Blue Suede Shoes (1956) - Carl Perkins (Carl Perkins) - All about the song ...

A little about the good old rockabilly hit...

The history of the composition "Blue Suede Shoes" (1956)

Rockabilly is one of the most popular styles of the 50s of the last century. The first major hit of this genre was the song about "Blue Suede Shoes", widely known not only by the author Carl Perkins himself, but by Elvis Presley. Why Blue Suede Shoes? Suffice it to mention that subsequently over two thousand cover versions were recorded on it!

Creating a composition

The song was written by Carl Perkins. In his performance, it sounded for the first time ... But it can be reasonably stated that this composition also had a co-author ... It was the legendary "Man in Black" - Johnny Cash - who threw the idea of \u200b\u200bthe future hit to his friend!

“When Johnny, Elvis and other musicians and I were touring the South of the United States on the Louisiana Hayride tour, Cash loved to tell army stories! He once told us about a pilot who jokingly called his boots "blue suede shoes"! And then it dawned on him: “Carl, why don’t we write a song about these shoes?” But I said, “I don’t know much about shoes… How can I write a song about this?”

Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, 1956
Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, 1956

But everything was decided by a matter of chance ... One fine December evening of the same year, drummer WS Holland performed with Karl. He later shared his memories:

“That evening we performed in a small club where there was no stage! Carl and I sat in the very corner. There was not enough space, everyone was dancing right next to the amplifier ... And then we hear how some guy starts yelling at his girlfriend: “How much can you trample on my new shoes!” Hearing this, Carl remembered Johnny's idea..."

But the author of "Blue Suede Shoes" himself said:

“The same evening, after the performance, I wrote the first words of the song ... I jumped out of bed in the dead of night as if scalded, so as not to miss the thought ... I wrote directly on a potato sack - we didn’t need to keep written paper at home! Much to my surprise, "Blue Suede Shoes" turned out to be the easiest song I've ever composed! Although, frankly, I knew nothing about these blue suede shoes, and about shoes in general ... "

Release and achievements

The record appeared on the shelves of music stores in January 1956, just after the New Year. At first, the radio stations played "Honey Don't" on the air, on the back of the album ... But the success of "Blue Suede Shoes" quickly overshadowed this composition ... In just a few months, the single scattered around the world in a million copies and entered 3 top charts at once: country, R&B and pop music!

Carl Perkins was going to perform his hit on the Perry Como Show, but the unexpected happened... On the way, he got into a car accident. The musician's brother died. Karl later says:

"Eighty-five miles separated me from being the first rockabilly performer on national television..."

The musician could not move away from what had happened for a long time ... After - Carl Perkins never recovered: neither emotionally nor in career terms ... However, the composition about "Blue Suede Shoes" was destined to become a hit in the history of rock and roll.

Elvis Presley version

"Blue Suede Shoes" is one of the most recorded songs, so it makes no sense to list all those who gave her a new sound ... But, definitely, it is worth mentioning one of the most popular covers performed by Elvis Presley.

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

Some critics consider Presley's version to be much stronger and more successful than the original. Knowing Carl since the days of working together at Sun Records, Elvis held off the release of the single until the last ... True, his label insisted on the opposite ... Elvis himself wanted Carl's record to have time to be hyped ...

Elvis' guitarist Scotty Moore later claimed that Presley recorded the song to support Perkins after the accident...

“Elvis had no idea how to cash in on Perkins. He did it as a tribute record… Of course, Carl was very pleased with such support…”

The song was the first on Elvis Presley's debut album! Later, a single was released, which modestly limited itself to the 20th line of the top chart.


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