After five years and four different record labels, Jerry Lee Lewis' "Last Man Standing" will arrive Sept. 26 on Jeff Ayeroff's Artists First label.
After five years and four different record labels, Jerry Lee Lewis' "Last Man Standing" will arrive Sept. 26 on Jeff Ayeroff's Artists First label. Alternative Distribution Alliance will distribute the title. The 21-track album pairs Lewis with such artists as Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, George Jones, Willie Nelson and Rod Stewart.
Produced by Steve Bing and Jimmy Rip for Bing's Shangri-La Entertainment, the album was born after Bing approached Lewis in 2001 to write songs for a movie, appropriately titled given Lewis' history, "Why Men Shouldn't Marry." The movie never was made, but Lewis cut two songs.
"Steve said, 'I don't care if we don't have a label. Here's the money, just make the record,'" Rip says. It didn't start as a duet project -- "Even Jerry said, 'I don't need all these people,'" Rip recalls. But as word of the album spread, and after Mick Jagger performed on one of the songs cut for the movie, Rip started asking more artists to participate, and then eager acts started coming to him.
The album was first slated for Lost Highway, then had a stop at another label before landing at Columbia, which sat on a release date so it could coincide with a planned TV special. But when the album's main supporters Steve Greenberg and Don Ienner left the label earlier this summer, it once again was homeless. That's where Artists First stepped in.
The creative and marketing company had already been consulting Columbia on the Lewis project, and once the album was again a free agent, Artists First stepped up. "You feel an obligation and romance in working with a project like this," Ayeroff says, comparing it to how he felt when he and former business partner Jordan Harris worked with Roy Orbison while running Virgin North America.
The project will be promoted through a December PBS "Great Performances" episode. Artists First is in talks with a number of retailers about special programs, although Ayeroff says, "This is a Wal-Mart record if you think about it, given his success on the country charts."