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Scotty Moore Hospitalized

Presley's guitarist undergoes brain surgery

December 11, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Scotty Moore, whose distinctive guitar playing peppered Elvis Presley's early, classic recordings, was admitted to Baptist Hospital in Nashville last week and underwent brain surgery on December 5th for a subdural hematoma.

The seventy-one-year-old rock legend was listed in serious but stable condition after doctors found and alleviated some blood that had accumulated between his brain and skull. The surgery was successful and Moore's doctor said that with some physical therapy, he should be able to return to playing guitar.

Moore and bassist Bill Black were members of Doug Poindexter's Starlight Wranglers, a country and western ensemble, when they were selected by producer Sam Phillips to back Elvis Presley in 1954. The trio's first session yielded three songs including Presley's first hit, "That's All Right." Moore managed Presley for a year and also added his licks to many of the King's hits, including an iconic lick and solo on "Heartbreak Hotel." Moore was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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