American singer Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) performing on stage, circa 1972.
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Elvis Presley's 'Blue Suede Shoes' Has an Interesting Connection to Johnny Cash


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Elvis Presley's "Blue Suede Shoes" is not only legendary tune that helped kick off the rock 'n' roll revolution of the 1950s, but it has an interesting backstory. Originally written and recorded by Carl Perkins, the song is a simple one in which the wearer of blue suede shoes simply asks that his fellow partygoers not step on his cherished footwear.

The song's main character is so passionate about his blue suede shoes that, in the second verse, he even says, "You can burn my house, steal my car / Drink my liquor from an old fruit-jar / Do anything that you want to do / But uh-uh baby, lay off of my shoes." This simple song became a big hit for both Perkins and Presley, but what inspired Perkins to write the tune? There are a few different answers to that question.

The first account of how the song was born comes from Johnny Cash, who says that something he said inspired the song, reports Happy Mag. According to Cash, he had told Perkins a story about an airman he served with named C.V. White who called his airman shoes "blue suede shoes" when he wore them off base. Although the shoes were actually black, Cash says White told him, "Tonight, they're blue suede. Don't step on 'em!"

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That's not the story that Perkins told, however. When asked how the song was inspired, Perkins says the idea was hatched when he was performing at a teenage dance and he saw a boy who was more preoccupied with his shoes than his date. The boy reportedly told his date, "Don't step on my suedes!"and Perkins wrote the song soon after. For the famous opening line, Perkins looked to an old nursery rhyme, "One For The Money," using its words for the first verse, "One for the money, two for he show, three to get ready, now, go, cat, go."

While there may be discrepancies about how the song was created, there's no doubt that it was a mega-hit for both Perkins and Presley. Perkins was the first to release it in January 1956, and it hit the No. 1 spot on the Memphis charts by February of that year. Perkins performed the tune on various radio and television shows, including the Big D Jamboree and the Ozark Jubilee. He was set to perform the song on the Perry Como Show in March of 1956, but he and his band were involved in a vehicle crash that killed a truck driver. While Perkins was recovering from his injuries, "Blue Suede Shoes" took the No. 1 spot on the pop, R&B and country regional charts.

It was Presley's record label, RCA Victor, that wanted him to cover the hit rock 'n' roll song to promote his own career. Presley, however, would only record the tune if his record label agreed to allow Perkins' version to have its run on the charts first. They agreed, and Presley released his classic version of the tune in September 1956. Presley performed his version on Stage Show, the Milton Berle Show and The Steve Allen Show. Presley's version of the song landed at No. 20 on the US charts, and it has become one of his most recognizable tunes.

"Blue Suede Shoes" Lyrics

Well, it's one for the money two for the show
Three to get ready now go, cat, go
But don't you step on my blue suede shoes
Well you can do anything but
Lay off of my blue suede shoes

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Well, you can knock me down, step in my face
Slander my name all over the place
Do anything that you want to do
But uh-uh honey, lay off of my shoes
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes

Now let's go cats (oh walk the dogs)
You can burn my house, steal my car
Drink my liquor from an old fruit-jar
Do anything that you want to do

But uh-uh baby, lay off of my shoes
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes
Rock it

Well, it's one for the money, two for the show
Three to get ready now go, cat, go
But don't you step on my blue suede shoes
Well you can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes
Go cat uh

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Blue, blue suede shoes oh baby
Blue, blue suede shoes uh ha
Blue, blue suede shoes oh baby
Blue, blue suede shoes
You do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes

Read More: Everything to Know About the New 'Elvis' Biopic

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