Jerry Lee Lewis once strangled a teacher with his tie.

The 79-year-old musician - commonly referred to as ''Rock and Roll's first great wild man'' - has revealed he tried to throttle one of his school teachers as a teenager, but still insists his nickname 'The Killer' comes from an innocent place.

Asked whether he ever fought a teacher, he said: ''Yes, I was strangling him by his necktie. I was swinging on it. He was weakening, losing his breath.''

The tale was teased in Rick Bragg's authorised memoir of the star, although the 'Great Balls of Fire' legend - who has released 67 albums during his career spanning almost six decades - insists it is not the reason behind his threatening nickname, which instead came from an innocent conversation with a school pal.

Questioned on how he remembers getting the moniker, he told The Guardian newspaper's Weekend magazine ''I was leaving high school one afternoon with my friend, and he or me said, 'I'm going home now, I'll meet you at the pool hall.' And he or me said, 'OK, I'll see you there, killer.' And that's how it got started.''