by Robert Wilkinson
Carl Perkins was one of the true originals! He was there at the beginning in “the club” with Elvis, Jerry Lee, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and the rest of the Sun Records bunch that made rock and roll history. Today we have great videos.
Carl Perkins (April 9, 1932 – January 19, 1998) started off in rockabilly, and gave us “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Matchbox,” “Honey Don’t,” “Boppin’ The Blues,” and “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby,” along with a bundle of other immortal tunes. From Wikipedia,
According to Charlie Daniels, "Carl Perkins' songs personified the rockabilly era, and Carl Perkins' sound personifies the rockabilly sound more so than anybody involved in it, because he never changed." Perkins' songs were recorded by artists (and friends) as influential as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Johnny Cash, which further cemented his place in the history of popular music. Paul McCartney even claimed that "if there were no Carl Perkins, there would be no Beatles."
To which I’ll add, John noted that “before Elvis, there was nothing.” Seems Sun Records set some things into motion! And yes, the Beatles really did like Carl’s music, which is why they included three of his songs on the US albums “Something New” and “Beatles ’65.” Carl was so influential that he was called "the King of Rockabilly." He was inducted into all the Halls of Fame dedicated to his style of music, and even made the Grammy HOF.
He was a kid that was extraordinarily “dirt poor,” the poorest of the poor, and yet lifted himself into the musical pantheon to a rarified atmosphere that extremely few share. He took it from zero to sixty in a heartbeat, and set us all dancing happy to a sound he helped create.
And he hung with Johnny and Elvis. These were the originals, in every sense of the word. They kicked open the door to the musical world that we all know. Without them, we don’t really know if any of what has been could have been made real. Thank heaven we don’t have to wonder!
Today I’ll just give you a few, but what great ones they are!
Though it’s audio-only, this was THE song that kicked a few doors down! “Blue Suede Shoes”
Here’s the first video performance I could find! From 1957, Carl and the Perkins Brothers Band perform on Tex Ritter's Ranch Party giving us the birth of rock and roll! “Dixie Fried”
Live in 1958, an early video of the Master! “Boppin’ the blues”
From what looks like the same 1958 television performance, “She Knows How To Rock Me”
Obviously from the 50s, here’s Carl “and the boys” cranking out “Matchbox”
This song was part of the Beatles' original set list! From 1964, here’s the original studio version by the Beatles of “Matchbox”
Here’s the original Sun studio version of Carl’s hit “Honey Don’t”
Here are the Beatles live on the BBC in 1965 giving us their version of “Honey Don’t”
And though Carl didn’t write the tune, he made it big! For your enjoyment, the original Sun studio version of “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby”
From Paris (probably 1965), a great live video performance by the Beatles with George singing lead on “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby”
Much later on, here are Carl Perkins and Friends in the UK joined by George Harrison performing “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby”
From 1979, here’s Carl and the Killer offering up “Blue Suede Shoes”
From 1985 an amazing 58 minute tribute! Blue Suede Shoes: Rockabilly Session (With Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr)
From 1990 on Letterman, Carl giving us a great performance of “Honey don’t”
From 1993, a 46 minute documentary! Paul McCartney with Carl Perkins: My Old Friend
From Nashville in 1994, with Duane Eddy and the Mavericks! “Matchbox”
For our closer, from 1997 on Leno, Carl and the great Dave Edmunds giving us “Blue Suede Shoes”
I found a great encore! When Elvis died in 1977, a few old friends got together. Here are the Sun originals offering up one to their old friend, the King of Rock and Roll! “This Train Is Bound to Glory” – Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison
A couple of brief rare deserts! Old friends Scotty and Carl hanging out! Scotty Moore and Carl Perkins Talking About Whatever Legends Talk About
And finally, this is one of the rarest of rare treats! Welcome to Oklahoma in 1955, where we have what is said to be the first film footage of Elvis AND Buddy with Carl! Of course, Bill Black, Scotty Moore, the Crickets, and other are also here. Wow. Set to Buddy’s version of “Baby Let’s Play House,” which of course had been a huge hit for Elvis on Sun. Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly – First film footage
Thanks for being there, Mister Carl Perkins. You took country and rockabilly and made it into rock and roll!
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson