Elvis Presley – Good Rockin Tonight

When I think of Elvis …I admire him on one hand and on the other I pity him for how he ended up. When the big E was coming out of the Memphis radios on Sun Records…there was not anyone around that could touch him as a live rock and roll performer. Then came Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis became a huge star but with a steep cost.

Roy Brown first wrote and released this song in 1947. Elvis covered it and released it in 1954. His release was his second Sun Record release and the B side was a song called “I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine.” I wish Elvis could have stayed on Sun a little longer. Soon he would be gone to RCA. Great records but he had a sound on Sun that he never got back. His band was Scotty Moore on lead guitar and Bill Black on the double bass. The song didn’t chart many places but it did peak at #10 in Sweden.

His first single for Sun was “That’s Alright Mama.” On June 7, 1954, WHBQ Radio in Memphis became the first station to play this song when their disc jockey Dewey Phillips aired it on his Red, Hot and Blue show the day after Elvis recorded it. It soon built up regionally after that.

A Sun Records Tribute Assembles Old Timers of Rock & Roll - Frank Beacham's  Journal

On November 20, 1955, Elvis signed with RCA and after that, his records were everywhere. RCA could give him distribution all over the world but I wish they would have kept recording the Sun Studios with Sam Phillips. Mr. Phillips owned Sun Studios since 1952 and he would have a star-studded roster of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and more.

He was also an early investor in the Holiday Inn chain of hotels and an advocate for racial equality, helping to break down racial barriers in the music industry.

The B Side I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine

Good Rockin Tonight

Well, I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight
Well, I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight
I’m gonna hold my baby as tight as I can
Tonight she’ll know I’m a mighty, mighty man
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

I said, meet me and a-hurry behind the barn
Don’t you be afraid ’cause I’ll do you no harm
I want you to bring along my rockin’ shoes
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna rock away all our blues
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

Well, we’re gonna rock
We’re gonna rock
Let’s rock
Come on and rock
We’re gonna rock all our blues away

Have you heard the news, everybody’s rockin’ tonight
Have you heard the news, everybody’s rockin’ tonight
I’m gonna hold my baby as tight as I can
Well, tonight she’ll know I’m a mighty, mighty man
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

Well, we’re gonna rock, rock, rock, rock
Come on and rock, rock, rock, rock
Let’s rock, rock, rock, rock
Well, let’s rock, rock, rock, rock
We’re gonna rock all our blues away

Carl Perkins – Blue Suede Shoes

Well it’s one for the money, two for the show
Three to get ready, now go cat go

This song could be the definition of rock and roll.  One of the many great Sun records that were released. Carl Perkins is a guitar hero to me with his rockabilly style that he never lost. I see why George Harrison and a generation was such a fan of the man. This song is up there with Johnny B Good as a Rock and Roll standard.

This song was written by Carl and it soon became a rock and roll anthem. This is another song that by law…you have to know if you are in a rock band. It’s probably better known by a singer from Memphis…named Elvis. I always favored this version…it has Carl playing guitar and that is all I need.

Carl recorded this in Memphis in 1955 for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. As he was driving to make his first national appearance to promote it on the Perry Como Show, he got into an accident that seriously injured him and killed his brother.  He later said he was 85 miles away from being the first rockabilly on national television.

Perkins never fully recovered, either emotionally or career-wise. With Perkins unable to touring and promote it, Elvis’ cover version became a massive hit. Presley’s copy was done at RCA studios in Nashville. Perkins did have some hits after this but nothing like Blue Suede Shoes. Interestingly enough…Elvis’s version only made it to #20 in the pop charts.

This single was released in 1956. The B side was Honey Don’t. The single peaked at #2 in the US Charts and #1 in the Country charts.

I always wondered about blue suede shoes and what was so special about them. Blue suede shoes were a luxury item in the South…you would only wear them on a special night out. . You had to be careful with them though, since suede isn’t easy to clean.

Perkins never owned a pair, but Johnny Cash told him a story about someone who did. Cash told Perkins a story from his days serving in the Air Force in Germany. Cash’s sergeant…C.V. White. He would wear his military best when he was allowed off base, and at one point said to Cash, “don’t step on my blue suede shoes.” The shoes were really just Air Force-issued black, but white would say, Tonight they’re blue suede!

