Real Name: Carl Lee Perkins
Born: April 9, 1932
Carl Lee Perkins was an American pioneer of rockabilly music which is a mix of country music and rhythm and blues. He is best known for his song “Blue Suede Shoes”, rockabilly anthem written and sung by him.
Carl Perkins was the son of poor sharecroppers and grew up working in the cotton fields near Tiptonville, Tennessee. He used to listen to radio on Saturday nights along with his father and hear music from the country music radio program “Grand Ole Opry”. The broadcast performances of a country musician Roy Acuff on the Grand Ole Opry program inspired Perkins to ask his parents to get a guitar for him. Carl’s father, Buck couldn’t get him a real guitar but created one from a cigar box and a broomstick. Later Buck purchased a scratched Gene Autry signature model guitar with worn out strings from his neighbor and gave it to Perkins. He learnt himself playing on Roy Acuff’s songs which heard on the Opry program, “The Wabash Cannonball” and “Great Speckled Bird”.
Carl Perkins learnt more about playing guitar from a fellow field worker ‘John Westbrook’ who played blues and gospel. In the mid of 1940s Carl Perkins formed the band “Perkins Brothers” with his brothers Clayton and Jay. Carl learnt gospel, blues and country music and wrote a song ‘Movie Magg’. In October 1954 he was auditioned for a record producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records and released ‘Turn Around’ and ‘Movie Magg’ on the Phillips owned Flip label.
Carl Perkins wrote the song “Blue Suede Shoes” in the fall of 1955 and this was released on January 1, 1956. The song “Blue Suede Shoes” was a big hit and reached number one on “Billboard magazine’s country music” charts and number two on Billboard’s Best Sellers pop music chart. Perkins is the first country artist to reach number three on the rhythm & blues charts on March 17.
Carl Perkins and his group “Perkins Brothers” were driving to New York to appear on Perry Como’s television program and they met with an accident as the driver fell asleep. Carl Perkins and his brother Jay were seriously injured. However, he recovered and was back to perform in about a month. Sam Phillips arranged a recording session where Carl recorded for the songs “Dixie Fried”, “Right String, Wrong Yo-Yo”, “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby”, “You Can’t Make Love to Somebody”, “Put Your Cat Clothes On” and “That Don’t Move Me”. Perkins recorded the song “Glad All Over” in 1950s and a performance of the song featured in the movie “Jamboree” in 1957.
Carl Perkins toured England in 1964 along with the band “The Animals”, “Eric Burdon” and “Chuck Berry”. An American country singer-songwriter, Johnny Cash took Perkins written “Daddy Sang Bass” which reached number one on the country music charts in 1968.
Carl Perkins was inducted to the “Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame” in 1985 and in 1987 he was inducted to the “'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’. Perkins song “Blue Suede Shoes” was chosen as a “Grammy Hall of Fame Award” recipient and one of “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”.
Carl Perkins performed on the album “Class of ‘55” in 1986 when he returned to Sun Studios in Memphis. Perkins performed along with Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. He co-wrote and played guitar on number one hit “Let me Tell You About Love” of “The Judd’s” in 1989. Perkins last album “Go Cat Go!” was released in 1996.
Carl Perkins was ranked number 69 on the list of “100 Greatest Artist of All Time” by Rolling Stone in 2004.
Carl Perkins died of throat cancer on January 19, 1998.
Some of his albums include:
- Movie Magg
- Turn Around
- Gone, Gone, Gone
- Let The Juke Box Keep On Playing
- Blue Suede Shoes
- Honey, Don’t!
- Sure To Fall
- Dixie Fried
- I’m Sorry, I’m Not Sorry
- Your True Love
- That’s Right
- Forever Yours
- Glad All Over
- Lend Me Your Comb
- I Got A Woman
- Pink Pedal Pushers
- Pop, Let Me Have The Car
- Levi Jacket (And A Long Tail Shirt)
- This Life I Live
- Pointed Toe Shoes
- Highway of Love