Blue Suede Shoes

At the end of January 1956, Elvis Presley recorded “Blue Suede Shoes” at RCA’s New York studios.
Blue Suede Shoes is a rock-and-roll song written and first recorded by Carl Perkins in 1955 and covered by Presley the following year.

As with many of the greatest songs the inspiration for the song is controversial.
Johnny Cash claimed that, while touring with Presley and Perkins, he told a story from his days serving in the Air Force in Germany about a fellow airman, C. V. White. He used to wear his finest military clothing when he went out of the base and was particularly proud of his footwear.
Although the regulatory colour was black, White insisted they were blue suede and ordered that no one step on them.( Suede is a very difficult material to clean and maintain, it is easily scratched, and can also be ruined by water.)

According to Cash, that kind of mania could be the subject of a song, and he encouraged Perkins to write one. However, at the time, he didn’t take the hint and replied “I don’t know anything about shoes. How can I write a song about shoes?”

But there is also another story, told by Perkins himself. He said that one day, while he was performing, he noticed a young couple dancing near the stage and heard the boy scold his partner, “Don’t step on my suedes!”
Perkins was amused to see that the young man cared more about his shoes than the pretty girl he was with, and drew inspiration for the song.
The song begins with the nursery rhyme “One for the Money” that children started to use in the mid-1800s to count before starting a race or another activity.
The precise meaning of the text is disputed, but it may have its roots in horse racing where the winner receives the prize money, and the race itself is an entertaining spectacle.

The full nursery rhyme reads as:

One for the money,
two for the show,
three to get ready
and four to go

The last line was changed into ‘go, cat, go!’

Elvis Presley did not own blue suede shoes prior to this song. Once it became a hit, he ordered a custom-made pair in rich navy blue, which in 2013 sold at auction for $80,000.

Well, it’s one for the money two for the show
Three to get ready now go, cat, go

But don’t you step on my blue suede shoes
Well you can do anything but
Lay off of my blue suede shoes

Well, you can knock me down, step in my face
Slander my name all over the place
Do anything that you want to do
But uh-uh honey, lay off of my shoes

Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes
Now let’s go cats (oh walk the dogs)

You can burn my house, steal my car
Drink my liquor from an old fruit-jar
Do anything that you want to do
But uh-uh baby, lay off of my shoes…

Alla fine di gennaio 1956 Elvis Presley registrò “Blue Suede Shoes” negli studi di New York della RCA.

Si tratta di una canzone rock-and-roll scritta e incisa per la prima volta da Carl Perkins nel 1955 e interpretata da Presley l’anno successivo.

Come per molte delle canzoni più famose, la sua ispirazione è controversa.
Johnny Cash affermò che, durante un tour con Presley e Perkins, raccontò una storia su quando prestava servizio nell’Air Force in Germania. Disse che un suo collega aviatore, C.V. White, di solito indossava il suo miglior abbigliamento militare quando usciva dalla base ed era particolarmente orgoglioso delle sue calzature. Nonostante il colore regolamentare fosse il nero, White insisteva che fossero di camoscio blu e ordinava che nessuno le calpestasse. (Infatti la pelle scamosciata è un materiale molto difficile da pulire e mantenere; si graffia facilmente, e può essere rovinato anche dall’acqua.)

Secondo Cash quella specie di fissazione poteva essere l’argomento di una canzone e incoraggiò Perkins a scriverne una. Tuttavia, al tempo, non colse il suggerimento e rispose: “Non so nulla di scarpe. Come posso scrivere una canzone sulle scarpe?”

Ma c’è anche un’altra storia, raccontata dallo stesso Perkins. Disse che un giorno, mentre si stava esibendo, aveva notato una giovane coppia che ballava vicino al palco e aveva sentito il ragazzo rimproverare la suo partner: “Ehi, non calpestare le mie scarpe di camoscio!”
Perkins fu divertito nel vedere che il giovane si preoccupava più delle sue scarpe che della bella ragazza con cui stava, e ne trasse ispirazione per la canzone.

La canzone inizia con una filastrocca: “One for the Money”, usata dai bambini fin da metà 1800 per fare la conta prima di iniziare una gara o un’altra attività.
Il significato preciso del testo è controverso, ma potrebbe avere le sue radici nelle corse di cavalli in cui il vincitore riceve il premio in denaro e la corsa stessa è uno spettacolo divertente.

La filastrocca completa dice:

Uno per i soldi,
due per lo spettacolo,
tre per prepararsi
e quattro per partire!

L’ultima riga fu cambiata in “vai, gatto, vai”.

