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"Blue Suede Shoes" is a rock and roll standard written and first recorded by American singer, songwriter and guitarist Carl Perkins in 1955. It is considered one of the first rockabilly records, incorporating elements of blues, country and pop music of the time. Perkins' original version of the song appeared on the Cashbox Best Selling Singles list for 16 weeks and spent two weeks at the number two position.[2]

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There are differing accounts about the origin of the song. In his second autobiography Cash: The Autobiography, Johnny Cash recalled planting the seed for the song in the fall of 1955, while Perkins, Cash, Elvis Presley and other Louisiana Hayride acts toured throughout the South. Cash told Perkins of a black airman, C. V. White, whom he had met when serving in the military in Germany, who had referred to his military regulation airmen's shoes as "blue suede shoes", and insisted that no one step on or scuff them.[3] Cash suggested that Perkins write a song about the shoes. Perkins replied, "I don't know anything about shoes. How can I write a song about shoes?"[4]

In another version, Perkins played a dance on December 4, 1955, and noticed a couple dancing near the stage. Between songs, he heard the boy scold his partner, "Uh-uh, don't step on my suedes!" Looking down, he saw that the boy was wearing blue suede shoes and one had a scuff mark. Perkins was amused to see that the boy cared more about his shoes than the pretty girl he was with, and began working on a song about the incident that night.[5]

On March 17, Perkins became the first country artist to reach the number three spot on the rhythm and blues charts.[17] That night, Perkins and his band first performed "Blue Suede Shoes" on television, on ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee[18] (coincidentally, Presley was on Stage Show on CBS-TV that same night, for which he also performed the song).

By mid-April, more than one million copies of "Shoes" had been sold,[23] earning Perkins a gold record.[24] "Blue Suede Shoes" was the first million-selling country song to cross over to both the rhythm and blues and pop charts.[25] He became the first Sun Records performer to reach this milestone.

Presley performed the song on national television three times in 1956. The first was February 11 on Stage Show. He also performed it again on his third appearance on Stage Show on March 17, and again on the Milton Berle Show on April 3. On July 1, Steve Allen introduced Presley on The Steve Allen Show. Presley, dressed in formal evening wear, said, "I think that I have on something tonight that's not quite right for evening wear," and showed the audience his blue suede shoes.[31]

As a rock-and-roll standard, "Blue Suede Shoes" has been performed and recorded by many artists. In 1969, a live performance by John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band was included on Live Peace in Toronto 1969. An album review described it as one of the album's "blues-based oldies ... they lay it down in a dignified, noisy, glorified garage band manner".[35]

But while the song became the first million-seller triple play crossover, going from the top of the country charts over to rhythm & blues and then pop, Perkins' own version of the song was eclipsed in mid-orbit by Elvis Presley's up-tempo cover, which rose even further up all three charts. Now it's a classic that is even being taught in grade schools. 041b061a72


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