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Carl Lee Perkins (April 9, 1932 – January 19, 1998) was an American pioneer of rockabilly music, a mix of rhythm and blues and country music that evolved at Sun Records in Memphis in the early 1950s.
Born in Tiptonville, Tennessee, as a poor tenant farmer, Perkins grew up surrounded by southern gospel music sung by Black cotton field workers. By age seven, he was playing a guitar his father made from a cigar box, broomstick and baling wire. At age thirteen, he won a talent contest with a song he wrote called "Movie Magg". Ten years later, the same song convinced Sam Phillips to sign Perkins to his Sun Records label.
In late 1955, a desperately poor and struggling Perkins wrote the song "Blue Suede Shoes" on an old potato sack. Produced by Sam Phillips, the record was a massive chart success. In the United States, it went to #1 on Billboard magazine's country music charts (the only #1 hit he would have), to #4 on the pop music charts, and to #3 on the rhythm & blues charts. In the United Kingdom, it became a Top 10 hit. It was the first record by a Sun label artist to sell a million copies. However, at the peak of the song'...