The musician behind the legend: Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore dies

Scotty Moore, a pioneering rock guitarist who was best known for being a member of Elvis Presley’s original band and inspiring other musicians including Keith Richards and Jimmy Page, has died aged 84. Moore, who played on Presley’s first hit, That’s All Right (Mama), as well as such singles as Heartbreak Hotel and Hound Dog, died in Nashville after several months of poor health. “We lost one of the finest people I have ever met today,” Matt Ross-Sprang, an engineer at the Sun Studio in Memphis said on Instagram.

The guitarist that changed the world … especially mine; I hope you don’t mind if I keep stealing your licks.

Matt Ross-Sprang

Moore, who was born in Gadsen, Tennessee, and began playing the guitar at age eight, was recruited for Presley’s band by legendary producer Sam Phillips in 1954. It was that band, which was dubbed the Blue Moon Boys and included bassist Bill Black and drummer DJ Fontana, that backed Presley over much of the next decade on the songs that earned him the title of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Although Elvis was the star, young musicians were more interested in Moore’s contributions, whether the slow churning solo to Heartbreak Hotel or the flashy lead on Hard-Headed Woman. Moore drifted out of Elvis’s circle by the late 1950s, complaining he had earned a few thousands dollars while the star became a millionaire.

Everyone else wanted to be Elvis. I wanted to be Scotty

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards