Start NewsReports Releases Fanclub Pictures Guest book    


Where: Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland
When: November 13, 1966
Written by: Pierre Pennone

This report appeared earlier (in Dutch) in the fanzine Fire Ball Mail in 1966.
All pictures by Pierre Pennone

After a long time of waiting and many telephone calls we – Michel Cochet (for Geneva) and myself (for Lausanne) - finally succeeded in getting Jerry Lee Lewis to Switzerland for 24 hours. On Sunday November 13th we were waiting – together with about twenty other people - for the plane of 12.30 pm to arrive from London. Some people had traveled hundreds of kilometers, like Primo Visconti, who had traveled 250 kilometers by car, and François Bourjol, who came all the way from Toulouse.

Finally we could welcome the travelers.  I had been warned that Jerry looked different from his most recent pictures and that proved to be true. Jerry wore a leather coat and sun glasses and was accompanied by the British tour manager, Morris (his drummer) who hummed ‘In The Midnight Hour’, Cecil, and Herman Hawkins (his bass player) who seemed to stand in the back somewhat. Completely ‘breathless’ I greeted Jerry and he asked us – just like any ordinary person (like he was for the rest for the day)  - if we would join him at his hotel because he was rather tired. But suddenly he told me that his band members had left behind their instruments in London and that his solo guitarist was not with them because he lived in England. He also told me that they would all fly to New York the next day.

While some fans followed Jerry to his hotel, I personally left immediately for Lausanne to hire a drum set and a bass guitar for the band, who were supposed to give a show within two hours. Fortunately, this was quickly settled and at three o’clock the show was ready to start.

Accompanied by about ten people Jerry arrived, smoking a big cigar. He went straight to his dressing room, where I could have a quiet conversation with him for the first time. First of all he thanked me for all I’ve done for him with the fan club and then he congratulated me because it was the first time that a fan club organized a show with him. I showed him my picture album, which got him interested because he commented on every picture, in particular the ones with his wife and one with Johnny Cash.

Then someone told me that the crowd in the theatre was getting impatient. They wanted Jerry Lee and nobody else. The support act was cut off and a piano was pushed on the stage. Herman rubbed his hands with satisfaction when I gave him the Fender bass guitar. Morris already took position behind his drum set and tension mounted quickly. Being afraid to miss just one second, I focused my eyes on the entrance in the wings, from which Jerry was about to appear any moment. I still couldn’t believe it and for one second I had to think of the cancellation of a show in Lyon some years ago.

And there he came, smiling, clearly pleased with the enthusiastic welcome from the crowd. He sat down at the piano, adjusted the settings of the speakers and amplifiers and burst into LITTLE QUEENIE, an excellent rendition that almost surpassed the studio recording. When he had finished the song he smiled his approval to the drummer and continued with a sensitive rendition of Hank Williams’ composition You Win Again. After this song he introduced the band to the audience and started to chat in a somewhat joshing way, just like we all know him. I couldn’t understand most of it because he spoke rather fast and swallowed his words. I think he said he was happy to perform here and that he was ready to warm up the show. The only thing I could understand well - because he spoke these words slowly – was that he knew for sure that we didn’t understand him and that it didn’t matter anyway.

Then came MEAN WOMAN BLUES, sung in the familiar way: improvising, with some rough growling so now and then. Then he slowed down with YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART and speeded up again with WHAT’D I SAY, which was much too short in my opinion. After a break of a few seconds he continued with the famous second part. To everybody’s approval he then said to stick to Ray Charles some more and started with STICKS AND STONES, a rendition that was different from the version on his record ‘Memphis Beat’.

Then followed GREAT BALLS OF FIRE and I must say that Jerry finally got really warmed up, in contrast to the songs he had played so far. Being in excellent shape, he bended backwards, while he spoke - with his eyes half-closed - ‘Kiss me baby, hhhooo, feels good’. He was shaking his head and pounded the piano keys super-fast, playing a phenomenal piano solo. How much more praise can I give to HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, which was the next song? That was the highlight of the show for me. During this wild song he suddenly lifted his boot and flumped his heel on the keys several times without causing one single false note. Unbelievable.

