Joe Moretti

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Joe Moretti
Birth nameJoseph Edward Moretti
Born(1938-05-10)10 May 1938
The Docklands, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland
Died9 February 2012(2012-02-09) (aged 73)
Johannesburg, South Africa
GenresPop, skiffle, rock[1]
Occupation(s)Guitarist, songwriter
Years active1960s–1970s

Joseph Edward Moretti[1] (10 May 1938 – 9 February 2012)[1] was a Scottish guitarist renowned for his work on seminal UK rock and roll records such as Vince Taylor's "Brand New Cadillac" and Johnny Kidd & the Pirates' "Shakin' All Over". He lived in South Africa until his death from lung cancer.

Moretti also worked with Gene Vincent, Vince Eager, Lesley Duncan, Nero and the Gladiators, Ronnie Jones and The Nightimers, Eddie Calvert, Johnny Duncan's Bluegrass Boys, Tom Jones, Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys, and Chris Farlowe.[1]


Moretti moved from his birthplace of Glasgow to London in November 1958 with his wife Pina, and instantly became part of the burgeoning rock and roll scene based around The 2i's Coffee Bar in Soho.[2][3] There he found opportunities backing up singers such as Gene Vincent, Vince Eager, Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys[4] and other skiffle acts and nascent rock n' roll outfits. It was in the 2i's, in early 1959, that Moretti discovered guitarist-singer Tony Sheridan had quit Vince Taylor's band, The Playboys, and was asked to take his place. Moretti toured with Taylor in the UK and cut the iconic "Brand New Cadillac" in the spring of 1959. Shortly after, Moretti left the band to take up with Johnny Duncan's Bluegrass Boys. The following year, 1960, Moretti was to play guitar on another session after being called into the studio by Johnny Kidd & the Pirates' guitarist Alan Caddy to play leads on two songs: UK number one single "Shakin' All Over" and its follow-up "Restless". It was Moretti who created the special signature sound to "Shakin' All Over" by sliding a cigarette lighter up and down the fret-board of his guitar.[citation needed]

Session work and uncredited appearances[edit]

Throughout the 1960s Moretti continued to tour and record with artists such as Nero and the Gladiators, Ronnie Jones and The Nightimers and Eddie Calvert. In addition, Moretti was in demand as a session musician and, along with other UK guitarists such as Big Jim Sullivan, future Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and Vic Flick, often played guitar at a recording date without being credited. Moretti claims to have played guitar on hits for Jet Harris and Tony Meehan ("Scarlet O'Hara" and "Applejack")[5] and Donovan's hit record "Mellow Yellow".[6]

It is now accepted that he played guitar on at least two more UK number one records: Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual" and Chris Farlowe's Rolling Stones cover "Out of Time".[7]


Moretti died from lung cancer in February 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa, aged 73.[1]

Partial discography[edit]




  1. ^ a b c d e "The Dead Rock Stars Club". Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  2. ^ "2 I's Coffee Bar". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  3. ^ Kielty, Martin. "Scotland's number ones". Big Noise. Archived from the original on 10 September 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys". Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  5. ^ "The Truth About Jet Harris". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  6. ^ Haidenbauer, Johann. "John McLaughlin - List of Issued Records". Robert's Jazz Corner. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  7. ^ "The Rolling Stones Database: 1966/660427A". The Complete Works Website. Retrieved 20 June 2011.