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Remembering jazz saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. (born in Buffalo, NY) - December 12, 1943 - December 17, 1999.
On this day in music history: December 17, 1955 - Musician Carl Perkins will write the rockabilly classic "Blue Suede Shoes." The song is inspired by a story told to Perkins by his friend and Sun Records labelmate Johnny Cash. Cash tells him about a black airman referring to his military regulation shoes as "blue suede shoes." Not long after that, Perkins is playing a dance and from the bandstand he'll see a couple dancing and he'll hear the man say "uh-uh, don't step on my suedes!" After the show, he will begin writing the song on his guitar laying down the chord progression when the lyrics start coming to him. With no other paper around, Perkins will begin scrawling the words down on a brown paper potato sack. Two days later, on December 19th, Perkins and his band will record the song at Sun Studios in Memphis. It will be released on January 1, 1956. Initially radio stations begin playing the singles' flipside, "Honey Don't." DJ Bill Randle at WERE in Cleveland will flip the record and begin featuring "Blue Suede Shoes" on his nightly radio show. By the end of January, the record is a hit in the Cleveland area and begins to spread to other cities. Within another month the single is a national hit, simultaneously climbing the pop, country, and rhythm & blues charts. Tragedy will strike on March 22, 1956 for Perkins when, while traveling to New York City to make a television appearance on the Perry Como Show, he and his band are involved in a serious car accident. The singer and his brother sustain serious injuries. Fortunately this incident does not stop the record's momentum. "Blue Suede Shoes" will spend three weeks at #1 on the Country & Western chart, peaking at #3 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart and #2 on the Rhythm & Blues chart, selling over a million copies. Carl Perkins recording of "Blue Suede Shoes" will be inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1986.