Rock pioneer and Elvis’ first guitarist Scotty Moore dies at age of 84

Scotty Moore, the pioneering rock guitarist whose sharp, graceful style helped Elvis Presley shape his revolutionary sound and inspired a generation of musicians that included Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Bruce Springsteen, has died at the age of 84.
Rock pioneer and Elvis’ first guitarist Scotty Moore dies at age of 84

Moore died in his home in Nashville, his biographer and friend James Dickerson said.

The member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was the last survivor of a combo that included Presley, bassist Bill Black, and producer Sam Phillips.

“Elvis loved Scotty dearly and treasured those amazing years together, both in the studio and on the road,” Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla said.

“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.”

Moore was a local session musician when he and Black were thrown together with Presley on July 5, 1954, in the Memphis-based Sun Records studios.

Presley was a self-effacing, but determined teen anxious to make a record. Moore’s bright riffs and fluid solos and Black’s hard-slapping work on a stand-up bass gave Elvis the foundation on which he developed a fresh blend of blues, gospel, and country that came to be called rock ‘n roll.

“One day, we went to have coffee with Sam and his secretary, Marion Keisker, and she was the one who brought up Elvis,” Moore said in a 2014 interview with Guitar Player magazine.

“We didn’t know, but Marion had a crush on Elvis, and she asked Sam if he had ever talked to that boy who had been in there.

“Sam said to Marion, ‘Go back in there and get that boy’s telephone number, and give it to Scotty’. Then, Sam turned to me and said, ‘Why don’t you listen to this boy, and see what you think’.

"Marion came back with a slip of paper, and it said ‘Elvis Presley’. I said, ‘Elvis Presley — what the hell kind of a name is that?’.”

For the now-legendary Sun sessions they covered a wide range of songs, from ‘That’s All Right’ to ‘Mystery Train’.

Presley, Moore, and Black took to the road playing any gig they could find, adding drummer DJ Fontana and trying their best to be heard over thousands of screaming fans.

Presley soon rose from regional act to superstardom, signing up with RCA Records and topping the charts.

But by 1957 Moore had tired of what he called “Elvis economics”. In the memoir That’s Alright, Elvis, published in 1997, Moore noted that he earned just over $8,000 in 1956, while Presley became a millionaire.

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