March 8

Johnny Cash’s Story Inspired Blue Suede Shoes Before It Became An Elvis Presley Hit

“Blue Suede Shoes” is an irrefutable iconic rock n’ roll anthem — a classic among classics, as they say. But while many think of Elvis Presley when they hear the hit song as he was the one who popularized it to the mainstream, it was actually originally written and performed by the resident Sun Studio recording artist Carl Perkins in 1955. 

And here is some more interesting fact: Did you know that the legendary singer Johnny Cash actually had a hand in the creation of this masterpiece? Yes, you read that right. 

‘Champagne Velvet’ and Blue Suedes

It was during the release of “Jukebox,” and Carl Perkins was booked in a multi-city jaunt kicking off at Parkin, Arkansas that also featured Elvis and Cash. Before one of Perkins’ stages, Cash, who is a staunch friend of the singer-songwriter, casually rolled into the small dressing room behind the stage and greeted him. The two hadn’t seen each other in weeks, so there was a bit of a catch-up session, but just like any other conversation, it eventually turned to songwriting. 

Cash brought up the topic of “what was new,” to which Perkins simply answered with a laugh, “Ain’t nothing worth writin’ home about, John.” That was when Cash suggested the idea of writing a song about blue suede shoes, but Perkins dismissively shot down the idea telling Cash that he knew nothing about them. 

Cash then went on to tell Perkins of a recollection of his time in Air Force featuring him and a ‘sharp-dressed bootblack’ character named C.V. White who told Cash that his initials stood for Champagne Velvet. According to Cash, they all wore fatigues on duty, but when they got a three-day pass, everyone would wear Air Force blues and black shoes. And during then, whenever C.V. went to town, he would ask Cash to inspect him beforehand so that he was assured that he looked his best for the women in Munich. One rundown, Cash commended C.V.’s shined shoes, to which the latter promptly clarified to him that it was actually blue suede shoes and not Air Force black. He was also quick to note to Cash that he was not at any circumstance allowed to step on his blue suede shoes. 

Still, Perkins brushed off Cash’s suggestion, excusing that he never owned a pair of blue suedes. But one day in October of 1955, the song idea finally came to life. (If you want to know how the whole story went down, you can head over here to find out.

And we think we could all agree that Johnny Cash deserved a bit of credit here. He did indirectly influence the creation of this massive hit. 

You can listen to this masterpiece sang by Carl Perkins himself in the video below.


Tags

carl perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash


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