According to Depeche Mode songwriter Martin Gore, this one is about Priscilla Presley. Really?
Was Cash friends with Priscilla’s dad? Maybe, but legend has it he was crucial to the writing of one of the Pelvis’ biggest hits. According to Cash: “I told Carl [Perkins] about C. V. White and the blue suede shoes. C. V. White was a Black airman from Virginia I’d known in Landsberg — he told us the initials stood for ‘Champagne Velvet,’ but none of us ever knew the truth — and one night he said this one thing that really struck me.
“When we got a three-day pass we’d get out our best uniforms, polish our brass, and spit-shine our shoes. C.V. would come by and say, ‘How do I look, man?’ ‘Like a million dollars,’ I’d tell him, and it was true.”
“One night he laid the line on me at that point. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘just don’t step on my blue suede shoes!’ ‘They’re not blue suede, C.V. They’re air force black, like everyone else’s.’ ‘No, man. Tonight they’re blue suede. Don’t step on’ em’”.
If it weren’t for that conversation with Cash, Perkins wouldn’t have written the definitive song of his career, and Elvis would also be without one of his most worshipped tracks.