Pink Floyd member is a major fan of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Suede Shoes.” He has nothing to say about the musician who wrote and first performed the song. It’s always fascinating to hear classic rock stars praise early rock ‘n’ rollers who sound nothing like them. Pink Floyd, for example, is a major fan of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Suede Shoes.” His enthusiasm for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is admirable, but he gave the man far too much credit. According to one Pink Floyd member, Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ revolutionized the sound of rock. Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason told NME in 2020 that Elvis’ “Blue Suede Shoes” was the first song he loved. He referred to Elvis’ song as “the beginning of rock ‘n’ roll.” Mason propagated the notion that Elvis originated rock ‘n’ roll, when in fact it was pioneered by Robert Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and other Black performers who, tragically, never achieved mainstream success. “Elvis was slightly moving things on from Bill Haley,” Mason remarked. “Bill Haley was the first record I ever bought, and it was almost certainly a ’78 [inch LP record], not a ’45, which shows my age!” For perspective, Haley was a member of the early rock band Bill Haley & His Comets. That band is most known for their hits “Rock Around the Clock” and “See You Later, Alligator.”
‘Blue Suede Shoes’ appeared on Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason’s first album. Mason stated that the record from which Elvis’ “Blue Suede Shoes” is taken was the first album he purchased. “It had ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and ‘Hound Dog,’ and ‘Ring My Telephone,’ and it was absolutely stuffed with his early hits,” he added. Elvis Presley does not contain “Hound Dog” or “Ring My Telephone.” It’s not obvious what song he was trying to discuss when he suggested “Ring My Telephone.” Mason also talked about Elvis’ era. “It was still a period when you bought records from an electrical shop, somewhere at the back of the shop after you’d gone past all the washing machines and fridges, there’d be a booth with records,” he said. “I’d have bought it there instead of a record store with those strange hairdryer booths.”
The original songwriter and vocalist of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ has almost been forgotten. Mason never mentions that “Blue Suede Shoes” was written by Carl Perkins, a rockabilly performer. Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes” was his only hit, according to the book Sun Records: An Oral History. Notable covers of his songs include “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby,” “Honey Don’t,” and “Matchbox.” Perkins may be remembered more for setting the path for other painters than for his own work. Elvis’ musical influences, such as Little Richard, Big Mama Thornton, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, and Fats Domino, were highlighted in Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis. Despite the fact that “Blue Suede Shoes” appears on the soundtrack, Perkins is never addressed in the film. It’s great that Elvis’ “Blue Suede Shoes” touched Mason and so many others, but that shouldn’t overshadow Perkins’ and other rock pioneers’ achievements.