Rock'N'Roll: Carl Perkins dies

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The Independent Online
Carl Perkins, whose song "Blue Suede Shoes" and lightning-quick guitar playing influenced Elvis Presley and the Beatles among others, has died. He was 65.

He died yesterday from complications related to three strokes he suffered in November and December, a spokesman for the family said.

Perkins was famed as one of the proponents of "rockabilly", a cross between rhythm-and-blues and country music that came out of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, in the mid 1950s.

He was one of performers who helped launch rock 'n' roll from its country roots but a near-fatal car accident in 1956 coupled with the rise of Presley prevented him from becoming a bigger solo star.

He wrote and recorded the 1956 hit "Blue Suede Shoes" which Presley himself later recorded. He also wrote "Honey Don't", "Matchbox" and "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" which were later covered by the Beatles. He met the Fab Four during a British concert tour with Chuck Berry and duetted with Paul McCartney on his1982 album Tug of War.

Perkins grew up picking cotton in Lake County, Tennessee, where he listened to the music sung by blacks as they worked in the fields. By the age of seven he was playing a guitar made from a cigar box, a broomstick and baling wire.