Elvis Presley’s very first guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Scotty Moore, died on June 28 at his home in Nashville, Tenn. He was 84.
On Tuesday evening, Priscilla Presley released a statement about Moore, saying, “Elvis loved Scotty dearly and treasured those amazing years together, both in the studio and on the road.” She continued, “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.”
Moore was born Winfield Scott Moore III on Dec. 27, 1931, in Tennessee. At 16, he joined the Navy and served overseas in both China and Korea.
He joined up with Presley in July of 1954 at Sun Records studios in Memphis. In an interview with Guitar Player Magazine, Moore recalled when he first learned of Presley through Sam Phillips, the legendary producer who discovered Presley.
“One day, we went to have coffee with Sam and his secretary, Marion Keisker, and she was the one who brought up Elvis. 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?'”
In the late ’50s, Moore stopped working with Presley because of compensation issues. While Presley made millions in 1956, Moore received just $8,000 for the entire year. Moore and bassist Bill Black then left the band, but Moore rejoined Elvis for one short stint in 1968.
He went on to have a successful career as a guitarist, releasing a solo album, The Guitar That Changed the World, and backing several artists on numerous tracks.
Moore is survived by five children — Donald, Linda, Andrea, Vikki Hein, and Tasha.