Jerry Lee Lewis‘ Facebook account posted Tuesday (May 21) that the veteran rocker’s upcoming show in Nashville, scheduled for July 1, has been canceled because he is still recovering from a stroke suffered in late February.
“Unfortunately, Jerry Lee Lewis will have to cancel the July 1 Nashville show at Schermerhorn Symphony Center,” the post began. “Although Jerry Lee is progressing miraculously in his recovery following the recent stroke, he doesn’t feel his performing is yet back to the level that his fans deserve. In the meantime, Jerry Lee is continuing his rehabilitation and his team expects a full recovery, as well as a return show in Nashville in the very near future.” The Schermon Symphony Center show had been scheduled for December but was moved to July 1 on doctor’s orders, according to a statement on his website.
Lewis suffered what was described as a minor stroke Feb. 28 in Memphis. A statement issued said he would make a full recovery. Billboard reported in March he was canceling several shows but had plans to get back in the studio and record a gospel album in addition to performing live again.
Lewis, 83, nicknamed “The Killer,” was born in Ferraday, Louisiana, on Sept. 29, 1935, and has been playing piano professionally since he was 15. He was signed by Sam Phillips to Sun Records, which released his first records in 1956. His first single, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” rose to Nos. 1 and 3 on Billboard‘s Country Best Sellers in Stores and Best Sellers in Stores charts, respectively. The follow-up, “Great Balls of Fire,” hit Nos. 1 and 2 on the lists.
The cousin of TV preacher Jimmy Swaggart and singer Mickey Gilley, he is the surviving member of The Million Dollar Quartet, the legendary Dec. 4, 1956, jam session that also included Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins and has since become a stage show. His career suffered when he married his 13-year-old cousin, Myra, in 1958. That marriage and his biography was the basis for the movie Great Balls of Fire in 1989, starring Dennis Quaid. A book co-written with Rick Bragg, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, was published in 2014.