Carl Perkins

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

Category: Performer

Inducted in: 1987

Inducted by: Sam Phillips

Nominated in: 1986   1987

First Eligible: 1986 Ceremony

Inducted into Rock Hall Revisited in 1990 (ranked #118) .

Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
Blue Suede Shoes (1956)
Matchbox (1956)
Honey Don't (1956)

Carl Perkins @ Wikipedia

Carl Perkins Videos


3 comments so far (post your own)

I remember one of the first songs that inspired me to play guitar was "Matchbox". Part of the original Sun Records lineup...worth a listen!!

Posted by Terry on Thursday, 02.7.08 @ 20:58pm

Some ill-informed writers of rock and roll would dismiss Carl Perkins as a one-hit wonder at the dawn of rock and roll, but a deeper look at his music and career reveals so much more. A brief look at his songwriting folder shows that he wrote songs for Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. Also, his influence as a rockabilly singer played a hugh part in the devlopment of later generations of rockers like The Beatles and The Hollies as well as country artists. Along with Scotty Moore's playing style, Carl's style of guitar was so gravitating that modern day guitarists sometimes don't even realize that they're playing Perkins' licks. As a singer, Carl's country ballads are every bit as fine as his rock stuff. Within the frame of his music, a strong sense of family radiates throughout the musical career of this great singer

By the way, anyone wear blue suede shoes?

Posted by Andrew on Friday, 01.25.13 @ 13:23pm

Rockabilly pioneer Carl Perkins lent rock n' roll a guiding hand when two musical currents that defined the music of the South in the mid 20th century, rhythm & blues and country and western came together in the mid 50s as rock and roll.

A native Tennessean, Carl was born to a sharecropping family north of Memphis. He first learned how to play the guitar from a black field hand named John Westbrook. He clearly was influenced by bluegrass pioneer, Bill Monroe which one can hear in Perkins' music. "Some of these old songs of Bill's sound so much like rockabilly, it's frightening." Perkins once said. He was also right on track with Elvis Presley on the creation of rock n' roll from homegrown musical elements.

While some ill-informed writers of rock n' roll history would like dismiss Perkins as a one hit wonder artist at the drawn of rock n' roll, yet a deeper at his musical career reveals so much more. A quick look at his songwriting folder shows us that he composed songs for Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and others. His guitar style is along with Scotty Moore's is the other peak of rockabilly's instrumental heart, so much that modern-day guitar players automatically move steadily to it when called upon to deliver it and don't even realize that they're playing Perkins' licks, sometimes even note by note.

As a singer, his country ballads are every bit as perfect as his better known rock songs. Within the framework of his music is a powerful sense of family and roots that trace back to his humble background. While on tour in England in 1964, he learned that his music had influenced The Beatles, especially George Harrison. In fact, they recorded five of Perkins' songs including "Matchbox," and "Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby."

Carl's influence as the quintessential rockabilly artist has played a high part in the development of every generation of rock artists to come down the road from The Beatles to The Stray Cats to an uncountable number of country artists as well.

In my mind, "Blue Suede Shoes" will always be one of rockabilly's finest songs and Carl Perkins will always be one of rock's finest guitar players.

Posted by Andrew on Sunday, 02.23.14 @ 20:27pm

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