Winfield Scott "Scotty" Moore III (born
December 27, 1931 near Gadsden, Tennessee) is an American guitarist. He is best known for his backing of Elvis Presley in the first part of his career, between 1954 and the beginning of Elvis'
Hollywood years. He was ranked forty-fourth in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
Scotty Moore learned to play the guitar from family
and friends at eight years of age. Although underaged when he enlisted, Moore served in the United States Navy between 1948 and 1952.
early background was in jazz and country music. A fan of guitarist Chet Atkins, Moore led a group called the "Starlite Wranglers" before Sam Phillips at Sun Records put him together with then teenage Elvis Presley. Phillips believed that Moore's
lead guitar and double bassist Bill Black was all that was needed to augment Presley's rhythm guitar and lead vocals on their
recordings. In 1954 Moore and Black accompanied Elvis on what was going to be the first legendary Presley hit, the Sun Studios session cut of "That's All Right (Mama)", a recording regarded as a seminal event in rock and roll history. Elvis, Black and Scotty Moore then formed the "Blue Moon Boys".
They were later joined by drummer D.J. Fontana. Beginning in July 1954, the "Blue Moon Boys" toured and recorded throughout
the American South and as Presley's popularity rose, they toured the United States and made appearances
in various Presley television shows and motion pictures.
Moore played on many of Presley's
most famous recordings including "Good Rockin' Tonight", "Baby Let's Play House", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Mystery Train", "Hound Dog", "Too Much" and "Jailhouse Rock".
Scotty Moore is given
credit as the pioneer of the rock 'n' roll lead guitarist. Most popular guitarists cite Moore as the performer that brought
the lead guitarist to a dominant role in a rock 'n' roll band. Although some lead guitarists/vocalists had gained popularity
such as Chuck Berry and blues legend BB King, Presley rarely played his own lead while performing, usually providing rhythm and
leaving the lead duties to Moore. Moore was a noticeable presence in the Presley performances, strictly as a guitarist. As
a result, he became an inspiration to many subsequent popular guitarists, one of the more vocal of these being Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Moore, being quite introverted on stage, accomplished this almost exclusively through
his performance and interpretation of the music.
In the 1960s, Moore
released a solo album called The Guitar That Changed the World. He performed on the NBC television special known as the '68 Comeback Special.
While with Presley, Moore initially played a Gibson ES-295, before switching to a Gibson L5 and subsequently a Gibson Super 400.
For his pioneering contribution, Moore has been recognized by
the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.