Pioneer rock ‘n’ roll musician Jerry Lee Lewis arrived in Southern California on Tuesday, where he was to enter the Betty Ford Center to be treated for an addiction to painkillers.
The 51-year-old piano-pounding singer spent five days in drug detoxification at a Nashville hospital before making the trip to the Ford Center near Palm Springs with manager Al Embry.
“He decided on his own he wanted to get straightened out,” Embry said. The drug problem started because of a dislocated shoulder that was so painful Lewis could “hardly play the piano,” Embry said. “All of a sudden, before I knew it, he was taking painkillers all the time.”
Lewis burst on the music scene in the 1950s with such songs as “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”