Johnny Suede is a young man with an attitude and an immense pompadour, who wants to be a rock n' roll star like his idol Ricky Nelson. He has all the stylistic accouterments, except a pair of black suede shoes. And one night, after leaving a nightclub, like manna from heaven, a pair of black suede shoes falls at his feet. Soon afterwards, the recently completed Johnny meets Darlette, a sultry bohemian whom he beds down for the night. In spite of Darlette's abusive boyfriend with a gun, Johnny begins to see Darlette everyday. But when Johnny is forced to pawn his guitar for rent money, Darlette mysteriously leaves him. Johnny's pal Deke fronts him the money to get his guitar out of hock, and the two form a band. Depressed about Darlette's desertion, he wanders aimlessly, and he meets Yvonne, a woman much wiser than Johnny who teaches him that there are things in life much more important than a pair of black suede shoes.