Rock and Roll hall of Fame guitarist Scotty Moore died June 28 at his Nashville home at the age of 84.
As a member of the Blue Moon Boys, Moore is best known for his early rock and roll performances as the original guitar player for Elvis Presley including the hit songs “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Mystery Train”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise”, “Good Rockin’ Tonight”, “Baby Let’s Play House”, and “Hound Dog”.
But it all began with “That’s All Right (Mama)” in 1954.
As a part of the band, Moore – along with Bill Black and DJ Fontana – Moore appeared on the Elvis films “Jailhouse Rock”, “Loving You”, “King Creole”, and “G.I. Blues”.
Presley’s widow Priscilla spoke on Scotty Moore saying, “Elvis loved Scotty dearly and treasured those amazing years together, both in the studio and on the road. Scotty was an amazing musician and a legend in his own right. The incredible music that Scotty and Elvis made together will live forever and influence generations to come.”
Like Elvis, Moore was a Tennessee boy, born Winfield Scott Moore III on December 27, 1931 in Gadsden, Tennessee. Moore was eight years old when he first started playing the guitar. After a stint in the US Navy, Moore moved to Memphis where he met up with Bill Black and formed the Starlite Wranglers.
Keith Richards spoke on Moore and his guitar playing saying, “when I heard ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ I knew what I wanted to do in life. It was as plain as day. All I wanted to do in the world was to be able to play and sound like that. Everyone else wanted to be Elvis, I wanted to be Scotty.”
After leaving Elvis, Moore started his own label and later worked for Sam Phillips of Sun Records. In 1964, Moore recorded an album of his own – an instrumental collection titled “The Guitar that Changed the World”. In 1966 Moore again started a new label – Belle Meade Records.
When Elvis came back in 1968, so did Moore and DJ Fontana…at least for the television special. Later, Moore was the man who served as engineer on “Beaucoup of Blues” by Ringo Starr.
Moore also recorded with Carl Perkins, Sonn Burgess, Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, and Levon Helm. He continued to perform and record into his seventies.
In 2000 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame added sidemen – “a category that honored those musicians who have spent their careers out of the spotlight, performing as backup musicians for major artists on recording sessions and in concert.” – to their list of eligible performers. Scotty Moore was among the first of these performers to be inducted.
Along with being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Moore has earned the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award.
Moore was predeceased by his longtime companion Gail Pollock.
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