Top 10 Carl Perkins Songs

Carl Perkins Songs

Amazon CD Link

Carl Perkins is undoubtedly one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Born in 1932, Perkins was one of the earliest rock and roll performers. He began his career as a country singer before moving toward a rockabilly sound and becoming one of the undisputed architects of rock and roll music. He has been referred to as the inventor or King of Rockabilly. Carl Perkins was signed in 1954 to the legendary Memphis based Sun Records. While signed to Sun Records, Carl Perkins was produced by the renowned Sam Phillips. It was Sam Phillips who had also signed Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash to Sun Records.

Carl Perkins has been cited as an influence by such diverse and famous acts as The Beatles, Eric Clapton, T Rex, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. Carl Perkins’ band was usually a four piece, with Carl Perkins writing the lyrics, singing and playing guitar. Carl Perkins’ two brothers Jay and Clayton played guitar and bass. This stripped down form of country and blues that influenced rock and roll came to be known as rockabilly. It has since sprouted offshoot genres such as country rock.

Country rock became popular in the late 60’s. Notable country rock artists include Graham Parsons, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Rolling Stones. In the late 70’s and early 80’s rockabilly spawned the punk rock influenced Psychobilly which paired rockabilly instrumentation with over-the-top vocals, distorted guitar and a punk attitude. Major psychobilly acts include The Cramps and Hank Williams III.

10. Movie Magg

Carl Perkins wrote this song in 1954 and recorded it in 1955 for Sam Phillips of the legendary Sun Records. This was Perkins’ first release with the famous label that also represented Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. The lyrics are light hearted and describe a man taking his girlfriend out to see a movie. The song is upbeat and features Perkins’ brothers on rhythm guitar and bass. It has a country music style back beat and poppy lyrics mixed with bluesy guitar solos and sped up country guitar typical of rockabilly music.

9. That’s Right

Written by Carl Perkins and fellow country singer turned rock and roll musician Johnny Cash in 1957 and released on Sun Records the same year. This song showcased Perkins’ original, stripped down four man style when compared with contemporaries like Bill Haley and the Comets who employed two guitarists, a slap bassist, pianist and saxophone player. The Carl Perkins band only consisted of Carl on lead guitar and vocals, Jay Perkins on guitar, Clayton Perkins on the bass, and W.S. “Fluke” Holland on drums. Holland would go on to find fame as Johnny Cash’s permanent drummer. While it wasn’t a big hit for Perkins at the time it has since become a classic rockabilly tune.

8. Honey Don’t

The B side to “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Honey Don’t,” became a hit in its own right. The single was many people’s first time hearing rockabilly and it became a standard of the genre. It has been covered by the likes of Johnny Rivers, Joe Walsh, Ronnie Hawkins and The Beatles, who released their own popular version of the song in 1964.

7. Let the Jukebox Keep On Playing

Composed by Perkins in 1955, “Let the Jukebox Keep On Playing,” was a country song. Although Perkins had been moving away from straight country music in favor of his rockabilly sound, much of his style was rooted in country tradition and he continued to perform Let the Jukebox Keep On Playing after his crossover successes with R&B and rock and roll.

The influence of country on rock and roll was long-lasting and it began to be played by later rock bands, creating the genre now known as country rock. Perkins’ influence can be heard on The Byrds’ “Sweetheart of The Rodeo,” The Rolling Stones’ albums Beggar’s Banquet, Some Girls and Sticky Fingers also featured country songs with a rock and roll touch. It can be argued that without Carl Perkins’ country influence on rock and roll those albums might never have been recorded.

6. Your True Love

Written by Carl Perkins and released in 1957, this song is notable for the famous musicians that helped record it. This included fellow Sun artists Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, all of whom happened to be in the studio that day. Due to the financial success of these artists individually they were referred to as the Million Dollar Quartet. It was the A side to Matchbox, another famous Perkins song.

5. Boppin’ the Blues

Written by Carl Perkins and Howard “Curley” Griffin and released on Sun Records in 1956. It sold well and appeared on both the country western and pop music charts. It has more of an evolved, rock and roll feel to it than Perkins’ other songs and it is an excellent example of how Perkins defied genres and crossed over from country western singer to rock star. It has been covered by the likes of Link Wray, Johnny Rivers and his early rock and roll peer Gene Vincent.

4. Dixie Fried

Also written by Carl Perkins and Howard “Curley” Griffin in 1956. Dixie Fried came out of the same sessions that produced Boppin’ the Blues. Dixie Fried has a definite rock and roll sound to it as Perkins moved further from his country and blues roots and forged faster, more electric guitar heavy music.

3. Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby

This song is based on a 1934 song written by Rex Griffin. Perkins recorded his updated version in 1957. Perkins’ version sounds much more modern and the fast back beat and sparse instrumentation lend the song a rockabilly feel. Perkins’ interest in blues music is clearly audible on the electric guitar solos throughout the track. This song is an excellent example of how Perkins combined different genres to create his music, something which was rare at the time. The song briefly resurfaced on the charts in 1964 when The Beatles released their own cover of it.

2. Matchbox

Written and recorded by Perkins in 1957. “Matchbox,” borrowed a few lines and phrases from blues artists Ma Rainey and Blind Lemon Jefferson but otherwise the recording is arranged by Perkins and shares no musical similarities to the quoted songs. Like his other hits Matchbox featured bluesy guitar solos, a consistent backbeat and the minimal instrumentation that came to be associated with Perkins and rockabilly music in general, although Matchbox does feature piano played by Jerry Lee Lewis. This song was recorded by the Million Dollar Sun Records quartet of Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.

1. Blue Suede Shoes

Written, recorded and released in 1955. This is undoubtedly Carl Perkins’ most famous and best selling singles. It was Perkins’ only number one single. “Blue Suede Shoes,” has since become a rock and roll standard and it is world famous. The song made Carl Perkins a household name and was one of the defining songs of the early rock and roll era. With a fast backbeat, blistering guitar solos, the wild energy of the performers, and the famous opening line “Well, it’s one for the money/Two for the show/Three to get ready/Now go, man, go!” Blue Suede shoes gave the world their first glimpse at Carl Perkins’ unique mix of country music, rhythm, and blues, pop, and rock and roll.

Carl Perkins was popular with black as well as white audiences and he was the first white country singer to make it onto the predominantly black R&B charts. Perkins’ contemporary Chuck Berry mentioned “Blue Suede Shoes,” in his own hit “Roll Over Beethoven.” The song itself features a steady backbeat and rough, country and blues-influenced guitar. It is widely considered to be the first rockabilly single ever released and it catapulted Perkins to instant stardom. This song has been covered by artists as diverse as The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, T. Rex, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen and many other major artists and bands. It continues to be popular to this day.

Updated June 20, 2023

Top 10 Carl Perkins Songs article published on Classic© 2023 claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites. Protection Status


Be the first to know when a new article is published

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Steve Miller Band's Best Song On Each Studio Album
Steve Miller Band’s Best Song On Each Studio Album
Michael Jackson's Best Song
Michael Jackson’s Best Song On Each Of His Studio Albums
Thin Lizzy's Best Songs
Thin Lizzy’s Best Song On Each Of Their Studio Albums
Best Rock Lyrics
50 Of The Best Lyrical Moments In Rock And Pop Music
Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums Of All Time
Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums Of All Time
Grateful Dead Albums
Top 10 Grateful Dead Albums
Seven Killer Metal Albums
Seven Killer Metal Albums You May Have Never Heard
Peter Gabriel Albums
Top 10 Peter Gabriel Albums
Trying To Make Sense Of David Lee Roth's Cover Of 867-5309/Jenny
Trying To Make Sense Of David Lee Roth’s Cover Of 867-5309/Jenny
The Rolling Stones At Metlife Stadium 2024
The Rolling Stones 24 Tour Rocks MetLife Stadium Review 5-23-24
Aaron Leigh of Y&T
2024 M3 Rock Festival Day 2 Concert Review
2024 M3 Rock Festival Day 1 Concert Review
2024 M3 Rock Festival Day 1 Concert Review
Dave Davies of The Kinks Interview
Dave Davies of The Kinks: The Interview
Tommy Bolan of Warlock & Doro: 15 Albums That Changed My Life
Tommy Bolan of Warlock & Doro: 15 Albums That Changed My Life
Matt Curtis of Blacktop Mojo Interview
Matt Curtis of Blacktop Mojo: The Interview
Gerry McAvoy
Gerry McAvoy of The Rory Gallagher Band: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
10cc Albums
Complete List Of 10cc Albums And Songs
Survivor Albums
Complete List Of Survivor Albums And Songs
Rachel Sweet Albums
Complete List Of Rachel Sweet Albums And Discography
Steve Miller Band Albums
Complete List Of Steve Miller Band Albums And Songs
9 Bands That Never Replaced Departed Members
Music CDs Comeback
Why Music CDs Have No Chance Of Making A Comeback
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
Billy Idol Rebel Yell 40th Anniversary Vinyl Review
Taylor Swift Albums And Discography
Complete List Of Taylor Swift Albums And Discography
Carly Simon Hotcakes Album Review
Carly Simon’s HOTCAKES Album Still Sizzles After 50 Years
11 Tracks Of Whack Album Review
Walter Becker – 11 Tracks of Whack Album Review