Scotty Moore, Original Guitarist for Elvis Presley, Dead at 84
Scotty Moore, an iconic guitarist who rose to prominence while playing with Elvis Presley, has died. He was 84.
Memphis, Tenn.'s Commercial Appeal reports that Moore passed away on Tuesday (June 28) at his home in Nashville. He had been in poor health recently.
Born on Dec. 27, 1931, Winfield Scott Moore III, grew up on a farm located between Gasden and Humboldt, Tenn.; he was the youngest of four boys. Moore began playing guitar when he was eight years old.
In 1948, Moore joined the Navy and served in Korea and China before being discharged in 1952. He moved to Memphis and joined Doug Poindexter & the Starlite Wranglers, a group that also featured Presley's future bassist, Bill Black. The released one single, in 1954 -- and then, a few months later, Moore and Black met their future bandleader.
"Elvis Presley wouldn't have been Elvis Presley without Scotty Moore. I think my dad would agree with that," says Jerry Phillips, son of Sun Records' Sam Phillips. "You gotta remember, there were only three instruments on those things. Scotty, Bill and Elvis. Scotty really just made everything work."
Moore and Black became members of Presley's original band, the Blue Moon Boys, and in the beginning of Presley's career, Moore was also his manager. In 1957, both Moore and Black quit Presley's band due to disagreements with his management over money; by the time they re-joined, Presley had been drafted, though they would reunite for a number of recording sessions in the 1960s. Moore's final performance with Presley was the icon's televised 1968 "comeback special."
In addition to his work with Presley, Moore did quite a bit of engineering and production work: for Sam Phillips, at Memphis' Fernwood Records and at his own studio, Music City Recorders, in Nashville. Projects included records for Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis and more. In 1964, Moore released a solo album, The Guitar That Changed the World, produced by Billy Sherrill.
For a number of years, following his '68 appearance with Presley, Moore stopped playing guitar; thanks to Carl Perkins, he picked his instrument back up in 1992. In the late '90s, Moore published an autobiography, That's Alright Elvis. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000; the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2006; and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2015.
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