D. J. Fontana
D. J. Fontana
Fontana in 2012
|Birth name||Dominic Joseph Fontana|
|Born||March 15, 1931|
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
|Died||June 13, 2018 (aged 87)|
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
|Genres||Rock and roll|
|Labels||Sun, RCA Victor|
|Associated acts||The Blue Moon Boys, Elvis Presley|
Dominic Joseph Fontana (March 15, 1931 – June 13, 2018) was an American musician best known as the drummer for Elvis Presley for 14 years. In October 1954 he was hired to play drums for Presley, which marked the beginning of a fifteen-year relationship. He played on over 460 RCA cuts with Elvis.
Nicknamed "D.J.", Fontana was employed by the Louisiana Hayride to be an in-house drummer on its Saturday night radio broadcast.
Fontana joined a band (originally assembled by Sam Phillips) that was without a drummer. The band included Scotty Moore (lead guitar), Bill Black (bass), and Elvis Presley (rhythm guitar). They called themselves The Blue Moon Boys. This became the band that would perform and record the vast majority of Presley's hits of the 1950s. Along with the occasional piano and backing vocals from the Jordanaires, The Blue Moon Boys played on several Elvis hits, including "Heartbreak Hotel", "Hound Dog", "Don't Be Cruel", and "Jailhouse Rock". The band toured extensively. Throughout 1956 and 1957, the band had several television appearances, which included The Ed Sullivan Show. The band broke up in 1958 and Black never played with Fontana or Presley again afterward. He died in 1965. Although the band had officially broken up, Fontana and Elvis still regularly played and recorded together throughout the 1960s. Moore would sometimes join them. In 1968, Fontana performed on the NBC television special, often referred to as Elvis' 'Comeback' Special.
Stan Lynch said of Fontana: "Armed with accuracy, power, swing, dynamics, great time and — the biggest compliment of all — simplicity whenever it was best, D.J. rocked the greatest singer and the greatest songs ... ever. He did it year after year, record after classic record. In a world of one trick ponies and lucky "Rock Stars," D.J. is the real deal."
— D.J. Fontana
In 1983, Fontana published a book in pictorial form, titled D.J. Fontana Remembers Elvis, detailing his years playing with Presley. Fontana's Life and Times weekly phonecasting debuted on July 3, 2007.
D. J. Fontana was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame on January 14, 2009, and on April 4, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in the "sidemen" category. English musician Wayne Fontana (born Glyn Geoffrey Ellis) took his stage name from the drummer.
- Heartbreak Hotel/I Was the One, 2x Platinum
- Blue Suede Shoes/Tutti Frutti, Gold
- I Want You, I Need You, I Love You/My Baby Left Me, Platinum
- Hound Dog/Don't Be Cruel 4X Platinum
- Love Me Tender/Any Way You Want Me, 3X Platinum
- Too Much/Playing for Keeps, Platinum
- All Shook Up/That's When Your Heartaches Begin, 2X Platinum
- (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear/Loving You, 2x Platinum
- Jailhouse Rock/Treat Me Nice, 2X Platinum
- Don't/I Beg of You, Platinum
- Wear My Ring Around Your Neck/Doncha' Think It's Time, Platinum
- Hard Headed Woman/Don't Ask Me Why, Platinum
- I Got Stung/One Night, Platinum
- (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I/I Need Your Love Tonight, Platinum
- A Big Hunk o' Love/My Wish Came True, Gold
- Stuck on You/Fame and Fortune, Platinum
- It's Now or Never/A Mess of Blues, Platinum
- Are You Lonesome Tonight/I Gotta Know, 2X Platinum
- Surrender/Lonely Man, Platinum
- I Feel So Bad/Wild in the Country, Gold
- (Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame/Little Sister, Gold
- Can't Help Falling in Love/Rock-a-Hula Baby, Platinum
- Good Luck Charm/Anything That's Part of You, Platinum
- She's Not You/Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello, Gold
- Return to Sender/Where Do You Come From, Platinum
- One Broken Heart For Sale/They Remind Me Too Much of You, Gold
- (You're the) Devil in Disguise/Please Don't Drag That String Around, Gold
- Bossa Nova Baby/Witchcraft, Gold
- Kissin' Cousins/It Hurts Me, Gold
- Viva Las Vegas/What'd I Say, Gold
- Ain't That Loving You, Baby/Ask Me, Gold
- Crying in the Chapel/I Believe in the Man in the Sky, Platinum
- I'm Yours/Long Lonely Highway, Gold
- Puppet on a String/Wooden Heart, Gold
- Blue Christmas/Santa Claus Is Back in Town, Platinum
- Tell Me Why/ Blue River, Gold
- Frankie and Johnny/Please Don't Stop Loving Me, Gold
- "D.J. Fontana, 87, Elvis Presley’s Longtime Drummer, Is Dead". The New York Times. June 14, 2018. Retrieved on June 17, 2018.
- "D.J. Fontana has Died". Elvis Australia. June 15, 2018. Retrieved on June 17, 2018
- D.J. Fontana. Drummerworld online
- Go Cat Go! Craig Morrison. 1996. University of Illinois Press. page 117. ISBN 0-252-02207-6
- "DJ Fontana". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
- Melissa U. D. Goldsmith; et al. (2016). The Encyclopedia of Musicians and Bands on Film. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 418-9. ISBN 1442269863.
- "D.J. Fontana, Elvis Presley's drummer, dead at 87". The Tennessean. June 14, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Longtime Elvis Presley drummer D.J. Fontana has died". ABC News. June 14, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
|Oral History, DJ Fontana shares early moments of his life story. NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library|