Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Obituary: Scotty Moore

Famed guitarist Scotty Moore, who played "the guitar that changed the world" for Elvis Presley, has died. He died last night at the age of 84.

He, along with bassist Bill Black, were thrown together with Elvis by Sun Records founder Sam Phillips in 1954 to come up with a unique sound that mixed country music, gospel, and rhythm and blues.

Moore had a distinctive style. His guitar sound could best be described as "smoky." He played for Elvis Presley throughout his early years and then later on for the celebrated Singer Presents Elvis 1968 special.

It is difficult to overstate his importance. He wasn't a flashy guitarist and perhaps not the greatest technically, but he was arguably the most important in the establishment of rock music.

Here is more about Moore:

Winfield Scott Moore III was born Dec. 27, 1931, on a farm situated halfway between Gadsden and Humboldt, Tennessee. The youngest of four boys, Moore began playing guitar at the age of 8.

In 1948, while under age at 16, he enlisted in the Navy, serving in Korea and China. He was discharged in 1952 and eventually moved to Memphis. His professional career began when he joined Doug Poindexter & the Starlite Wranglers, a country-western sextet that also included future Elvis bassist Bill Black. They made one single in 1954 for Sam Phillips Sun Records, "My Kind of Carryin' On." But bigger things awaited Moore and Black.

A few months after the Starlight Wranglers record came out, Moore met Presley, inviting him to his apartment for an informal audition with Black. The following evening the trio cut loose at Sun during a rehearsal break. Phillips captured them playing what many would come to consider the big bang of rock and roll, "That's All Right."

"It was a world-changing event," said Jerry Phillips, "but without Scotty it wouldn't have been world-changing."

Here is Moore doing an interview about his guitar playing:

Here is another clip where he talked about his career:

With Carl Perkins, but you probably have to use ear buds or headphones to hear the sound in all its glory:

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