Breathless

Album: The Best Of Jerry Lee Lewis (1958)
Charted: 8 7
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Songfacts®:

  • Filled with his signature vocal inflections and pounding piano, this song finds Jerry Lee Lewis singing about a girl who leaves him breathless. When he sings the line "you leave me breathless," he does so as if he really is out of breath.
  • This was written by Otis Blackwell, who co-wrote Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire" and also wrote some of Elvis Presley's biggest hits.
  • This was sinking without a trace when Dick Clark made the following offer on his show: a free copy of the "Breathless" 45 for five Beechnut gum wrappers and 50 cents shipping and handling. As a result "Breathless" reached the Top 10 and Beechnut outsold Wrigley for only the third time in history.
  • This was Jerry Lee Lewis' last Top 10 hit before his career was derailed by scandal. He married the 13-year-old daughter of his cousin, and when word got out, radio stations stopped playing his songs.
  • Richard Gere's 1983 movie Breathless features both Jerry Lee Lewis' hit version of this song and a cover by the LA punk group X. In the film, Gere sings some of the song to his love interest before grabbing a gun and firing on police who are closing in on him. The credits then roll as the X version plays.

    So how did X end up recording the song? Before the band performed the song on their David Letterman Show appearance, X guitarist John Doe told the host: "They called us up and said, 'We hear you do a wonderful version of this song.' And we didn't, so we BS'd our way through it and said, 'Sure, of course we do.' We ran back to the studio, rehearsed it up and recorded it in about a week."

Comments: 10

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaMIckey, Jerry Lee and Jimmy had the same piano teacher, wish I could play like them.
  • Babbling Babette from Tulsa OkI have to agree with Lester of NYC-----Jerry Lee is the 1st hard rocker. I'm still one of his fans.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 23rd, 1958, Alan Freed's 'Big Beat Show' played the Convention Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania…
    One of the show's headliners was Jerry Lee Lewis, and at the time his "Breathless" was tied at #7 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, and that was also its peak position on the chart...
    The Killer will celebrate his 80th birthday this coming September 29th {2015}...
    * It was at #7 for one week, and the record it was tied with was "Don't" by former Sun Record label mate Elvis, and “Don’t” was Elvis’ 9th of his eighteen #1 records.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 18th 1958, Jerry Lee Lewis performed "Breathless" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #12 on Billboard's Best Seller in Stores chart {See 2nd post below}...
    This appearance on 'Bandstand' was unusual in that Dick Clark agree to let Jerry Lee perform live, instead of lip-sync, and he was allowed to sing three* songs, not the normal two...
    * The other two songs were his first two debut ones; ""Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" and "Great Balls of Fire".
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 23rd 1965, Jerry Lee Lewis performed "Breathless" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    {See posts below for chart info}...
    R.I.P. Jimmy O'Neil {Shindig's host, 1940 - 2013} and The Killer celebrated his 30th birthday six days after this appearance on 'Shindig!' {He was born on Sept. 29th, 1935}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 25th 1958, "Breathless" by Jerry Lee Lewis entered Billboard's Top 100 chartat position #89; and on April 1st it peaked at #7 (for 1 week) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #3 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart and #4 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart...
    Was the third in a string of three straight Top 10 records on the Top 100 by Mr. Lewis; started with "Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On" (#3), "Great Balls of Fire" (#2 for 4 weeks), and finally this one...
    'The Killer' will celebrate his 79th birthday this coming September 29th (2014).
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkWhat a song! What a rock & roll icon is Jerry Lee Lewis! Although his early rock & roll career was cut short, he left some true gems that made rock & roll history. And he influenced many generations of rockers. Of course, he had quite a successful country music career with many hits. I dug out my old collection of Jerry Lee's hits and other albums. In there was a true treasure----The London Sessions! Then another gem was his album cut of another single release called "Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" which is a true "GUT BUSTING" rocker. Do check it out! This song "Breathless" is so great. The first time I heard it was back in 1958 when I was with some other high school friends taking in a movie at our local drive-in theater. They played a local rock & roll radio station over their P.A. system. When thhis song came on, some of the high school rockers there began dancing outside of their cars during the intermission. Those were the times! Rock on, Jerry Lee.
  • Linc from Beaumont, TxJerry Lee Lewis married is second cousin, once removed Myra Gail Brown and had two children. The first one a son, who died in infancy and the second a daughter. The named them both after Steve Allen who gave him is career start.
  • Dominick from New York, NyJerry Lee Lewis is first cousins to Mickey Gilley and the evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. Their three mothers were sisters. They were born within a year of one another and they all have the same middle name of Lee.
  • Lester from New York City, NyTo me, The Killer was the first Hard Rock artist.
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