Scotty Moore Dies; Guitarist For Elvis Presley Was 84

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Scotty Moore, the pioneering guitarist who helped Elvis Presley bring rock and roll to the masses in the 1950s, has passed away.

He was 84 years old.

Scotty Moore Photo

His biographer, James L. Dickerson, confirmed the death in a statement to various news outlets this afternoon.

"As a musician, I consider him one of the co-founders of rock ‘n' roll because of the guitar licks that he invented,” said Dickerson.

He added that Moore passed away in Nashville surrounded by family and friends.

No cause of death was given.

Elvis' ex-wife, Prisccilla Presley, also spoke highly of Moore in an interview conducted shortly after news of his death went public:

“Elvis loved Scotty dearly and treasured those amazing years together, both in the studio and on the road. Scotty was an amazing musician and a legend in his own right," she said.

"The incredible music that Scotty and Elvis made together will live forever and influence generations to come.” 

A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Moore was the last surviving member of the combo that included Elvis, Bill Black and legendary producer Sam Phillips.

His contributions to such Presley classics as “Heartbreak Hotel" and “All Shook Up” made him one of the early engineers of the sound that would come to define the early era of rock and influence young musicians like Keith Richards and Jimmy Page.

“Everyone else wanted to be Elvis,” Richards once said in an interview. “I wanted to be Scotty.” 

Moore and Presley parted ways on bad terms following an argument about compensation, but in his memoirs, the guitarist would lay the blame not on Elvis, but on the unscrupulous team who managed the young singer in his early career.

The collaborators briefly reconciled for Presley's 1968 comeback television special.

In his later years, Moore worked as a recording studio manager, businessman, and prolific audio engineer.

"He was a class act as a human being,” Dickerson said of Moore today.

“Besides being one of the best guitarists that ever lived and most inventive, he was a great person, and you don't always find that in the music industry.”

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