Elvis Presley non possedeva scarpe di camoscio blu prima di questa canzone. Una volta diventata di successo, ne ordinò un paio su misura, in un intenso blu navy, che nel 2013 fu venduto all’asta per ben $80.000.

Scarpe di camoscio blu

Bene, uno è per i soldi, due per lo spettacolo
tre per prepararsi, quindi vai gatto vai

Ma non calpestare le mie scarpe di camoscio blu
Puoi fare qualsiasi cosa ma
sta’ alla larga dalle mie scarpe di camoscio blu

Puoi buttarmi a terra, calpestarmi il viso
diffamarmi in ogni luogo
e fare tutto quello che vuoi fare
ma dolcezza sta’ lontana dalle mie scarpe

Non calpestare le mie scarpe di camoscio blu
Puoi fare qualsiasi cosa ma sta’ lontana dalle mie scarpe di camoscio blu
Andiamo gatti! (porta a spasso i cani)

Puoi bruciarmi la casa, rubarmi la macchina,
puoi bere il mio liquore
da un vecchio barattolo da frutta…

Fa’ qualsiasi cosa che tu voglia fare
ma dolcezza, sta’ lontana da quelle scarpe…

65 thoughts on “Blue Suede Shoes

  1. Oh, I love hearing “the stories behind the stories” and you do this so well here in your blog Luisa! Thank you for sharing your art, heart and Elvis Presley’s amazing “blue suede shoes”. Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elvis Presley:

    In 1973, his health was in major and serious decline. Twice during the year, he overdosed on barbiturates, spending three days in a coma in his hotel suite after the first incident. Towards the end of 1973, he was hospitalized, semi-comatose from the effects of a pethidine addiction.

    Presley’s condition declined precipitously in September. Keyboardist Tony Brown remembered Presley’s arrival at a University of Maryland concert: “He fell out of the limousine, to his knees.”

    Guitarist John Wilkinson recalled, “He was all gut. He was slurring. … It was obvious he was drugged. It was obvious there was something terribly wrong with his body. It was so bad the words to the songs were barely intelligible. … He could barely get through the introductions.”

    Drugs and rock and roll, with a final overdose – such is the career and downfall of many artists in the United States of America.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Please let me increase the value of your post some more, Luisa.

    Here is a list of gifted people with extraordinary talents who died of alcohol and drug addiction in the Ungodly States of North America, a paradise for alcohol and drugs, in the holy land of overdoses and other exaggerations of the worst kind. This country is a huge moloch eating its own children.

    Singer Hank Williams, 1953, alcohol
    US Senator Joseph McCarthy, 1957, alcohol
    Singer Billie Holiday, 1959, alcohol
    Actress Marilyn Monroe, 1962, barbiturates
    Singer Dinah Washington, 1963, amobarbital+secobarbital
    Actress Judy Garland, 1969, secobarbital
    Musician Brian Jones (Rolling Stones), 1969, alcohol
    Film Director Michael Reeves, 1969, alcohol+barbiturates
    Singer Jimi Hendrix, 1970, barbiturates
    Singer Janis Joplin, 1970, heroin
    Painter Mark Rothko, 1970, barbiturates
    Actress Pier Angeli, 1971, barbiturates
    Photographer Diane Arbus, 1971, barbiturates
    Singer Jim Morrison (The Doors), 1971, heroin
    Actor George Sanders, 1972, pentobarbital
    Martial Artist Bruce Lee, 1973, meprobramate
    Singer Elvis Presley, 1977, barbiturates+cocaine
    Actress Jean Seberg, 1979, alcohol+barbiturates
    Actor William Holden, 1981, alcohol
    Actor John Belushi, 1982, cocaine+heroin
    Actor Richard Burton, 1984, alcohol
    Writer Truman Capote, 1984, alcohol
    David Kennedy (fourth son of Robert Kennedy), 1984, cocaine+thioridazine
    Musician Chet Baker, 1988, cocaine+heroin
    Singer Kurt Cobain, 1994, diazepam+heroin
    Actress Margaux Hemingway, 1996, phenobarbital
    Model Anna Nicole Smith, 2007, choral hydrate+methadone
    Musician Ike Turner, 2007, cocaine
    Singer Michael Jackson, 2009, propofol
    Singer Whitney Houston, 2012, cocaine
    Actress Joan Rivers, 2014, propofol
    Musician Prince, 2016, fentanyl

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, Luisa, it is a realistic list.

    Maybe there are even a lot more people dying of alcohol and drugs in the Ungodly States of North America than are listed in this terrible list. These are just the famous ones. What about the ordinary people who die such a death?

    There is something unhealthy, downright satanic about that region over there …. It gives me the creeps even to think about it.

    Liked by 2 people

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