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Scotty Moore, a pioneering rock guitarist who was best known for being a member of Elvis Presley's original band and inspiring other musicians including Keith Richards and Jimmy Page, has died aged 84. Moore, who played on Presley's first hit, That's All Right (Mama), as well as such singles as Heartbreak Hotel and Hound Dog, died in Nashville after several months of poor health. "We lost one of the finest people I have ever met today," Matt Ross-Sprang, an engineer at the Sun Studio in Memphis said on Instagram. "The guitarist that changed the world ... especially mine; I hope you don't mind if I keep stealing your licks."
Moore, who was born in Gadsen, Tennessee, and began playing the guitar at age eight, was recruited for Presley's band by legendary producer Sam Phillips in 1954, according to Rolling Stone magazine.It was that band, which was dubbed the Blue Moon Boys and also included bassist Bill Black and drummer DJ Fontana, that backed Presley over much of the next decade on the songs that earned him the title of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. The hip-shaking Presley soon rose from regional act to superstardom, signing up with RCA Records and topping the charts.
Elvis was the star, but young musicians listened closely to Moore's contributions, whether the slow, churning solo he laid down on Heartbreak Hotel or the flashy lead on Hard-Headed Woman. "Everyone else wanted to be Elvis," guitarist Keith Richards once observed. "I wanted to be Scotty." Moore, Black and Fontana backed Presley for his 'shocking' TV appearances and early movies, but by 1957 had tired of what Moore called "Elvis economics".In the memoir That's Alright, Elvis, published in 1997, Moore noted that he earned just over $8,000 in 1956, while Presley became a millionaire. Moore also cited tension with Elvis' manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker. In 2000, Moore was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. He was ranked 29th in Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2011.
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