Carl Perkins, Dead at 65

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DIED: Carl Perkins, the guy who sang "Blue Suede Shoes" before Elvis did, in his Jackson, Tennessee home at the age of 65. Perkins was part of Sun Records' "Million Dollar" stable that also included Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. Perkins came from the same place as the others -- poor, rural and Southern -- but he spent much of his career on the verge, never quite making it into the big time. Case in point: In 1956, with his first big hit "Blue Suede Shoes" No. 2 on the singles charts, Perkins broke his collarbone in a car accident while on his way to perform on "The Perry Como Show." Still, "Shoes" sold more than a million copies even before Elvis released his version. For Perkins, that was the top, as he spent the next four decades in and out of vogue, playing with first his brothers and then his sons, influencing generations of guitarists like George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Tom Petty. He seemed content with that. "People say: 'What happened to you, Carl?'" he said in a 1996 interview. "'Where'd you go?' I say 'I went home.' And that's a wonderful place to be." Wonderful, indeed. And of course, we'll always have that great scene in Mystery Train.