Scotty Moore, the pioneering rock guitarist whose sharp, graceful style helped Elvis Presley shape his revolutionary sound and inspired a generation of musicians that included Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Bruce Springsteen, died Tuesday. He was 84.
Moore died at his home in Nashville, said biographer and friend James L. Dickerson, who confirmed the death through a family friend.
“As a musician, I consider him one of the co-founders of rock ‘n’ roll because of the guitar licks that he invented,” Dickerson said, calling Moore an icon.
Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley echoed that sentiment in a statement Tuesday night: “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. The incredible music that Scotty and Elvis made together will live forever and influence generations to come.”
Moore, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was the last survivor of a combo that included Presley, bassist Bill Black and producer Sam Phillips.
Moore was a local session musician when he and Black were thrown together with Presley on July 5, 1954, in the Memphis-based Sun Records studios. Presley was a self-effacing, but determined teen anxious to make a record. Moore’s bright riffs and fluid solos - natural compliments to Presley’s strumming rhythm guitar - and Black’s hard-slapping work on a standup bass gave Elvis the foundation on which he developed a fresh blend of blues, gospel and country that came to be called rock ‘n’ roll.