ADVANTAGES

Lewis probably wouldn't have thought of taking this trip a decade ago, when his bad back and heavy use of meds led some friends to think he had all but checked out. "I was told Jerry Lee liked to just lay in bed and watch TV," says drummer Jim Keltner, who has played on Lewis' past three albums. "I remember doing an NPR interview with him, and his eyes were just spinning. You weren't seeing the real Jerry Lee." That changed with the help of billionaire philanthropist Steve Bing, a superfan who made it his mission to get Lewis recording again. Bing set him up with new accountants to untangle his finances, along with new doctors and even new teeth. "He helped get Jerry Lee in a situation where he wasn't being given hard meds for various ailments," says Keltner. Soon, Lewis was recording live with a band for the first time in years.

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