Scotty Moore

The bikers had taken over Beale Street that night of August 3rd, but the real action was one block south, on the corner of 2nd Street and Lieutenant George W. Lee Avenue, where Gibson Memphis was hosting a tribute to Scotty Moore.

Scotty, in case you don’t know, is the lone survivor of a trio that included Elvis Presley and Bill Black who were in the Sun Records Studio birthing room the day that country music hooked up with rhythm and blues and launched Elvis to superstardom.

To honor one of the world’s greatest guitar players, Gibson Memphis put together an evening of entertainment featuring artists from Scotty’s early days with Elvis and special guests who worked with Scotty over the years.

Gibson hosted the festivities to launch a new limited edition Scotty Moore Signature guitar, which is the exact replica of the gold ES-295 Scotty bought new in 1953, and to celebrate the publication of Scotty and Elvis, Aboard the Mystery Train.

Legendary Sun Recording artists Sonny Burgess and the Pacers, who toured with Scotty and Elvis in their glory days, kicked off the night’s entertainment with a collection of songs from the ‘50s, ‘60s and right on through to their latest recording session.

Sonny was followed by Billy Swann who resurrected Buddy Holly with rendition of “Maybe Baby,” and Pete Pritchard, a bass player who flew in from London, sang like Conway Twitty and did a haunting version of “Sea Cruise.

Scotty spent much of the night signing his book and guitars and meeting friends old and new. He must have scribbled his name on more than 80 replica signature guitars that filled an entire wall in a mountain of gold.

Scotty even took the stage with his partner, Gail Pollack, to give back to those who have helped him through the years. He donated one of Elvis’s Baldwin pianos to Gibson, along with a couple rare vintage guitars, and gave some new signature guitars to friends and family members.

Then his co-author on the book Scotty and Elvis: Aboard the Mystery Train, James L. Dickerson got up and shared how he wrote the first version of the book twenty years ago. But that version was mostly a narrative. So for this new edition, he went back to 20 hours of tapes, as well as doing additional interviews, and he really got to know Scotty better. This time was able to have Scotty tell his story with his own words.

In the book, Scotty recalls how it all began, when he, Elvis and bass player Bill Black entered Sam Phillips's Sun Records studio one afternoon to record an old blues tune, "That's All Right, Mama." After a few takes, Scotty decided to add something a little different in the form of a rocking rhythm. That was the keeper.

The record became Elvis's first hit single and the start of relationship between Scotty and Elvis that popularized an entire new genre of music, and generations of rock musicians to follow.