She Knows How To Rock Me (1958)

Carl Perkins

Written by William Lee Perryman
What are DNA Source Songs™? Suggest a source song for inclusion via Rock Populi.

She Sure Knows Perkins jamboreeCarl Perkins is an immortal.

Paul McCartney once pointedly said, “If there were no Carl Perkins, there would be no Beatles.” When Elvis was the swivel-hipped King of Rock-N-Roll, Perkins was the King of Everything Else, especially the sub-genre known as “Rock-A-Billy.” Perkins knew how to rock, raw, pure and simple.

His list of credentials, playing partners and accomplishments reads like a roll call of American music from the 1950s forward. For instance he wrote “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Honey Don’t, “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby,” and the revamp of Blind Lemon’s “Matchbox Blues,” called simply “Matchbox.”

“She Knows How To Rock Me”

“She Knows How To Rock Me” falls into the “rare but essential” bin of Rock. Anyone interested in the matches that touched off the cultural revolution that became Rock-N-Roll needs to start here. If you’re looking to revitalize Rock-N-Roll, absorb its spark-throwing roots and its unrestrained wildness, lock yourself in a room and listen to the song until daybreak.

A few live recordings of “She Knows How To Rock Me” exist. The one presented here in our Video Library is among the best.

Written by She sure knows Perryman William Lee “Willie” Perryman (left) (aka Piano Red, aka Dr. Feelgood) it is a variation of a template song that was played, recorded and issued in many guises, “Rockin’ With Red” and “She Sure Can Rock Me,” among them.

The high-speed, electrifying music, particularly the maniacal Perkins lead guitar is peppered with nonchalant lyrics, seemingly throwaway lines about how great some girl “rocks” the singer, a code at that point for fucking their brains out. It took some years before censors had even a remote inkling as to the sexual subversiveness of Rock-N-Roll.


Going downtown to get a rockin’ chair
Then my baby gonna rock from here
She knows how to rock me, yeah rock me
If you ever been rockin’, you know just what I mean

Now my gal seem kinda funny
She don’t rock me but she takin’ my money
She knows how to rock me, yeah rock me
If you ever been rockin’, you know just what I mean

Well, she rocks me in and she rocks me out
She-yeah knows what it’s all about
She knows how to rock me, yeah rock me
If you ever been rockin’, you know just what I mean

She sure knows ballad john yokoPerkins knocks out two solos that have influenced every single guitarist who has played since his rise. Listen to the playing on The Beatles’s “Ballad Of John And Yoko.” (See video.) George Harrison’s style would have been demonstrably different, as would Eric Clapton’s, a player who truly became peerless only when he hybridized his approach, joining Blues and Rock-A-Billy. So entwined with the Perkins way was George Harrison that in his early days he billed himself as “Carl Harrison.”

You can also hear Perkins snaking in and out of John Fogerty’s work both with Creedence Clearwater and on his solo entries. “Bad Moon Rising” is Carl Perkins music. “Looking Out My Back Door” is, too. (Also in video section.) And you can hear old Carl in Jimi Hendrix songs like “Hey Joe” and it’s there, slowed down, in “Crying Blue Rain.”

She sure knows carl protraitThe listener is reminded that early Rock was only about a few themes. Most give us a giant dollop of unrestrained joy, like whipped cream on an electric banana split. In “She Knows How To Rock Me,” the singer Perkins and his girl are having one hell of a time, one of the hallmarks of great music from the era. Amazing stuff. Chuck Berry’s famous line might have been applied to Perkins’s natural playing ability:

He could play a guitar
just like ringin’ a bell.




  • In a 1996 interview Carl Perkins looked back at the sunniest of the Sun label years: ”All these boys — Elvis, Jerry Lee, Roy Orbison — they all lost their wives, their families. ‘People say: ‘What happened to you, Carl? All of them went on to superstardom. Where’d you go?’ I say, ‘I went home.’ And that’s a good place to be.”

Also by Carl Perkins on

  • MatchboxOne of the Founding Fathers takes you up a the Himalayan peaks of Rock-N-Roll. Don't look down.