis, a star, did not give in to the pressure, turned a deaf ear to the warnings and, on the day of the start of the tour, he arrived at Heathrow airport, in London, with his tender wife.
What was to make him one of the first American glories to forge a career in England turned into a real nightmare. To all this, while Jerry did not leave a puppet with a head, Elvis got into the army, leaving free way to the throne of rock. Now the world was at Lewis's feet.
He landed on English soil and prepared to give a press conference. "Who is that girl?" asked, in the best Madonna style, a reporter at a press conference. Myra herself responded in her own small voice. “I am his wife,” she said.
The British yellow press crushed them. Contracts were terminated by many organizers and wholesale presentations were dissolved in a matter of hours. He was left without a manager and Lewis had to return to the United States.
What followed was a collapse: the musician's cachet fell from 10 thousand dollars for playing to 250 measly green mangoes, which was what they could pay in the bars and inns of the time. Neither the friends of the champion nor those of the neighborhood remained. Myra was another victim. "I was marked as the child wife of Jerry Lee Lewis," she once declared.
To all this, Elvis knew Priscilla, barely 14 years old, stepdaughter of a retired military man. Presley went to ask for the hand of the girl, requesting permission for her to live with him in the Graceland mansion.
There she would study at a school for nuns and live in a house separate from the main residence until she was of legal age and they could finally marry. The love affair with Priscilla did not negatively affect the career of the King of Rock. Lewis always maintained that "Elvis did the same thing, but on the sly."