A couple of posts ago I ventured into risky territory — I attempted to come up with a definition for oldies. When I say risky I don't mean that someone is trying to dynamite the place, just that the posting seemed to generate some dissent. Some disagreed with my opinion that boomers were most responsible for the use of the term, while others didn't like the idea of any kind of music being described as oldies. (At least nobody tried to say that only Richard Simmons can truly define oldies by sweatin' to 'em.)
In round two, I thought I'd travel back in time and see if a flamboyant star from an earlier era might have generated the kind of music that could be called oldies by some of us today. This legendary icon is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame but could easily qualify for the Tortured Artist Hall Of Fame if such a thing existed. There's plenty of biographical info available for him so I'm not going to go into deep detail, but you'll probably know who it is when I tell you that his third wife was his 13 year old cousin.
Jerry Lee Lewis, fondly and famously known as "Killer", hit the big time in the mid to late fifties. I remember him well from those days because he scared me to death. He seemed so wild and undisciplined, but at the same time had that "train wreck" type of fascination for me and many others. You simply couldn't look away even as you sensed he was headed for destruction.
Coming out of a musical childhood with cousins Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart, he could have gone a different way, and many think his wild, erratic life all happened because of his conflicted emotions over being kicked out of bible school and choosing to follow the "wicked" road instead. Whatever the case, he's always been a fascinating character and one of the all time greats.