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
He was one of the first rockabilly piano
players in Memphis, and was instrumental in creating “The Great Memphis Pumping
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
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
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.
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
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
He recorded with Billy Lee Riley, Ace
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.”
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
is a picture of Smoochy's display at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Jackson,
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
Photo Gallery—The Early Years
Jerry Lee with the Mar-Keys
Jerry Lee with the Sun Rhythm Section
Page 4: Jerry Lee—Miscellaneous
Page 5: Jerry Lee
Southern Music Studio