Carl Perkins - Blue Suede Shoes - 1956


Blue Suede Shoes is a rock-and-roll standard written and first recorded by Carl Perkins in 1956. This song is not only a classic in the rockabilly genre but also a significant piece in the history of rock and roll. Perkins' inspiration for the song came from a dancer who warned his date not to step on his shoes. Let's dive into the rich history and influence of "Blue Suede Shoes."

Background and History

Carl Perkins, born in 1932, was an American musician known for his pioneering contributions to rockabilly music, a blend of rhythm and blues and country music. "Blue Suede Shoes" was one of his most famous songs, released in January 1956. It became a huge hit, reaching number 2 on the Billboard pop charts. The song's success was partly because it appealed to a wide audience, cutting across racial and musical divides of the time.

Composition and Lyrics

The song's composition is a perfect example of early rock and roll, characterized by a simple form, strong beat, and catchy lyrics. It has an eight-bar blues structure, a common format in rock and roll music. The lyrics of "Blue Suede Shoes" are simple yet iconic, revolving around the theme of valuing personal style and coolness over material possessions.

Influence and Legacy

"Blue Suede Shoes" was not only a hit for Perkins but also for Elvis Presley, who recorded his version of the song. It is one of the earliest rock and roll records to successfully cross over from the country charts to the mainstream pop and R&B charts. The song has been covered by many artists and remains a staple in rock and roll history.

Further Readings

  1. Carl Perkins
  2. Rock and Roll
  3. Rockabilly
  4. 1950s in Music
  5. Elvis Presley

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

In which year was "Blue Suede Shoes" first recorded by Carl Perkins? (1956) (!1954) (!1958) (!1960)

What musical genres does "Blue Suede Shoes" primarily combine? (Rockabilly and Rock and Roll) (!Jazz and Blues) (!Country and Blues) (!Pop and R&B)

What was Carl Perkins' inspiration for writing "Blue Suede Shoes"? (A dancer warning his date not to step on his shoes) (!A personal experience with ruined shoes) (!A popular dance move at the time) (!A fashion trend in the 1950s)

How did "Blue Suede Shoes" perform on the Billboard pop charts? (Reached number 2) (!Topped the charts at number 1) (!Was not in the top 10) (!Reached number 5)

Which famous rock and roll artist also recorded "Blue Suede Shoes"? (Elvis Presley) (!Chuck Berry) (!Little Richard) (!Jerry Lee Lewis)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Carl Perkins is known as a pioneer of which music genre? (Rockabilly) (!Jazz) (!Soul) (!Funk)

In what year was Carl Perkins born? (1932) (!1928) (!1935) (!1940)

Apart from "Blue Suede Shoes," which of these is another famous song by Carl Perkins? ("Matchbox") (!"Hound Dog") (!"Johnny B. Goode") (!"Great Balls of Fire")

What is a key characteristic of rockabilly music, as exemplified by Carl Perkins? (Blend of rhythm and blues and country music) (!Use of electronic instruments) (!Complex lyrics) (!Extended guitar solos)

Which instrument was Carl Perkins primarily known for playing? (Guitar) (!Piano) (!Saxophone) (!Drums)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What is the main theme of "Blue Suede Shoes"? (Valuing style and coolness over material possessions) (!Love and relationships) (!Travel and adventure) (!Rebellion against authority)

Which of the following lines is from "Blue Suede Shoes"? ("Well, it's one for the money, Two for the show") (!"I saw her standing there") (!"You ain't nothing but a hound dog") (!"Twist and shout")

How many times is the phrase "blue suede shoes" repeated in the chorus? (Three times) (!Once) (!Twice) (!Four times)

The song's lyrics start with a counting sequence. What is the first number in this sequence? (One) (!Zero) (!Two) (!Three)

What does the song suggest you can do anything with, but not step on the singer's shoes? (My face, my hair, my car) (!My shirt, my coat, my hat) (!My drink, my food, my chair) (!My book, my pen, my bag)


Carl Perkins Pioneer of Rockabilly
1956 Year "Blue Suede Shoes" was recorded
Elvis Presley Also recorded "Blue Suede Shoes"
Guitar Carl Perkins' primary instrument
Rhythm and Blues + Country Music Components of Rockabilly

Open Tasks


  1. Research Carl Perkins' Early Life: Explore Carl Perkins' upbringing and early influences in music.
  2. Listen and Reflect: Listen to "Blue Suede Shoes" and write about your first impressions of the song.
  3. Fashion and Music: Investigate the fashion trends of the 1950s and how they influenced rock and roll.


  1. Compare Versions: Compare Carl Perkins' version of "Blue Suede Shoes" with Elvis Presley's. Discuss the differences and similarities.
  2. Rockabilly Genre Study: Study other rockabilly artists and identify common elements in their music.
  3. Lyrics Analysis: Analyze the lyrics of "Blue Suede Shoes" and discuss its themes and cultural significance.


  1. Music Influence Essay: Write an essay on how "Blue Suede Shoes" influenced the development of rock and roll.
  2. Create a Rockabilly Song: Compose your own rockabilly song, inspired by Carl Perkins.
  3. Interview Project: Interview people who lived during the 1950s about their memories of "Blue Suede Shoes" and its impact.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the Evolution of Rock and Roll: Talk about how "Blue Suede Shoes" fits into the broader evolution of rock and roll music.
  2. Carl Perkins' Influence: Discuss the influence of Carl Perkins on later musicians and genres.
  3. Cultural Impact of Music: Analyze the cultural impact of "Blue Suede Shoes" in the context of the 1950s.
  4. Comparison with Other Genres: Compare rockabilly to other music genres of the 1950s and discuss their respective cultural significances.
  5. Modern Interpretations: Explore how modern artists might interpret "Blue Suede Shoes" and how it would differ from the original.

OERs on the Topic


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