Rev. Jimmy Swaggart joined me in honoring Jerry Lee.

November 7th, 2022

Ferriday, Louisiana

I wrote last week about the passing of Jerry Lee Lewis, who, in my opinion, was the greatest rock and roller of all time. Since I was in attendance at his funeral, I thought readers would like to know how the Killer was laid to rest. Ferriday, Louisiana is normally quiet on a Saturday morning. But this past week, it was a buzz of activity as friends and fans of Jerry Lee came from all over the world to witness his memorial.

I personally talked to fans from Scotland, England, and Germany. Hundreds of people waited in line for over an hour to sign a guestbook and pass by the Killer’s coffin. The small chapel at Young’s funeral home held 160 people, so hundreds of other mourners stood outside under tents in the pouring rain, and watched the service on monitors.

Ferriday was my home for almost 20 years, so it was old home week and a reunion with so many friends that I have not seen in quite a while. The same could be said for Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, who gave the eulogy for his first cousin, and who greeted friends and relatives who had grown up with one of the world’s best-known evangelists.

Jerry Lee and his wife Judith have lived for many years in their home south of Memphis. Many folks felt he would be buried there. But he told his wife, no, he wanted to come back home and be buried at a small family cemetery off the beaten path some 10 miles north of Ferriday.

Brother Swaggart relished in sharing stories of growing up in Ferriday with his cousin and sneaking into Haney’s Big House, a well-known local nightclub that was the musical stop for numerous black entertainers including Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino.  “We would hide under one of the tables and listen to the music on weekends as we grew up,” Reverend Swaggart told the crowd.  “Jerry Lee’s father mortgaged their home to buy him a piano, and we both started playing from about age eight on.”

Rev. Swaggart went on to tell the crowd that Jerry Lee found the Lord in his final years, and that the two of them ever recorded a gospel album called “The boys from Ferriday.”  It was the last album Jerry Lee ever recorded.

Jerry Lee was married seven times, and I asked his widow Judith why he got married so often. She didn’t hesitate in telling me that “he kept doing it until he got it right with me.”  She was quite affectionate with the crowd, and let many at the gathering join her and take pictures that lasted all afternoon.

I shared my stories of Jerry Lee being my first legal client, and how he had called me off and on to help some family member for many years before his death. One of the advantages of being Jerry Lee’s local attorney was that I never wanted for great seats at any of the number of concerts I attended.

Many of his fans in attendance were quite vocal in saying there will never be anyone ever again like Jerry Lee Lewis. And the Killer raised the same question in one of his songs recorded some 10 years ago titled “Who is Going to Play this old Piano?”  The lyrics to the song pretty much sum up the uniqueness of Jerry Lee. See if you don’t agree.

 Who’s gonna keep these ivories talking
Like Jerry Lee’s doin’ now?
Who’s gonna play this ol’ piano
After my last bow?

Who’s gonna touch these keys with feeling?
That really gets to you
Who’s gonna play this ol’ piano
When my time is through

Who’s gonna keep this music going?
Who will carry on?
Who’s gonna play this ol’ piano
After the Killer’s gone?!

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the South and on websites worldwide.  You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at You can also look over a list of books he has published at




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