Song 87 – Great Balls of Fire

SONG: Great Balls of Fire

ARTIST: Jerry Lee Lewis

YEAR: 1957

Listen to it here: 


Jerry Lee Lewis recorded Great Balls of Fire in 1957, and the song was featured in the 1957 movie Jamboree. It was written by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer (maybe not his real name). The song was an instant hit, selling a million copies in its first 10 days of release in the US. 


For more information on Jerry Lee Lewis, please see our review of Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On from last week!


Jerry Lee Lewis used session players to record this song and admitted years later that he has no idea what ever happened to any of them because he never saw them again after this recording session!


Yet another song that is super hard to review because not only is this song one of the most famous rock n roll songs in the world, but because we learned from our previous Jerry Lee Lewis review that he was a huge butt.  Again we’re hearing that super heavy reverb behind his voice that was indicative of the time.  Good energy from Jerry Lee, but now that I’m an adult I just think his voice sounds goofy as hell.  And that piano sounds dryyyyy and rock solid.  Like it sounds like someone just pulled the baby grand out of the deep freeze.  When I was a kid I really liked the song and my underdeveloped brain at the time associated it as one of THE great rock and roll songs, but now I can’t really vouch for it. 


Well, this song just sounds super creepy to me. With the weird “kiss me baby, mmmmm” part and the way he gulps some of his words. I don’t think I’ve really noticed any of that before, but I just don’t like the way Jerry Lee Lewis sings. The huge amount of reverb they’ve thrown on his voice doesn’t really help the issue either. This song is high energy, the piano playing is fun for sure, and the guitar and bass are somewhat unimportant. The drumming sounds weird. It sounds to me like the drummer has attached a bunch of wire coat hangers to random parts of his drum set as well. All in all, this song is kind of fun, but I just don’t like Jerry Lee Lewis. 

Average mark out of 10:

Holly: 5/10

Kelly: 4.5/10

Other notable versions of this song:

Dolly makes it her own:

Tom Jones joins Jerry Lee Lewis on this version:

And, because why not – here’s Bon Jovi’s version:

Listen with us!

Link to 1,001 Songs to Hear Before You Die spotify playlist:

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