Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Passings: Scotty Moore, Guitarist For Elvis Presley (1931 - 2016)

by VVN Music

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Scotty Moore, who backed Elvis Presley on many of his biggest hits, died on Tuesday at his home in Nashville at the age of 84.

Matt Ross-Spang of Sun Studios posted the following on Instagram:

Winfield Scott Moore was born on December 27, 1931 near Gadsen, TN where he began playing the guitar at the age of 8.

Early on, Moore was influenced by both jazz and country music and, after a four year stint in the navy, he settled in Memphis and started a group called the Starlite Wranglers which also included bassist Bill Black. Moore and Black eventually started working with Sun Records owner Sam Phillips who paired them up with a young Elvis Presley for his first recording session with the label, backing him on That's All Right (Mama).

Moore was initially both guitarist for Presley and his manager although that would soon be taken over by Colonel Tom Parker. A third man, drummer D.J. Fontana, was soon added to form what would initially be called the Blue Moon Boys. Elvis and the band toured the south until his discovery and signing by RCA Records.

Moore, along with the rest of the band, were with Elvis for all of the TV appearances that made the singer a phenomenon including the Dorsey Brothers, Milton Berle, Steve Allen and the Ed Sullivan Show.

As far as recording, Moore's guitar can be heard on such classics as Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock and nearly every Presley recording up until he began his Hollywood period in the 60's. The band also appeared in four of Elvis' movies.

When Elvis was drafted, Moore began to branch out into other areas of the business including becoming a Vice President of Fernwood Records and producing Thomas Wayne's 1958 hit Tragedy but, as soon as Presley was discharged, Moore returned to his previous position. Both Moore and Fontana appeared on the welcome home special with Frank Sinatra and went on to play on many more of Elvis' early-60's hits like Such a Night, Surrender, Good Luck Charm and (You're the Devil in Disguise).

Once Elvis was firmly ensconced in his Hollywood career, Moore again branched out, recording his own album, The Guitar That Changed the World. He again returned to Presley's side for the '68 Comeback Special.

Moving into the 70's, Moore started doing more engineering including Ringo Starr's album Beaucoup of Blues and working at Monument studios. By the middle of the decade, Scotty bought the building where Monument was housed and opened his own tape-duplicating business.

From the mid-70's to the early-80's, Moore engineered numerous television programs for Opryland Productions and, in 1989, worked as a consultant on ABC's mini-series Elvis; however, it wasn't until 1992, when he once again worked with Carl Perkins, that Scotty actually took once again to the stage. His last performance was the comeback special and now, 24 years later, he went on the road with Perkins, James Burton, D.J. Fontana, Ronnie McDowell and the Jordanaires for a tour of England.

For much of the rest of his life, he made occasional appearances with artists like Lee Rocker, Gary Tallent, Alvin Lee, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck and many others.

Moore was a member of the Guitar Center Rockwalk (1997), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2000), the Musicians Hall of Fame (2007) and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame (2015) along with receiving the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award (2002) and the Memphis Music Heroes Award (2004).

Services for Moore will be on Thursday in Humboldt, TN.