The world lost a true guitar pioneer yesterday. If you don’t know the name Scotty Moore, trust me, you’ve
heard the Guitar. When you look up “Rock and Roll Guitar Player” – there should be a picture of Scotty. The discussion of when “Rock and Roll” was born can go on for days, with everyone sighting a different time and/or tune. But there’s no mistaking that on that hot Summer night in Memphis on July 5, 1954, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, under the guidance of the great Sam Phillips, hit on something special inside Sun Studios. If they didn’t invent rock and roll that night, they certainly lit the fuse on the rocket that’s still blazing strong over 60 years later.
“He was always a class act and one of the greatest people around.”
The tale goes on that July evening in ’54, Sam Phillips was trying to record then unknowns Elvis, Scotty and Bill, and not having much success. Frustrated and feeling exhausted, everyone took a break. Elvis began clowning around playing an old Arthur Crudup tune called “That’s All Right” from 1946. Phillips
popped his head out of the control booth and told Elvis to keep going. Scotty and Bill joined in and the rest, as they say, is history. The trio put a unique spin on the Blues tune, lifting the tempo and adding enough outside influence that many, at the time, didn’t know what to call this “new sound.” Much of that sound came from Mr. Scotty Moore and his unique playing style.
Combining a love for the blues with country and jazz licks, Moore’s playing with Elvis Presley kick started rock, coming straight out of Sun Studio in the 1950’s with tunes like “That’s Alright Mama” right through the classic RCA tunes- “Jailhouse Rock”, “Don’t Be Cruel” “Hound Dog” and others – Scotty has influenced every guitar player that’s followed since, and when all trails are traced back, player in a rock style owes a huge debt to Scotty. Name the player; Scotty was there before them. I was very fortunate to spend time with Scotty many times over the years. He was always a class act and one of the greatest people around. Thanks for the music Scotty.
R.I.P. Winfield Scott “Scotty” Moore III December 27, 1931 – June 28, 2016.