The genre-bending trio put their own spin on “Great Balls of Fire,” Lewis’ trademark hit that topped the charts in 1957. Lewis died on Oct. 28 at the age of 87, marking the end of a tumultuous career that changed the music industry forever.
King, who has a background in pop and rock music, showed more than her rock and roll ability when she took to the stage with the Black Keys to perform Lewis’ classic song. Sitting at the piano wearing a striped shirt, long ponytail and black leather pants that read “The Killer,” she tore into the tune. The artists brought the energy from the start as King quickly played the song’s famous piano part while singing enthusiastically. She pushed her vocals to the max and even stood up at times while playing, as Lewis used to, making for an uplifting performance.
Backing King on electric guitar and drums, Auerbach and Carney took the CMA Awards audience back to the 1950s — with a twist. The performance only continued to gain heat when, towards the end, King’s piano began to produce actual flames in a nod to one of the most famous stories about Lewis. The piano keys continued to ring as King held nothing back until the tune’s conclusion.
Known for her fiery blend of rock, soul, blues and country, King’s string of impressive country collaborations has earned her three CMA Award nominations over the past six years. “Different for Girls,” her hit collaboration with Dierks Bentleygave her the 2016 Musical Event of the Year award.
The Country Music Association held the 2022 CMA Awards on Nov. 9 at Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. The show, co-hosted by Luke Bryan and former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, was broadcast live on ABC.