Elvis Presley’s First Guitarist Scotty Moore Dead at 84

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The legendary rock guitarist Scotty Moore, best known for shaping Elvis Presley’s revolutionary rock and roll sound, died Tuesday. He was 84.

Moore died at his home in Nashville. Biographer and friend James L. Dickerson told ABC News, “As a musician, I consider him one of the co-founders of rock ‘n’ roll because of the guitar licks that he invented.”

Producer Sam Phillips brought Moore into the Memphis-based Sun Records studios in the 1954 to help the young Presley, along with bassist Bill Black and drummer D.J. Fontana. Together, they created songs such as “That’s All Right,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and ”All Shook Up” and toured around the country spreading the new rock and roll sound.

Scotty-Moore-Elvis-Presley
CREDIT: Getty Images

Moore eventually left Presley’s band in the late 1950s because of economic reasons, and worked on various other projects, including a solo album in 1964 called The Guitar That Changed the World! He did reunite with Elvis in 1968 for Presley’s “comeback” TV special that helped return him to the top of the charts, but they parted for good after that. Presley died in 1977.

Moore also inspired many great guitarists today, including Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Bruce Springsteen. Richards once said, “Everyone else wanted to be Elvis. I wanted to be Scotty.”

Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley said in a statement Tuesday night, “Elvis loved Scotty dearly and treasured those amazing years together, both in the studio and on the road. 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.”