Blues Suede Shoes is among those rare songs that resides two exceptionally successful lives. First with rockabilly singer Carl Perkins, and then with The King.

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There are straight-up classics, genius compositions, and also groundbreaking tunes that pierce with the ozone of the more comprehensive public consciousness. Blue Suede pair of shoes is the latter.

From Perkins to Presley: this is the evolutionary tale of a historic tune.


Carl Perkins

Blue suede shoes to be a high-end item in the South. Stylish footwear for a night the end on the town. Due to the fact that suede is quite difficult to clean is was pin-up staple of wealth and also fun.

Carl Perkins never owned a pair, however Johnny Cash told him a story about someone that did. Together Cash said it, he and also Perkins were performing in ~ a present in Amory, Mississippi together Elvis Presley. As soon as Presley took to the stage, Cash called Perkins a story native his days serving in the Air force in Germany. Cash’s sergeant, C.V. White, wore his military ideal when he was allowed off base, and at one allude said come Johnny, “Don’t action on my blue suede shoes”. The shoes were really just Air Force-issued black, however White would certainly say, “Tonight they’re blue suede”.

The tale Perkins later told is that he was play at a high school sorority dance when he spied a gentleman who wasn’t paying much attention to his date. Instead, he was informing everybody no to action on his “suedes”. In ~ 3 am that night Perkins woke up and scrambled come pen the lyrics based on what happened that night and also the story from Cash. That couldn’t discover any record so he composed it top top a potato sack.

Almost 64 years earlier to the day, Perkins videotaped the monitor at Sun documents Studios in Memphis, 17 December 1955. Producer Sam Phillips urged Perkins to change the lyrics in the 2nd verse from ‘go, boy, go’ to ‘go, cat, go’, providing the song more punch.

On the way to make his first national illustration on the Perry Como present to promote Blue Suede Shoes, the tape was involved in a significant motor vehicle accident. Shortly before sunup the driver crashed and also was killed instantly. Carl Perkins fractured his shoulder and also skull and also was rushed to hospital. His brothers Jay Perkins endured a broken neck and severe internal injuries from which he died a couple of years later.

“I was a negative farm boy, and with ‘Shoes’ ns felt I had a chance however suddenly there I was in the hospital,” Perkins recalled bitterly. A main later, Perkins was sent out a telegram indigenous Presley wishing that a speedy recovery.

Carl Perkins never completed the reputation of Presley who, according to him, “had everything. He had the looks, the moves, the manager, and the talent. And also he didn’t look favor Mr. Ed, like a most us did, Elvis to be hitting them v sideburns, flashy clothes, and also no ring top top the finger. I had three kids.” 

My mid-April however, Blue Suede Shoes had offered over one million copies earning Perkins a gold record. It was the an initial country song to cross over in the R&B and also pop charts. Add to Perkins was the first-ever Sun records performer come reach such a milestone.

Elvis Presley

Recording covering songs to be pretty common practice in the 1940s and ’50s. The an initial covers RCA Victor want their brand-new signee, Elvis Presley, to document was Heartbreak Hotel and Blue Suede Shoes.

RCA Victor through their premium distribution and radio servicing knew they could probably steal the struggle from Perkins and after far-reaching pressuring, Presley offered in. Despite this, that asked that RCA hold back the song as a solitary until Perkins version had lost steam.

Presley’s version functions two etc solos through Scotty Moore, through Bill black color on bass and D.J. Fontana top top drums. Moore recalls, “We simply went in there and started playing, just winged it. Simply followed but Elvis felt.”

Moore has actually said that Presley tape-recorded the track to aid out Perkins after his accident. “Elvis wasn’t really reasoning at that time the it was going to do money for Carl; he to be doing the as an ext of a tribute kind thing. That course, Carl to be glad that did. The really helped as his document started walking down.”

Presley performed the tune on national television three times in 1956. Blue Suede Shoes was the opening track of the above album Elvis Presley and is a defining moment of absent n’ role history.

The heritage of Blue Suede Shoes is immense. Friend Holly, invoice Haley, and Eddie Cochran all extended it shortly after. End the years countless others have joined the ranks, so the it has end up being a staple, consisting of Jimi Hendrix, Motorhead, black color Sabbath, The thankful Dead, and Bruce Springsteen.

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Most emotional of every it gave an huge sense of pride to that is creator, Carl Perkins.

“After every those job in the cotton fields, the dreams came true top top a gold record,” said Perking psychic his childhood in Tennessee. “It’s in mine den where I deserve to look at it every day. Ns wear it out lookin’ at it.”