Elvis Presley’s Rock-Solid Drummer, March 15, 1931 – June 13, 2018
The funeral for famed Elvis Presley drummer DJ Fontana was held today at the Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home and Memorial Park in Nashville, TN, followed by a celebration of life service.
Fontana, who died peacefully in his sleep last Wednesday at age 87, is a key architect in the rhythm of rock ‘n’ roll, first as the staff drummer for the Louisiana Hayride and then from 1954 to 1968 served as part of Elvis Presley’s crack band alongside Bill Black on bass and guitarist Scotty Moore, playing on over 460 tracks while the King was at RCA with an unparalleled sense of time and swing.
“So much has been written about rock music and Elvis,” wrote former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers drummer Stan Lynch in a beautiful eulogy for Drummer World. “All I really know is when I try to imagine music today without the contributions of D.J. Fontana, Scotty Moore and Bill Black my brain goes numb. Think about it. If you’re a musician, they are the founding fathers on the face of Mount Rushmore and when I trace my roots up the long family tree of drummers, I can’t tell you how proud I am to be a musical bastard son of the great D.J. Fontana.”
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Fontana can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.