Produced on April 9, 1932, in Tiptonville, Tennessee, Carl Perkins started performing live as a teen. He signed with Sun Records and in 1956 released the greatest-selling single of his profession, “Blue Suede Shoes.” Deemed the “Daddy of Rockabilly,” Perkins affected a generation of rock musicians, including the Beatles. It was outside in the fields he got his first taste of gospel music. Though Perkins had a limited education, he began playing guitar together with the aid of a fellow farmhand.
Like his dad, Perkins fell in love with country music, and from the age of 10 was amusing classmates along with his twangy sounds. Teaming up with his brothers, Jay and Clayton, he formed the Perkins Brothers band and started playing in small nightclubs around Jackson, Tennessee. Afterwards, his smaller brother Lloyd, a bass player, joined the group.
From the early 1950s, Perkins, recently wed to his love, Valda Crider, was looking to ensure it is full time as a musician. He performed frequently on a day-to-day Jackson radio show called Early Morning Farm and Home Hour, and picked up shows wherever he could. He shortly piled into an automobile along with his brothers and drove to Memphis, Tennessee.
The very first single that Perkins released with Sun Records was “Movie Magg.” Nevertheless, it was his rockabilly “Blue Suede Shoes” that became a giant hit. As legend has it, Phillips, who had been touring as Presley’s opening act, composed the lyrics of the tune on a paper bag adhering to a show. Subsequently, in late December 1955, he took only two takes to record the single, which will continue to sell over a million copies. “I never had played what I played in the studio that day,” Perkins afterwards remembered. “I understand God said: ‘I Have held it back, but this is it. Now you get down and get it.'”
The Presley-sized recognition that Perkins anticipated never came his way. It left both the guitarist and Jay with serious harms. While Perkins restarted touring that springtime, the car wreck had derailed his career momentum. However, he continued to record. It proved to be only a one day session, however a local paper immediately, and magnificently, dubbed the group “The Million Dollar Quartet.” A CD of the session premiered in 1990.
Jay was diagnosed using a brain tumor and died in 1958, an occasion that led to Perkins reaching an artistic depression and developing a serious drinking problem. The exact same year, Perkins left Phillips to sign with Columbia Records. Perkins had expected that a fresh label would help him get other hits, but the move turned out to be only the first of some rugged efforts to rejuvenate his career.
While the music-buying people did not adore the Perkins rockabilly sound, fellow musicians did. John Fogerty and Ricky Nelson credited him as an important influence. Perkins also became a favorite of the Beatles, George Harrison specifically, as well as in 1964 sat in on a session as the group recorded Perkins compositions including “Matchbox,” “Everybody’s Tryin’ to Be My Baby” and “Honey Do Not.” Afterwards, Perkins performed on Paul McCartney’s 1981 album, Tug of War.
Though stardom failed to materialize for Perkins, he’d a long lasting career. For quite some time, he toured with Cash, and was featured on Cash’s television variety show. Perkins also composed hits for other performers, like “Let Me Tell You About Love” for the Judds and “Silver and Gold” for Dolly Parton. Throughout the past decade of his life, Perkins fought a chain of health issues. He beat throat cancer, which he had been diagnosed with in 1992. In 1997, he had surgery to correct a blockage in his carotid artery. Nevertheless, he suffered two small strokes after that year.