25 Facts About Bill Black


Bill Black played in Elvis Presley's early trio, The Blue Moon Boys.


Bill Black's father played popular songs on the banjo and fiddle to entertain the family.


At the age of sixteen, Bill Black was performing "honky-tonk" music on acoustic guitar in local bars.


Bill Black began playing the upright double bass, modeling his "slap bass" technique after one of his idols, Fred Maddox, of Maddox Brothers and Rose.


Bill Black developed a "stage clown" persona in the same way that Maddox entertained audiences.


In 1952, Bill Black began playing in clubs and on radio shows with the guitarist Scotty Moore.


Bill Black slap played the double bass with Moore on lead guitar, while Presley played rhythm guitar and sang lead.


Sources credit Bill Black with initiating the song, with Presley and Moore joining in.


Moore said, "Bill Black is the one who came up with "Blue Moon of Kentucky.


We're taking a little break and he starts beating on the bass and singing "Blue Moon of Kentucky," mocking Bill Black Monroe, singing the high falsetto voice.


Moore and Bill Black left the Starlite Wranglers after the success of "That's All Right," jealousy within the group forcing them to split.


In 1955, Bill Black went to RCA Victor along with Presley and Moore when Presley's contract was sold to that company.


Bill Black continued his onstage "clown" persona and developed comedy routines with Presley.


Bill Black's onstage personality was a sharp contrast to the introverted stage presence of Moore.


Eight of the recordings by Bill Black's Combo placed in the Top 40 between 1959 and 1962.


In 1962, Bill Black opened a recording studio called "Lyn-Lou Studios", and a record label named "Louis" after his son, on Chelsea Street in Memphis, Tennessee, with Larry Rogers as his engineer and producer.


Early in 1963, Bill Black sent from two to five different versions of the Combo to different regions of the country at the same time, while staying off the road himself, wanting to concentrate on his business, family and his health.


Bill Black himself had been ill for the past year and a half and unable to travel.


Bill Black's Combo created musical history in 1964 when they became the opening act for the Beatles on their historic 13-city tour of America after their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.


Bill Black himself was not well enough to make the tour.


Bill Black's death occurred during his third operation that doctors had hoped would eradicate the tumor permanently.


Bill Black's body was buried, next to his father, William Patton Bill Black Sr.


Bill Black decided instead to visit the family privately after the service to express his condolences.


Bill Black's Combo cut more than 20 albums, toured the United States and Europe and won awards as the best instrumental group in America in 1966 and 1967.


In 2007, Bill Black was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.