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Jerry Lee Lewis’s Strange Brush With The Law

Jerry Lee Lewis was a man who kept little of his thoughts to himself. He was truly a one-of-a-kind personality, from late-night parties to accusations of plotting to assassinate the King of Rock and Roll.

This tale centers on an alcoholic-fueled evening of shenanigans on a cool November night in 1976, culminating in the eccentric pianist waving a loaded gun around Graceland, where Elvis resided. Not only did Lewis have a loaded gun on him, but he also allegedly rammed his car through the gates of Graceland, which is a sure way to get someone’s attention. The “water cooler talk” was that Lewis, a known Elvis associate, was there to assassinate the King in a drunken stupor. But, according to Jerry Lee Lewis, he was just stopping by to see a friend after one too many cocktails. Lewis was subsequently apprehended and escorted out of the kingdom, and his charges were dropped later on.


Studio Brothers

Jerry and Elvis had been friends for nearly 20 years before the event. The two musicians met in 1956 while both were recording at Sun Studios. The two clicked right away, especially after they discovered they both had a passion for gospel music. The two creative minds quickly became great friends. Lewis and Presley’s meeting at Sun Studios would also contribute to the formation of one of the most iconic “quartets” of all time. During a recording session, Elvis noticed Johnny Cash watching Carl Perkins and Lewis.

Following the recording, the four musicians began to sing hymn-like songs together. The studio engineer let the tape roll and recorded the impromptu jam session. This would result in the “Million Dollar Quartet,” which included Presley, Lewis, Cash, and Perkins. However, as their fame grew, these combined performances became less and less common.


Lewis Claims He Was Summoned By The King

Lewis claims that Elvis invited him to the kingdom late that night before slamming his car into the driveway gate and waving a loaded firearm around in the air. Lewis claims he was on his way to an empty bottle at his favorite pub when Elvis called the bar to speak with him and told him to come over for more drinks. However, when Lewis showed up, the security guards had no idea he was supposed to arrive or what his intentions were upon entrance.

The guards refused to let him in, resulting in an insane scene in which Lewis attempts to ram his car into the estate gate, brandishing a loaded firearm several times before being apprehended and arrested by the cops. All of this while Elvis supposedly watched from the window. However, there was never any proof that Elvis ever called that bar (the Vapors) to invite Jerry over. Much of his story didn’t make sense that night, including his claim that the loaded gun was given to him by the pub’s bartender.

Even though all charges were eventually dropped, Lewis felt hurt and betrayed by his close friend. Especially after learning that Elvis had allegedly observed the arrest from a series of security cameras but had not intervened. Elvis died only a few months later, in August 1977, and it has never been confirmed whether the musical duo ever explored the event and smoothed things over.


Morning Mischief 

As unbelievable as it may seem, Lewis ramming his car into Elvis’ gate and waving a gun around wasn’t the only crazy thing he did that day…

Lewis and his wife had been invited to the estate that morning. They arrived around 9:30 a.m. but were turned away by the guards who informed Lewis that Elvis was still sleeping. It’s unclear whether Lewis was angry or intoxicated when he sped away from Graceland in his Rolls Royce after being told to leave. Lewis took a sharp turn near the estate and flipped his car multiple times. Lewis and his new bride were fortunately unharmed. When police arrived on the scene, they discovered Lewis was severely intoxicated. But all they did was ticket him for a DUI and let him go.