Jerry Lee Lewis Star Club

Jerry Lee Lewis Star Club

Jerry Lee Lewis Star Club

Recorded in Hamburg, Germany
April 5, 1964

Jerry Lee Lewis Star Club

Jerry Lee Lewis Star Club

Riding the Beatlmania Bronco

It’s April 1964 and the Beatles rule the airwaves. They are in the midst of filming their first movie, A Hard Day’s Night.  As has been noted before, the Beatles loved American Rock and Roll and soon groups like the Animals and Rolling Stones would bring our blues back to us.

Elvis is l making movies. His latest, “Kissin’ Cousins.

On the defensive (after perhaps not divorcing his wife and perhaps marrying his second cousin) Jerry Lee Lewis counter-attacked. He went to Hamburg, one of the places that those Beatles had cut their musical eyeteeth.  Like NOTHING the Beatles had ever done in Hamburg, Lewis tore the roof off the Star Club. And it was recorded! My my my was it ever!

Jerry Lee Lewis Star Club

Live at the Star Club 

And likely you didn’t know it was. Likely you never heard it. Maybe, like me, never even heard of it.

If you like rock and roll (and I suspect you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t) then you MUST listen to this amazing album. If you can turn it up, please do so!

A producer for Philips Records Germany, Siggi Loch, fortunately for posterity, recorded the show.

Here’s the track list. The Beatles, of course, covered “Matchbox.” Lewis lights it up! That suggests there are some ballads here. Lewis pounds the keyboard throughout.

Side one
  1. “Mean Woman Blues”
  2. “High School Confidential”
  3. “Money (That’s What I Want)”
  4. “Matchbox”
  5. “What’d I Say, Part 1”
  6. “What’d I Say, Part 2”
Side two
  1. “Great Balls of Fire”
  2. “Good Golly, Miss Molly”
  3. “Lewis Boogie”
  4. “Your Cheatin’ Heart”
  5. “Hound Dog”
  6. “Long Tall Sally”
  7. “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”

AllMusic said of the album: “Words cannot describe – cannot contain – the performance captured on Live at the Star Club, Hamburg, an album that contains the very essence of rock & roll…Live at the Star Club is extraordinary – the purest, hardest rock & roll ever committed to record…He sounds possessed, hitting the keys so hard it sounds like they’ll break, and rocking harder than anybody had before or since. Compared to this, thrash metal sounds tame, the Stooges sound constrained, hardcore punk seems neutered, and the Sex Pistols sound like wimps. Rock & roll is about the fire in the performance, and nothing sounds as fiery as this; nothing hits as hard or sounds as loud, either. It is no stretch to call this the greatest live album ever, nor is it a stretch to call it the greatest rock & roll album ever recorded. Even so, words can’t describe the music here — it truly has to be heard to be believed.”

And Lewis did it with himself and a band he didn’t know, a British band called the Nashville Teens!

  • Jerry Lee Lewis – piano, vocals
  • Johnny Allen – guitar
  • Pete Shannon Harris – bass
  • Barry Jenkins – drums (he later played w the Animals)

So if you have the system to play it loud here it is! Good Golly Miss Molly!!!!!

Jerry Lee Lewis Star Club

Live at the Star Club

Related link >>> NPR report

Jerry Lee Lewis Star Club
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3 thoughts on “Jerry Lee Lewis Star Club”

  1. From Sean Thomas via FB: I have been a fan of this record ever since I heard it in the mid 80s. I was working in a record store and we brought it in as an import. I was knocked out by it. What surprised me was the fact that by 1964 he was past the scandal and was not really successful anymore. In the USA Jerry was beginning his transformation as a country singer but he was still popular as a rock artist in some European Countries.
    Quite often there are postimgs asking to “list your favorite live album” I put this in my top 10.
    As for this video clip. I have seen it and showed it to people dozens of times. Although the clip is not from the Star Club its the same time frame. Talk about whipping the audience into a frenzy .

  2. Any idea if the band was put together for the in the chuck berry style? I agree it’s as great a live album as there is and Jerry lee is, well, no words describe it. But when I listen to it it seems like the band isn’t totally in sync. Like Jerry lee is dragging them and if they miss a change he just rises through. It doesn’t diminish the perfection of the performance. It may even enhance it.

    1. Not sure how the band (the Nashville Teens) was put together for the concert. As I indicate in the piece it consisted of
      Johnny Allen – guitar
      Pete Shannon Harris – bass
      Barry Jenkins – drums (he later played w the Animals)

      It seems they were on tour, so serendipity.

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