Scotty Moore (1931-2016)

Scotty Moore in 1968

Scotty Moore in 1968

Legendary guitarist Scotty Moore, who backed Elvis Presley from the beginning of his career in 1954 at Sun Records through his 1968 comeback special, passed away yesterday at his Nashville, Tennessee home. He was 84.

I have been rather disconnected from the news lately, so I only just now learned about Moore’s death from my friend and fellow Elvis fan Thomas Melin.

It is impossible to overstate Moore’s importance in Elvis’s early sound, which helped catapult rock ‘n’ roll to worldwide attention.

Those now-classic electric guitar licks on “That’s All Right,” “Mystery Train,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “King Creole,” and so many other records are all Moore.

During production of his 1968 television special, Elvis pokes a little fun at Moore in a live segment:

Twelve years, man, he played guitar for me and never said anything. The other night, he leaned over and said–he was dead serious–he said, “Would you sing that ‘Lawdy, Miss Clawdy’ one time, man?” First time–12 years! … I told him, “Naw, forget it.”

Elvis then rips into an incredible version of the song. As the performance ends, an appreciative Moore quietly remarks, “I won’t say anything for another 12 years.”

My condolences go out to Moore’s family and friends.


I’ll be listening to Scotty and Elvis the rest of the week. Here’s my first stab at a playlist.

  1. That’s All Right (1954)
  2. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (1954)
  3. Good Rockin’ Tonight (1954)
  4. I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine (1954)
  5. Milkcow Blues Boogie (1954)
  6. You’re A Heartbreaker (1954)
  7. Baby, Let’s Play House (1955)
  8. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (1954)
  9. I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1955)
  10. Mystery Train (1955)
  11. Blue Moon (1954)
  12. Just Because (1954)
  13. Tryin’ To Get To You (1955)
  14. Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
  15. Money Honey (1956)
  16. I’m Counting On You (1956)
  17. I Was The One (1956)
  18. Blue Suede Shoes (1956)
  19. My Baby Left Me (1956)
  20. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy (1956)
  21. Shake, Rattle & Roll (1956)
  22. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You (1956)
  23. Hound Dog (1956)
  24. Don’t Be Cruel (1956)
  25. Any Way You Want Me (1956)
  26. Too Much (1956)
  27. Jailhouse Rock (1957)
  28. As Long As I Have You (1958)
  29. King Creole (1958)
  30. That’s All Right (Live-1968-06-27 6 PM Show)
  31. Heartbreak Hotel (Live-1968-06-27 6 PM)
  32. Love Me (Live-1968-06-27 6 PM)
  33. Baby, What You Want Me To Do (Live-1968-06-27 8 PM Show; version #2)
  34. Blue Suede Shoes (Live-1968-06-27 6 PM)
  35. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy (Live-1968-06-27 6 PM)
  36. Are You Lonesome Tonight (Live-1968-06-27 6 PM)
  37. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (Live-1968-06-27 8 PM)
  38. Tryin’ To Get To You (Live-1968-06-27 6 PM)
  39. One Night (Live-1968-06-27 6 PM; version #1)
  40. Baby, What You Want Me To Do (Live-1968-06-27 6 PM; version #3)
  41. One Night (Live-1968-06-27 6 PM; version #2)
  42. Tiger Man (Live-1968-06-27 8 PM)

3 thoughts on “Scotty Moore (1931-2016)

  1. The Sunrise album is the best, because it’s the first sessions of Elvis with Scotty and Bill. It is the most authentic fresh sound I have heard. Hope you get a chance to hear it. Also “My Happiness” is Elvis’ first recording and can be found on youtube. Totally awesome sound. Great post!

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    • Thanks for the nice comments, EnglishLitGreek.

      As far as the Sun material goes, I’m hoping Sony Legacy will do a deluxe compilation within the next couple of years. There have been audio upgrades since Sunrise (1999), including on Elvis At Sun (2004) and A Boy From Tupelo (2012).

      A Boy From Tupelo is the best this music has ever sounded on CD, but it was a limited edition collectors release that is near-impossible to find at a reasonable price these days. Hopefully Sony will realize that the underlying material deserves a broader audience.

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