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.
Its success 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' 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 only one left to tell the story of how Elvis and Scotty transformed popular music and how Scotty created the sound that became a prototype for so many rock guitarists to follow.
For anyone interested in the Sun years and what really went on in the studio, on the road, and behind the scenes, this is a must read.
Scotty paints a picture of his relationship and friendship with Elvis that, at times, is quite counter to what we have come to believe of the early Elvis. I won't go into details because that would ruin your fun of discovery. Let me just say that if G.K. and Jerry were recalling their lives with Elvis through rose-colored glasses, Scotty seems not to need any glasses at all.
I have been a huge Elvis fan since 1958, and this book does nothing to lessen my love and appreciation for what he and the Blue Moon Boys gave us. You owe it to yourselves to find out what happened on the Mystery Train.
'Everyone else wanted to be Elvis: I wanted to be Scotty'. (Keith Richards).