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'Great Balls of Fire' Songwriter & Broadway Performer Jack Hammer Dies at 90

Jack Hammer 2_thumb.jpg" align="left" width="235" />"Great Balls of Fire," the hit song popularly associated with Jerry Lee Lewis who recorded it on Sun Records in 1957, was written by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer (aka Earl Solomon Burroughs) who passed away in Oakland, California on Friday April 8, 2016 due to a heart failure.

Jack Hammer was born on September 16, 1925 in Grove Town, Georgia. He was a Renaissance man, Broadway performer, songwriter, actor, MC, singer, tap-dancer, comedian, musician, playwright, impressionist, and artist. Lewis' recording of "Great Balls of Fire," one of dozens of Hammer's compositions, sold one million copies in the first 10 days of release in the United States, capturing a Gold Record award from the Recording Industry Association of America, and becoming one of the best-selling singles in the U.S., as well as one of the world's best-selling singles of all time.

The song was also featured in the 1957 Warner Brothers rock and roll movie "Jamboree" featuring Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Count Basie, and other stars of the era, and became the title of the 1989 Jerry Lee Lewis biopic, starring Dennis Quaid. It has been re- recorded by everyone from The Kingsmen to Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Dolly Parton, Tiny Tim, Mae West, and even Tom Cruise in the movie "Top Gun."

One of Hammer's earliest compositions was the spectacular "Fujiyama Mama," recorded by Annisteen Allen in Jack Hammer 1_thumb.jpg" align="right" width="231" />1954. Hammer also penned "Rock 'n' Roll Call" recorded by the Treniers in 1955 and later recorded by Louis Jordan. In 1958, Jerry Lee Lewis recorded "Milkshake Mademoiselle" (unreleased at the time), Big Danny Oliver cut the exuberant rocker " Sapphire," and the Cadillacs scored a #28 hit with "Peek-A-Boo" all written by Hammer. Over 140 songs are registered to Jack Hammer aka Earl Burroughs under BMI.

Hammer was also an accomplished artist and received the Salvador Dali Award. He performed on Broadway in the 1970s in BUBBLING BROWN SUGAR and at one point was scheduled to portray Jimi Hendrix in a film. Mr. Hammer was a veteran who served in World War II. He is survived by his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren as well, nieces and nephews. The family will hold a private burial, with a larger public celebration to be announced at a later time.

For further information please contact the family at or

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