A Rockabilly's Life
- 1931: Carl Lee Perkins was born in Tiptonville, Tennessee on April 9, 1932
to Loise Brantley Perkins and Buck Perkins. His brothers were Jay, born in 1930, and
Clayton, born in 1935.
- 1946: His family moved to Bemis, Tennessee, in Madison County.
- 1953: He married Valda Crider of Corinth, Mississippi.
- 1955: Perkins' first song for Sun Records of Memphis, 'Movie Magg', was released.
- 1955: Perkins wrote 'Blue Suede Shoes'. He recorded it at Sun Records on Dec. 19.
The record sold 2 million copies before Elvis recorded it and sold millions more.
- 1956: 'Blue Suede Shoes' became a million-dollar seller by April. Perkins' son, Steve,
was born. The Perkins had four children:Debbie, Stan, Greg and Steve....The now-famous 'million dollar
session' with Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash took place in Sun studio. The 1-hour,
15-minute jam session resulted in a record album, 'The Complete Million Dollar Session'. Because of legal
battles over the ownership of the tape, the album wasn't released until 1990.
- 1963: Perkins met the Beatles. The Beatles recorded and released three Perkins tunes, 'Honey Don't',
'Matchbox', and 'Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby'.
- 1966: Perkins began a 10-year recording and touring relationship with Johnny Cash. Perkins wrote Cash's
'Daddy Sang Bass' and helped write the music for 'A Boy Named Sue'.
- 1968: On a beach in Los Angeles, Perkins gave up alchohol. 'I put the top back on the bottle and I stuck
it in my pocket'. Perkins recounts in his 1996 biography 'Go Cat Go!' 'I fell on my knees on the beach, hid from
everybody but Him.And I said, "Lord...get me home and I'm going to throw away this bottle. I'm going to show you I
believe in you." 'He threw his bottle of Early Times whiskey into the ocean and - as he has said in recent interviews
- he never turned back to drinking.
- 1969: 'Daddy Sang Bass' was a Country Music Association Song of the Year nominee. Perkins and Bob Dylan wrote
and recorded 'Champaign, Illinois'. The song apeared on Perkins' 1969 album, 'On Top'.
- 1976: He fulfilled a dream when he formed his band, the C.P. Expxress, because his son Greg played bass and oldest
son Stan played guitar. (Stan would later play drums).
- 1978: Perkins published 'Disciple in Blue Suede Shoes', an autobiography about his career, alcoholism and dedication
- 1981: The Carl Perkins/Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse was founded in Jackson, Tennessee. It
started in one room of the old Union University campus and has grown into its own downtown building.
- 1986: Perkins was given the Academy of Country Music's Career Achievement Award. He also won a Grammy for a spoken-word
album called 'Class of '55'. The album featured himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and others talking about the roots
- 1987: He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which now is in Cleveland.
- 1989: Carl co-wrote and performed in "Let Me Tell You About Love" with The Judds.
- 1991: Perkins underwent treatment for throat cancer.
- 1992: Carl wrote "Silver and Gold" for Dolly Parton.
- 1994: Perkins joined Bob Dylan at Jackson's Oman Arena. The first song Dylan recorded, he has said in interviews, was Perkins'
- June 11, 1996" Carl Perkins was introduced into Hollywood's "Rock Walk" in a special ceremony recognizing his significant contribution
to the rock'n roll artform.
- 1996: A biography, 'Go Cat Go', was released. Perkins released his last CD of newly recorded material, 'Go Cat Go'.
- 1997: Perkins' health problems continued. He had two strokes last fall, and a third - on Dec.16 - left him in intensive
care. He died Monday, January 19, 1998 after a fourth stroke.
All information for this site was gathered from The Jackson Sun from articles written by Matt Meyer, Jerianne Thompson,
Mary Pat Rowland, and Jimmy Hart. Many thanks to our local newspaper for such wonderful coverage.