Carl Perkins is best known for being the writer and original singer for the rockabilly anthem Blue Suede Shoes. Perkins was part of the renowned artists on the Sun label that included Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Despite his modest solo career, he persevered and created a body of work that is both critically acclaimed and massively influential for many singers, songwriters and guitar players.
His humble beginnings were in Tennessee where he played in a little band with his brothers. After hearing Elvis on the radio in 1954, Perkins drove down to Memphis to audition for the legendary record producer, Sam Phillips of Sun Records.
In 1956, he released Blue Suede Shoes that made him the first white, country artist to cross over on to the R&B charts. The song would alternate with Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel for the top spot. Eventually, Presley would record his version of the song.
Perkins’ career basically hit a nosedive even though he had some minor rockabilly hits in the form of Boppin’ the Blues and Your True Love. But it wasn’t until 1964, when he realised that The Beatles admired his music.
He went on to supervise the Fab Four’s recording of five of his songs including Matchbox, Honey Don’t and Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby. Rick Nelson and Patsy Cline also covered Perkins’ songs.
For the next twenty years, he continued to write for others and release his own material. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Perkins eventually passed away in 1998.
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