Page 1 — Jerry Lee's Early Years


Jerry Lee “Smoochy” Smith is a self-taught pianist and vocalist. He plays piano in the style of rockabilly, country, boogie, blues, and gospel.


Jerry became interested in playing the piano when he was 9 years old. By the age of 15, he was already playing professionally.


He was one of the first rockabilly piano players in Memphis, and was instrumental in creating “The Great Memphis Pumping Piano Sound.”


How Jerry Lee came to be called Smoochy

One of the first things people want to know about Jerry Lee is how he got the nickname of Smoochy. When Jerry was 15, Kenneth Parchman and the Dixie Blues Boys were playing at a movie theater in Texas. The band played in between the double feature.


While watching the first movie, Jerry met a cute little girl and told her that he was in the band. He took her backstage to meet the other band members. They were standing behind the movie screen as the movie was ending, and looked up and saw a couple kissing in the movie. Jerry asked the girl if she would like to do that, and she said yes, and grabbed him and started kissing him.


The band went onstage to set up the instruments, except for Jerry. Kenneth went behind the screen and saw Jerry kissing the girl and told him it was time to start playing. When they got onstage, Kenny introduced him to the audience as Smoochy. The name has stuck with Jerry ever since.



Smoochy and the famous Sun Studio and Stax Records


After Smoochy left the Kenny Parchman band, he relocated to Memphis and started working as a session musician around the city.


Smoochy was the staff piano player for Sun Records from 1957 to 1959. He played on numerous record sessions at Sun as part of the house band that backed up so many rockabilly legends.


He recorded with Billy Lee Riley, Ace Cannon, Warren Smith, and others. Smoochy said, “I'm not listed as piano player many times, 'cause I was young and I wasn't in the Musicians Union. Sam Phillips gave me a dollar for each year of my age to cut those records, and when he listed the session with the Musicians Union, he listed Jerry Lee Lewis as piano player or sometimes Jimmy Wilson.”


At Stax Records, Smoochy recorded with the Mar-Keys and was cowriter of their 1961 million-seller hit “Last Night.” He also played on Carla Thomas's first album, “Gee Whiz.”




Above  is a picture of  Smoochy's display at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Jackson, Tennessee.



Jerry Lee appears annually at the Rockabilly Festival in Jackson, Tennessee, at the Carl Perkins Civic Center. This is usually in August. Click here for schedule.


Jerry Lee also appears annually at The Center for Southern Folklore's Memphis Music and Heritage Festival.


All Photo Gallery Pages


Page 1: Photo Gallery—The Early Years


Page 2 Jerry Lee with the Mar-Keys


Page 3: Jerry Lee with the Sun Rhythm Section


Page 4: Jerry Lee—Miscellaneous


Page 5: Jerry Lee today


Southern Music Studio