On the Horizon: Scotty and Elvis

When Elvis Presley first showed up at Sam Phillips’s Memphis-based Sun Records studio, he was a shy teenager in search of a sound. Phillips invited a local guitarist named Scotty Moore to stand in. Scotty listened carefully to the young singer and immediately realized that Elvis had something special. 

Along with bass player Bill Black, the trio recorded an old blues number called “That’s All Right, Mama.” It turned out to be Elvis’ first single and the defining record of his early style, with a trilling guitar hook that swirled country and blues together and minted a sound with unforgettable appeal. 

In the video below, Scotty Moore talks about how the "Presley Sound" was discovered almost by accident.


The success of “That’s All Right, Mama” launched a whirlwind of touring, radio appearances, and Elvis’s first break into movies. Scotty was there every step of the way as both guitarist and manager, until Elvis’s new manager, Colonel Tom Parker, pushed him out. Scotty and Elvis would not perform together again until the classic 1968 “comeback” television special. Scotty never saw Elvis after that. 

With both Bill Black and Elvis gone, Scotty Moore is the sole survivor of the Sun Records sessions of July 1954. Those famous recording sessions saw Elvis Presley, Bill Black, and Scotty Moore, with Sam Phillips at the engineering sound board, blend country and blues into a new art form that would shake up American culture for decades to come.

Scotty and Elvis:Aboard the Mystery Train has been thoroughly updated and this edition delivers guitarist Scotty Moore’s story as never before. This book will be available from UPM in July. A review copy can be requested from NetGalley here.