By my request he then played Lonely Weekends, which he extended with a wonderful solo. Again I noticed how easily he can switch from one style to the other. He is able to play a wild rock song first, then switch to a tender country and western song and then sing the blues like a real black man. He continued with the country song CITY LIGHTS.

Then the big final came: WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN’ GOIN’ ON. On this song Jerry gave a hundred percent. In the beginning of the song he still sat on his stool, but soon he kicked it away with power, which almost made it land into the audience. He continued to play standing, with stretched arms, rubbing his locks backwards from time to time. He squatted down and played, stood up and then walked with a strange dance step, shaking his hips slowly, towards the microphone. Then he returned to the piano and quickly jumped on top of it, while next to him Morris – like an Indian - climbed upon the drum set. After a while Jerry cautiously jumped from the piano and ended the song in a magnificent way.

I don’t need to tell about the tumult that had broken loose in the audience. Just imagine how you would react when you witnessed something that sensational. Jerry Lee had barely left the stage when the crowd roared for an encore, standing! He came back, thanked the audience, threw his short black jacket on the ground and started to sing GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY, just standing behind the piano. Then he picked up his jacket and disappeared in the wings. After repeated and excited shouting from the audience, he came back again. It still wasn’t finished yet!

Jerry gave a wild rendition of JENNY, JENNY while watching in amusement how some fans tried to climb on the stage. Then he left the stage just like he came on: at a quick pace, leaving us with our memories. We were definitely not going to ever forget this and on behalf of all fans in Switzerland I therefore say:

J e r r y  p l e a s e  c o m e   b a c k   s o o n

After the show Jerry waited in his dressing room until everybody was ready to leave for Geneva, without missing to give autographs to at least 400 admirers on his way to the car, which made the police officers seriously worry about a possible disturbance.

At about 9.30 pm we arrived in the hall, where the support acts had finished and break time had just begun. The crowd was rather restless. Before Jerry’s show I recorded the following interview with the KING:

Question:    How do you like the European audience?
Answer:      They are enthusiastic everywhere. The audience in Lausanne was really great to play for.
Question:    Is it true that you have said that the English groups have spoilt rock music?
Answer:      I don’t like those groups.
Question:    Have you accompanied Carl Perkins on ‘Matchbox’?
Answer:      It is true that I have accompanied Carl Perkins, but not on ‘Matchbox’. Just on ‘Your True Love’. I haven’t accompanied any other artist.
Question:    Do you think that you will ever record ‘Milkshake Mademoiselle’ again?
Answer:      It’s a very old song and I don’t even remember the words.
Question:    Why didn’t you release ‘In The Mood’ under your own name?
Answer:      I don’t know. I just liked it.
Question:    Which version of ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On’ do you prefer apart from yours?
Answer:      Mine. It is the original (with the original lyrics) and that’s quite normal I think.
Question:    Which rock artists do you prefer?
Answer:      Oooh…Chuck Berry, Little Richard…and Bill Haley too (somebody mentioned this name in the back).
Question:    And Carl Perkins?
Answer:      Yeah sure, Carl is one of the best.
Question:    And when it comes to country music?
Answer:      Hank Williams and in particular Jim Reeves.
Question:    When does CATCH MY SOUL start?
Answer:      Maybe in May.
Question:    Do you think you will come back afterwards?
Answer:      I’d love to. During this tour I have learned to appreciate Switzerland very much.

Then Jerry came on stage for a crowd of 2000 people. The hall was stuffy and the chairs were unstable. The show was more or less similar to the one in Lausanne. Jerry sang: Little Queenie, You Win Again, Mean Woman Blues, Your Cheatin’ Heart, High Heel Sneakers, Money, Together Again, What’d I Say, Great Balls Of Fire, High School Confidential, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On and (unleashing – just like in Lausanne – a hurricane of enthusiasm), Good Golly Miss Molly. After repeated shouting Jerry came back and sang Jenny, Jenny, that had to be cut short because the fans stormed the stage. People started to fight for Jerry’s tie. Jerry had already escaped. Tens of chairs were broken that night.

