Today’s music video is Cold Cold Heart and the song is performed here by the legendary singer, and one of the original wild men of rock, Jerry Lee Lewis.
This video was posted to You Tube by killernofiller666
All my adult life I have listened to radio. First thing in the morning I would turn it on, and last thing at night, turn it off. Even during my working life in the Royal Australian Air Force for 25 years, there was always a radio playing music in the background somewhere. Even after I got out of the Air Force, same thing, listen to the radio. Even now, it’s the first thing I do of a morning even before running up the computer, turn on the radio. Even in the car, it’s the radio. In those early days of my life, I spent a lot of hours in the car, mainly travelling from Air Force bases where I was stationed to my home, and in the main, that meant anything up to ten hours on the road, sometimes more, and I did that often in the 13 years from when I purchased my first car up until I was finally married. I clocked up an awful lot of miles, mostly at night. It wasn’t until my third car that a Cassette player became standard fitment, and the car I currently own is the first one which has a CD player, but in the main, I rarely used either. So, it was always the radio, and it was always music. When I was on the road at night, a station would go out of range, so I played with the dial chasing up another radio station. Even when I had a Cassette player, I still listened to the radio. In those days, it was AM radio as well, as FM broadcasting didn’t arrive in Australia until the early 1980s, so sometimes the reception was patchy in the car as well. I always wanted the music to be there.
Then, sometime between 2000 and 2005, radio started to change. It became all talk, just talk, and it was sometimes the case that you might only get three songs maybe in an hour, and even that was filler between one talking head and the next one. So, I always chased radio stations which played music, something which wasn’t all that easy, and gradually, even those radio stations which did play music also started in with the talk radio.
What also needs to be realised here is that Australia is a very small market for music when compared to places like the U.S. and the UK. So, any music being played was what the station managers perceived the listeners would like to hear, and also if the public was listening, then those radio stations needed to be able to sell advertising minutes, so only the most popular music was played, so more people might listen. When it came to hit songs, that market also was small, so, unlike in the U.S. where there was popular music radio stations, and also Country music Stations, Hard rock stations, Rhythm and Blues stations, Jazz stations, Classical stations, etc, here in Australia, there was just those Popular music stations.
Because of that, all the music across every genre was all in together when it came time to play the hit music songs, so if any Country song, or a song from any of the other genres came along, it had to compete with the current trend of rock music, and if it was to make it here in Australia, it had to be almost huge, so what we heard on radio was the most popular of all the music, and in most cases that was the rock music during those years of the 60s and 70s and onwards, the time I came to appreciate music.
So, very little Country Music made it onto the mainstream charts here in Australia, as popular music that was played on a regular basis.
Now, scroll forward, and years later, here we all are in the 21st Century. Radio has gone to talk, and there’s not much to listen to. I still turn on the radio first thing in the morning and it just hums away in the background, in the lounge room, while I sit here at the computer. We, my good lady wife and I have (relatively) similar tastes in music, and as she came from a slightly different background than I did, she likes some of my music, and I like an awful lot of her music, as my tastes have broadened considerably across the years. We have found a radio station which does play only music, and it covers all the eras, and all the genres.
I hear songs being played on this station from the past which I have never heard before, and it makes me sit up and notice, and ask how I missed that song when it once such a big thing. That all comes back to Australian radio and the competitive nature of the different genres of music. The song may have been huge on the U.S. Country charts, but in fact, we probably never heard it here in Australia.
That now brings us neatly to the song I have featured today Cold Cold Heart, sung here by that absolute legend Jerry Lee Lewis. I heard the song played on the radio I listen to here during this past week. It was the first time I had heard this song being sung by Jerry Lee Lewis. I knew the song from other versions across the years, but straight away, even though the voice was unfamiliar, I knew this was Jerry Lee Lewis. There is absolutely no mistaking the way the piano is being played. It could only be Jerry Lee Lewis. The same thing happened to me last year with another Jerry Lee Lewis song, The Wild Side Of Life, and I detailed that in the Sunday Music Post I made at this link.
In exactly the same manner as it happened last year with that song, I chased it up again on the Internet, and there it was. Thankfully, we can do that these days, something that just could not be done, even just a few short years back.
As I mentioned in that earlier Post, you get locked into thinking about an artist or band. I knew of Jerry Lee Lewis, and in fact was a fan, but only from his early days as a rock and roller, one of those originals who brought this wonderful music to us. As it was everywhere in the Western World, Jerry Lee Lewis was huge here in Australia in those early days. I knew of the music and loved it, even though it was before the time I came to appreciate music, during the early 60s, and by then Lewis original career had all but finished, following the scandal when he married the 13 year old Myra.
Then in 1968, his second career started as a mainstream Country artist, and because all the music being played here in Australia was that mainly UK music from what is now called The British Invasion, we never heard any of his new songs here at all. Over the next three years, virtually every single he released made it into the Top Ten on the Country Charts in the U.S. sixteen of twenty songs in fact, and four of them went to Number One, with five of them at Number Two. This was nothing new for Lewis, because, while remembered as a rock and roll star, he was also huge on the Country Music charts in his earlier days when he had around ten Top Ten Hits with two Number Ones, and he was also big on the R&B charts as well.
This second career lasted longer than his first as a rock music star. He mostly reprised older Country songs and gave them the Jerry Lee Lewis treatment, and the song I have featured today is no different from that.
This song, Cold Cold Heart was written and recorded by another absolute legend Hank Williams. It was first released by Hank in 1951, and was a monumentally huge Number One for him. The Hank Williams original was done in a slow Country style. Around the same time as Hank released the song, a young Italian waiter also released the song, and that was Tony Bennett, and his version of the song was done in the same slow style as that of the Hank Williams original, only with Tony Bennett, it was arranged by Columbia Records in house arranger Percy Faith with some limited orchestration, and I featured one of his songs only last week, and that Music Post is at this link. The Tony Bennett version went all the way to Number One on the mainstream charts, and is credited as bringing Country Music to a wider, and more mainstream audience. This Tony Bennett version was his third Single released in his first year as a music star, and his second Number One, right at the very beginning of his amazing career in music.
This version of that song I have featured today from Jerry Lee Lewis, is a little faster than the original, and features the absolutely unmistakable piano playing style of Jerry Lee. He’s the only man I know who can make a Grand Piano he is playing here sound like a honky tonk piano. Lewis is actually credited with making the piano a viable instrument for the playing of rock music, which when it started was the province of guitars only.
His piano playing is legendary, and one of the main reasons that his nickname was ‘Killer’, because he played a killer piano.
Incidentally, referring back to that marriage to Myra, who was only 13 at the time. Lewis has been married seven times across the years, and while this marriage was vilified because of her young age, it was his second longest lasting marriage, and lasted for 13 years.
Jerry Lee Lewis is an absolute legend. So often these days, artists are given that tag as legend, so the term has been somewhat devalued Not in this case though because Jerry Lee Lewis is a legend.
This song I have featured today is just so good.