“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Walnut Ridge in Lawrence County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)

Carl Perkins

— Rock 'n Roll Highway 67 —

Carl Perkins Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
1. Carl Perkins Marker
Inscription.  Carl Perkins delivered what many consider the first big hit of rock 'n' roll music. His "Blue Suede Shoes" in 1956 shot to number one across a broad range of music charts and became the first million- selling single for Sun Records.

Perkins performed frequently along Rock 'n' Roll Highway 67, including Fireman's Hall in Walnut Ridge and the night clubs in Jackson County, and he was often 'backed up by his brothers, Jay and Clayton.

Growing up in western Tennessee, Perkins claimed two notable musical influences: the country music of the Grand Ole Opry and the rural blues of a black sharecropper who lived near Perkins' family. The two genres conspired to form Perkins' style of music, and rockabilly music in general.

He sustained life-threatening injuries in a 1956 car wreck, which caused him to be sidelined just as his musical career seemed to be taking off. The wreck is often blamed for keeping Perkins' career from soaring like that of his fellow Sun artist, Elvis Presley.

Although Perkins' popularity was waning in the US by the early 1960s, he found a passionate following in Europe. It was while

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performing in Britain in 1964 that he met and befriended four young men who were big fans of his music. The four comprised their own up-and-coming band, known as The Beatles.

The friendship flourished for many years to come. Aside from their own compositions, The Beatles ended up recording more songs by Carl Perkins than any other writer.

Ironically, The Beatles, also visited Walnut Ridge in 1964, when they had occasion to travel the same road as Perkins, Presley and other rockabilly, artists who had influenced their music. The road is now known Rock 'n' Roll Highway 67.


Carl Perkins & The Beatles
Not many musicians can claim The Beatles as bona fide members of their fan club, but Carl Perkins could. All four of The Beatles signed their name to the register of his fan club, and they became close personal friends to the rockabilly legend for the rest of his life. They also recorded more songs written by Carl than any other composer, aside from their own works. Carl (left) is pictured here with George Harrison (center) on one of their many visits. To the right of Harrison is Carl's son Greg and far right is his son and drummer, Stan Perkins.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainment. A significant historical year for this entry is 1956.
Carl Perkins Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
2. Carl Perkins Marker
36° 4.026′ N, 90° 57.446′ W. Marker is in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, in Lawrence County. Marker can be reached from SW Front Street south of West Elm Street, on the right. Located at Guitar Walk near the Walnut Ridge Train Station. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 109 SW Front St, Walnut Ridge AR 72476, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jerry Lee Lewis (here, next to this marker); Johnny Cash (here, next to this marker); Billy Lee Riley (here, next to this marker); Roy Orbison (a few steps from this marker); Wanda Jackson (a few steps from this marker); Conway Twitty (a few steps from this marker); Sonny Burgess (a few steps from this marker); When The Beatles Came to Town (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Walnut Ridge.
Guitar Walk in Walnut Ridge. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
3. Guitar Walk in Walnut Ridge.
The markers are arrayed around an epiphone casino shaped guitar.
Guitar Walk at Cavenaugh Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 3, 2021
4. Guitar Walk at Cavenaugh Park
The Guitar Walk is a 115 foot long concrete guitar, complete with frets, and strings. Along the edges are interpretive markers that pay tribute to the early legends that gave birth to Rock n’ Roll, at venues along Rock n’ Roll Highway 67 that runs through the area. The free walk includes audio narration by none other than legendary Sun Studio recording artist, Sonny Burgess.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 7, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 216 times since then and 75 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 7, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Dec. 3, 2023