Birth name: Winfield Scott Moore III
Born: December 27, 1931
Died: June 28, 2016
Place: Gadsden-Tennessee, USA
Genres: Rock and Roll
Occupation: Musician, Instruments Guitar
Nominations: Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance. On October 17, 2015 Scotty was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame
Years active: 1950’s – 2007
TEN YEARS AFTER
Winfield Scott "Scotty" Moore III is an American guitarist and recording engineer. He is best known for his backing of Elvis Presley in the first part of his career, between 1954 and the beginning of Elvis's Hollywood years. He was ranked 44th in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2011. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Scotty Moore was born near Gadsden, Tennessee. He learned to play the guitar from family and friends at eight years of age. Although underage when he enlisted, Moore served in the United States Navy between 1948 and 1952.
Moore's early background was in jazz and country music. A fan of guitarist Chet Atkins, Moore led a group called the "Starlite Wranglers" before Sam Phillips at Sun Records put him together with then teenage Elvis Presley. Phillips believed that Moore's lead guitar and Bill Black's double bass were all that was needed to augment Presley's rhythm guitar and lead vocals on their recordings.
In 1954 Moore and Black accompanied Elvis on what would become the first legendary Presley hit, the Sun Studios session cut of "That's All Right (Mama)", a recording regarded as a seminal event in rock and roll history. Elvis, Black and Moore then formed the Blue Moon Boys.
For a time, Moore served as Elvis's personal manager. They were later joined by drummer D.J. Fontana. Beginning in July 1954, the Blue Moon Boys toured and recorded throughout the American South and, as Presley's popularity rose, they toured the United States and made appearances in various Presley television shows and motion pictures. The Blue Moon Boys, including Moore, appear in the few 1955 home movie clips that survive of Elvis before he achieved national recognition.
Moore, Black, and Fontana also appear on the Dorsey Brothers, Milton Berle, Steve Allen, and Ed Sullivan live TV shows of January 1956 to January 1957. Moore and Fontana also reunited on the 1960 Timex TV special with Frank Sinatra welcoming Elvis's return from the Army.
Moore played on many of Presley's most famous recordings, including "That's All Right", "Good Rockin' Tonight", "Milk Cow Blues Boogie", "Baby Let's Play House", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Mystery Train", "Blue Suede Shoes", "Hound Dog", "Too Much", "Jailhouse Rock" and "Hard Headed Woman". Moore and the Blue Moon Boys also perform (and have additional small walk-on and speaking roles) with Elvis in three of his movies (Loving You, Jailhouse Rock, King Creole and G.I. Blues ) filmed in 1957, 1958 and 1960.
Early in 1958, when Elvis was drafted, Scotty began working at Fernwood Records and produced a hit record called "Tragedy" for Thomas Wayne Perkins—brother of Johnny Cash guitarist Luther Perkins.
In 1960, Moore commenced recording sessions with Elvis at RCA, and also served as production manager at Sam Phillips Recording Service, which involved supervising all aspects of studio operation. Moore played on such Presley songs as "Fame And Fortune", "Such A Night", "Frankfort Special", "Surrender", "I Feel So Bad", "Rock-A-Hula Baby", "Kiss Me Quick", "Good Luck Charm", "She's Not You", "(You're The) Devil In Disguise" and "Bossa Nova Baby."
In 1964, Moore released a solo album on Epic Records called The Guitar That Changed the World, played using his Gibson Super 400. For this effort he was fired by Sam Phillips. Moore reunited with Fontana and Presley for the NBC television special known as the '68 Comeback Special, again with his Gibson Super 400 which was also played by Presley.
STYLE AND INFLUENCE
Moore's playing on his Gibson with his unique finger-picking style using a pick, as on the Sun and early RCA recordings, was unique and exciting, representing a move of the Chet Atkins style into a more rockabilly mode. Moore's best performances are often considered precedent-setting.
Moore is given credit as the pioneer rock 'n' roll lead guitarist. Many popular guitarists cite Moore as the performer that brought the lead guitarist to a dominant role in a rock 'n' roll band. Although some lead guitarists/vocalists, such as Chuck Berry and blues legend BB King, had gained popularity by the 1950s, Presley rarely played his own lead while performing, instead providing rhythm guitar and leaving the lead duties to Moore. As a guitarist, Moore was a noticeable presence in Presley's performances, despite his introverted demeanor.
He became an inspiration to many subsequent popular guitarists, including Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. While Moore was working on his memoir with co-author James L. Dickerson, Richards told Dickerson, "Everyone else wanted to be Elvis -I wanted to be Scotty." Richards has stated many times (Rolling Stone magazine, Life autobiography) that he could never figure out how to play the "stop time" break and figure that Moore plays on "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" (Sun), and that he hopes it will remain a mystery.
While with Presley, Moore initially played a Gibson ES-295 (nicknamed "The Guitar that Changed the World") before switching to a Gibson L5 and subsequently a Gibson Super 400.
One of the key pieces of equipment in Moore's sound on many of the recordings with Elvis, besides his guitars, was the use of the Ray Butts EchoSonic (first used by Chet Atkins), a guitar amplifier with a tape echo built in, which allowed him to take his trademark slapback echo on the road.
Scotty Moore co-wrote the songs "My Kind of Carrying On" and "Now She Cares No More" which were released as Sun 202 on Sun Records in 1954 when he was a member of the group Doug Poindexter and the Starlite Wranglers with Bill Black as the bassist.
