You Are At: AllSands Home > History > People > Carl Perkins biography
Carl Perkins was one of the hottest rock and roll acts in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s. Born in Tiptonville, Tennessee, he was taught to play the guitar by a neighbor with whom he picked cotton. He began playing at the age of 7 on a guitar made from a cigar box, a broomstick, and baling wire. Perkins was heavily influenced by country music and rhythm and blues and was one of the first musicians to play lead guitar and sing simultaneously. He wrote and recorded "Blue Suede Shoes" which won him a gold record and which Elvis Presley made famous. His career was stunted by an automobile accident which nearly killed him. Perkins struggled for years with alcoholism, finally giving up the bottle at the age of 35. Perkins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is known as one of the fathers of rock and roll.

CHRONOLOGY

1932 He was born in Tiptonville, Tennessee. (April 9)

1954 He signed a contract with Sun Records.

1956 He wrote and recorded "Blue Suede Shoes."; He was in a near-fatal automobile accident.

1958 He left Sun Records to record for Columbia.

1963 The Beatles covered "Matchbox," "Honey Don't," and "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby."

1967 He gave up alcohol.

1968 He toured with the Johnny Cash Show. He wrote "Papa Sang Bass."

1971 He recorded "Me Without You" and "Cotton Top."

1972 He recorded "High on Love."

1978 He recorded "Ol' Blue Suede's Back."

1986 He recorded "Class of '55" along with Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison.

1987 He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

1991 He was diagnosed with lung cancer

1996 He recorded his final album, "Go Cat Go."

1998 He died in Jackson, Tennessee from complications due to recent strokes.