There was a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on at the 2022 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 9), as Elle King and The Black Keys took the stage to pay rollicking tribute to late rock and country pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis.
They were just the right trio to take on the task, performing Lewis’ signature track “Great Balls of Fire” at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. King banged away on the piano keys as The Black Keys brought their blues-rock chops to the stage. With an alternately growling and wailing vocal, Keys leaned into her performance, even emblazoning the back of her black leather pants with Lewis’ nickname “The Killer” that could be seen every time she leaned into the keyboard just like the infamous showman.
Lewis died at age 87 last month.
It was fitting that the rock ‘n’ roll founding father was honored at the country awards show. A 2022 inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Lewis is one of just 16 people to have been inducted into both the Country and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame. He was also the last living member of the very first class of inductees into the Rock Hall, who were honored back in 1986.
Lewis wasn’t the only late legend honored at the show: The CMA Awards kicked off with a tribute to Loretta Lynn, who also died last month, at age 90. Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire performed the tribute, each performing solo Lynn songs before coming together for her signature tune, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
Find the full 2022 CMA Awards winners list here.