He co-wrote the instrumental "Have Guitar Will Travel" in 1958 with Bill Black, which was released as a 45 single, 107, on the Fernwood Records label.
Scotty Moore, influential guitarist for Elvis Presley, dies at 84
New York Times Published 2:55 pm, Thursday, June 30, 2016.
Scotty Moore, a guitarist whose terse, bluesy licks on Elvis Presley’s early hits virtually created the rockabilly guitar style and established the guitar as a lead instrument in rock ’n’ roll, died on Tuesday at his home outside Nashville. He was 84.
His death was confirmed by James L. Dickerson, who was Mr. Moore’s biographer and friend.
In 1954, Mr. Moore was performing with a country group, Doug Poindexter and the Starlite Wranglers, and recording at Sun Records in Memphis when Sam Phillips, the label’s owner, asked him to audition a young singer that his secretary kept mentioning.
On July 4, Presley showed up at Mr. Moore’s house. Bill Black, the bass player for the Starlite Wranglers, arrived soon after, and the three men began running through a random selection of songs. Mr. Moore was not overly impressed but told Phillips that the young fellow had a nice voice and might be worth a try.
The next evening, at Sun Studio, the trio recorded an up-tempo version of “That’s All Right,” a blues song by Arthur Crudup, known as Big Boy, that Sun released with a rockabilly version of “Blue Moon of Kentucky” on the flip side.
The record caught fire locally, and Presley was on his way, electrifying audiences with a new sound defined in large part by Mr. Moore, whose slashing chords, inserted like musical punctuation, and hard-driving solos inspired future rock guitarists around the world, including Keith Richards, George Harrison, Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler and Chris Isaak.
“All I wanted to do in the world was to be able to play and sound like that,” Richards told James L. Dickerson, who helped Mr. Moore write the 1997 memoir “That’s Alright, Elvis.” He added: “Everyone else wanted to be Elvis. I wanted to be Scotty.”
Mr. Moore and Black, joined by the drummer D.J. Fontana in 1955, recorded more than 300 songs with Presley for Sun and RCA, including “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog.” Billed as the Blue Moon Boys, they backed him on tour, and they appeared in several of his films.
“Moore’s concise, aggressive runs mixed country picking and blues phrasing into a new instrumental language,” Rolling Stone wrote in 2011, ranking Mr. Moore as No. 29 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. “The playing was so forceful that it’s easy to forget there was no drummer. If Moore had done nothing but the 18 Sun recordings — including ‘Mystery Train’ and ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’ — his place in history would be assured. But he continued to play with Elvis, contributing the scorching solos to ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and ‘Hound Dog.’”
Winfield Scott Moore III was born on Dec. 27, 1931, on a farm near Gadsden, Tenn. He started playing the guitar at 8, and over the years developed a style that incorporated country, blues and jazz. Moore was particularly fond of the guitarists Tal Farlow and George Barnes.
“All I can tell you is I just stole from every guitar player I heard over the years,” Mr. Moore told the makers of the television documentary “Elvis Presley” in 2001. “Put it in my databank. And when I played, that’s just what come out.”
At 16, he enlisted in the Navy, lying about his age, and served in the Pacific. After leaving the service, he went to work as a hatter at his brother’s dry-cleaning business and organized the Starlite Wranglers, who recorded one of his songs at Sun, “My Kind of Carryin’ On,” when he and Presley crossed paths.
Presley developed a strong musical rapport with his three sidemen and was personally close to Mr. Moore, who played the role of a protective older brother. “I tried to play around the singer,” Mr. Moore told Dickerson. “If Elvis was singing a song a certain way, there was no point in me trying to top him on what he just did. The idea was to play something that went the other way — a counterpoint.”
When Presley went into the Army in 1958, Mr. Moore became a partner in Fernwood Records, which released a Top 10 hit in 1959, the teen tearjerker “Tragedy,” by Thomas Wayne.
For a time, he supervised operations at Sam Phillips’ studios in Memphis and Nashville, but he was fired by Phillips in 1964 after he recorded “The Guitar That Changed the World,” an album on the Epic label made up of instrumental versions of Presley hits. He later made a career as a freelance studio engineer, working with Dolly Parton, Tracy Nelson, Ringo Starr and other artists.
Like his fellow sidemen, Mr. Moore, who served as Presley’s manager until 1955, never enjoyed the financial rewards of the Presley phenomenon. The Blue Moon Boys were paid a weekly salary of $200 when they toured, and $100 a week when they were idle.
All told, Mr. Moore earned a little over $30,000 from his partnership with Presley, which came to an end after the 1968 special on NBC that reintroduced Presley to a new generation of listeners and revived his career.
Life after Elvis
Mr. Moore, left out of the equation when Presley embarked on the Las Vegas phase of his career, put away his guitar and barely touched it for nearly 25 years. In the early 1990s, after a tape-recording business he established in 1976 went bankrupt, he began recording and touring again, initially with Carl Perkins, and later with performers who had been influenced by his playing.
Mr. Moore, who lived in Nashville, was married and divorced three times. He is survived by a son, Donald; four daughters, Linda, Andrea, Vikki Hein and Tasha; and several grandchildren. “Scotty and Elvis: Aboard the Mystery Train,” a revised and updated version of his 1997 memoir, was published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2013.
Throughout his life, Mr. Moore gave a modest account of the momentous Sun sessions with Presley. “We didn’t know we were trying to create something new,” he told the New York Times in 1997. “We were trying to do something with a little different angle from what was on the market.”