The story Perkins told is that later on, he was playing at a high school sorority dance when he came across a guy who wasn’t paying much attention to his date, but kept telling everyone not to stop on his “suedes,” meaning his blues suede shoes. At 3 a.m. that night, Perkins woke up and wrote the lyrics based on what happened that night and the story he heard from Cash. He couldn’t find any paper, so he wrote it on a potato sack.

Perkins based the beginning of this song on a nursery rhyme One For The Money: “One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go.”

Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, came up with the idea of changing the line “Go, man, go” to “Go, cat, go.” He thought the change would make it seem like less of a country song and more of a rocker…it worked!

From Songfacts

Sam Phillips discovered Elvis Presley but sold his contract to RCA for $35,000. The money helped Phillips finance this and other records by artists like Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, but Elvis became The King. Elvis recorded this later in 1956. His version hit US #20 and UK #9.

This was the only Top 40 hit for Perkins on the pop charts, but his influence reaches much further. He was extremely influential to other artists, including Elvis, The Beatles, and Johnny Cash. Perkins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

The lyrics describe some of the things that Perkins would prefer over getting his shoes scuffed, and the list includes some derelict behavior: stepping on his face, stealing his car, burning down his house and drinking his liquor. Some in the Sinatra-loving older generation were horrified, and used the song to back their case that rock ‘n’ roll was the Devil’s music.

This was the first song to hit the US Pop, Country, and R&B charts at the same time. Released on January 1, 1956, the song made a slow climb up the charts, appearing on all three in May, which is when it reached its peak of #2 on the Pop charts.

In Perkins’ original version of this song, there are two deliberate beats after each of the first two lines: “One for the money… bomp, bomp; two for the show… bomp, bomp.” The Elvis version eliminates the pause between the lines and speeds it up considerably.

Dave Edmunds, who later toured with Perkins, tells a story about recording the song with the rock legend for a segment to air on The South Bank Show, a UK program. According to Edmunds, Perkins played the intro without the beats between lines, insisting that when he recorded it, that was a mistake. Edmunds began pleading with him to do it as he did on that record, but then realized the absurdity of explaining to Carl Perkins how to play “Blue Suede Shoes.”

In later appearances, Perkins did play the song in line with his original recording, often with Edmunds by his side. One of his last appearances was with Edmunds performing the song on The Jay Leno Show in 1997 (Perkins died the next year).

The B-side of the single was “Honey Don’t,” which was covered by The Beatles.

This song was a family affair: Perkins’ brother Jay played rhythm guitar on the track, and his other brother Clayton played bass (W.S. “Fluke” Holland was Perkins’ drummer). Jay died from a brain tumor in 1957, and Clayton took his own life in 1974.

The charting versions of this song in America were by:

Carl Perkins – #2, 1956
Elvis Presley – #20, 1956
Boyd Bennett – #63, 1956
Johnny Rivers – #38, 1973

Pat Boone, Conway Twitty, The Dave Clark Five and Merle Haggard are among the many to record it. A version by Buddy Holly surfaced in 1964 on an album of outtakes called Showcase.

The “better not step on my shoes” trope found its way back to the zeitgeist when Spike Lee included a scene in his 1989 movie Do The Right Thing where a character gets very upset when someone steps on his Air Jordan sneakers.

Perkins, backed by Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats, recorded a new version of this song in 1985 for the soundtrack of the movie Porky’s Revenge! The soundtrack was produced by Dave Edmunds, who also got Willie Nelson, Jeff Beck and George Harrison to record songs for it, leading to a gaping disparity in quality between the film and the soundtrack.

Later in the year, Edmunds spearheaded the “Carl Perkins and Friends” concert special, recorded October 21 in London and aired January 1, 1986 on Cinemax. Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Rosanne Cash were among the “friends.”

The Count performed this song on an episode of Sesame Street. It became a counting exercise (one, two, Blue Suede Shoes).

Blue Suede Shoes

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
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes

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

Oh let’s go cat!

But 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 honey lay off of them shoes
And don’t you, step on my blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes

Rock!

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
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes

Well it’s blue, blue, blue suede shoes
Blue, blue, blue suede shoes yeah
Blue, blue, blue suede shoes baby
Blue, blue, blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes