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Great Balls of Fire

1957 was a time of great change in the American musical landscape. To me, the song that best captures the mood of the times is a wild, rock 'n' roll number called Great Balls of Fire, sung by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Lewis was a piano player and singer who was known for his high-energy performances and his larger-than-life approach to life. Some years back, I watched a biographical movie about Lewis, in which the actor playing him (Dennis Quaid), performed a number of songs, including Great Balls of Fire.

I was inspired: if Dennis Quaid could do it, so could I. In fact, Quaid wasn't even doing his own playing and singing — but it did look real.

So I watched the movie over and over, and taught myself how to play and sing like Jerry Lee. For a long time, I practiced the song by myself, playing the piano and singing. However, it was a dream of mine to find a band to back me up and, one day, I did — a band called "K", living in Isla Vista, California.

The following is a recording of a live performance featuring me playing and singing, and K supplying the backup. The recording was made at the Java Jones coffee house, also in Isla Vista, on Friday, May 23, 2003. The members of band were Hal Kopeikin (guitar), Mason Kopeikin (drums), and Zak Kopeikin (bass). The recording engineer was Anne Marie Kopeikin. (You can see where the name "K" comes from.)

Harley singing Great Balls of Fire

And here are the original lyrics, as written by Jerry Lee Lewis:

Great Balls of Fire
written by Jerry Lee Lewis (1957)

You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain
Too much love drives a man insane
You broke my will, but what a thrill
Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire

I laughed at love 'cause I thought it was funny
You came along and moved me honey
I've changed my mind, your love is fine
Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire

Kiss me baby, woo... feels good
Hold me baby, well I want to love you like a lover should
You're fine, so kind
I want to tell the world that you're mine, mine, mine, mine

I chew my nails and I twiddle my thumbs
I'm real nervous, but it sure is fun
Come on baby, you drive my crazy
Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire!

For more information about K, please visit their Web site, where you can also listen to some of their music:

K: the band