Jerry changed his clothes quickly and we met again in a night club in Geneva. There was a party in honor of him and he was welcomed to the strains of the song “Memphis Beat”. He was immediately surrounded by many people and I kept myself apart with Morris, about whom I haven’t told anything yet. Well, he is rather small and slightly built (that is, for a drummer). We were amazed by his tight pants. The most curious, however, was his goatee. He told us that he needed the goatee for his role in CATCH MY SOUL. He also told me that he had been playing for Jerry for five years, both on stage and in the recording studio. He is 23 years old and his real name is Robert Morris, but he adopted the pseudonym Morris Tarrant. Tarrant is his native town. He told me that Jerry rarely records songs at Smash Studio’s in Chicago and prefers recording in Memphis, mostly in Sun Records studio.

When Morris is in good shape, he always mimics Jerry by jumping on the drum set. He said he then feels just like Ben Hur, after which I replied that his goatee rather made me think of Robin Hood. He was worried about the reaction of his beloved wife when she saw that goatee the first time. Indeed, Morris is married!

Let’s switch over to Herman, the lonely (hermit), who – as always – sat very quietly in a corner. He told me that he has been playing with Jerry for four years. He called Jerry a nice boss and a great musician. Herman doesn’t like the English beat groups. He can be seen on the cover of Jerry’s most recent record that had been recorded in Fort Worth, Texas.

Jerry was very pleased with the party. By 2 am he thanked everybody. He also thanked me again for what I’ve done for him and for the fan club. He was glad to go back home again because it was one of the most exhausting tours he had ever done: for an entire month two shows a day!

In conclusion, I would like to repeat that Jerry is doing his utmost to be a very ordinary guy. Everybody in Switzerland who had done something for him received a warm thank-you. Jerry was always polite, friendly and in good spirits and he did everything to please the people.


Pierre Pennone looking back after 37 years:

"It was written 37 years ago by a young cat only a few months passed 19! Show business was totally different back then, much more simple and Jerry was the easiest going artist you could think of. I had to cheat several times on my age when I signed papers for the show as civil law was putting a limit on 21 for valid signature. As an example, the rent for the theater, request for work permits and of course the signature with the French promoter who had the rights for shows on the continents from Colin Berlin Agency in the UK.

We signed definetely the contract on Friday October 28, i.e., 16 days before the shows. That was very short of course. So to pass the message fast to the public, with fanclub members we had posters pasted on shop windows on the Saturday evening after shops closed (in Switzerland shops are closed from Saturday 5pm to Monday 2pm), this was totally illegal but they stayed until Monday early afternoon and all the kids could see them Saturday evening and on Monday morning on their way to school. We also had 10000 leaflets distributed at school doors. I was short of money to make newspaper promotion. Immediately the booking was a success and it was sold out. Thanks God, otherwise I would have been in jail!"


Jerry passing passport control at Geneva airport, behind him is the British tour manager and on the right Cecil Harrelson



Pierre Pennone shows his pictures to Jerry backstage in Lausanne before the show


Jerry on stage in Lausanne (November 13, 1966)


Jerry on stage in Lausanne. Notice Morris Tarp Tarrant standing on his drums behind Jerry. The picture is is a bit fuzzy, but the theater was shaking !!!!


Last update: August 17, 2007
 Maarten van der Tol cannot be held responsible for the contents, views  expressed, or reliability of the linked web sites.



Start NewsReports Releases Fanclub Pictures Guest book



NL JLL reports 1966
Lausanne & Geneva  
 JerryLeeLewis 13.11.1966 on Facebook

Daily news Jerry Lee Lewis Killer News & Rock Blog by Thomas Rund and friends on facebook