Scotty Moore dead: Pioneering guitarist for Elvis Presley dies aged 84

The guitarist can be heard on hits like 'All Shook Up' and 'Heartbreak Hotel'

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The Independent Online

Scotty Moore - an original guitarist for Elvis Presley and considered by rock ‘n’ roll aficionados as one of the “co-founders” of the style as we know it - died at the age of 84. 

Moore’s biographer and friend, James L Dickerson, confirmed that he passed away in his Nashville, Tennessee, home on Tuesday. 

“As a musician, I consider him one of the co-founders of rock ‘n’ roll because of the guitar licks that he invented,” Mr Dickerson told the Associated Press

Moore was the last surviving member of the original group - including bassist Bill Black and producer Sam Phillips - that put Elvis on the maps and up the charts, combining blues, gospel, and country stylings. 

He met Presley during his days as a session guitarist at Sun Studios in Memphis in 1954. Phillips had asked Moore to audition a young musician his secretary had been talking about. 

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

Out of the ensuing session came Presley’s earliest hit, “That’s All Right”, before he was signed to RCA records. Moore’s guitar lines are particularly resonant in “All Shook Up” and “Heartbreak Hotel”. 

On the guitarist, Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley honoured Moore’s legacy with “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”: 

“Elvis loved Scotty dearly and treasured those amazing years together, both in the studio and on the road,” she said in a statement. “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.” 

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