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Jerry Lee Lewis

Though he had only three Top 10 hits in the first, purely rock & roll phase of his career, many critics believe Jerry Lee Lewis was as talented a '50s rocker as Sun labelmate Elvis Presley. Some also believe that Jerry lee Lewis could have made it just as big commercially if his piano-slamming musical style was not so relentlessly wild, his persona not so threateningly hard-edged.

Lewis' first musical influences were eclectic. His parents, who were poor, spun swing and Al Jolson records. But his earliest big influence was country star Jimmie Rodgers. In his early teens he absorbed both the softer country style of Gene Autry and the more rocking music of local black clubs, along with the gospel hymns of the local Assembly of God church.

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