Elvis Presley's longtime drummer, D. J. Fontana, dies at 87

Rodolfo Vieira
Jun 15, 2018
04:59 A.M.
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Dominic Joseph Fontana, commonly known as D. J. Fontana, Elvis Presley's longtime friend and drummer, passed away at the age of 87.


The musician, who played several of Presley's hits, such as Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock, drew his last breath on Wednesday night, June 14, 2018. He died peacefully, of natural causes, in his sleep.

The news was delivered by his son, David Fontana, who took to his Facebook account to let his father's fans, friends and followers know that the music legend had crossed over.

Now that Fontana has passed, Presley's classic-era backing trio has officially ceased to exist, considering that Fontana was the last surviving member. 


Before Fontana, Bill Black, who played the bass, died at the age of  39 of a brain tumor in 1965, while 84-year-old guitarist Scotty Moore passed away in 2016.

The late drummer started working alongside Presley when the King of Rock n' Roll was just starting his career. At the time, in 1954, Presley was scheduled to perform at Louisiana Hayride, a popular radio program in Shreveport, Fontana's hometown.

Fontana was asked to listen to some of Presley's records, and although he was impressed, he didn't feel the same way about the young rocker's name, arguing that he wouldn't go far with it.

But the truth is that as soon as they started playing together, the chemistry between them was unbelievable. From that point on, the musicians kept on going for as long as possible.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

Black left the group in 1958, but Fontana stuck by the King of Rock n' Roll's side for 14 years. He played drums in over 460 of Presley's recordings and even performed in Comeback, the 1968 NBC special.

Fontana lived most of his life in Nashville, Tennesse, and was a major influence in the life and work of former Beatles' member Ringo Starr and Bruce Springsteen's drummer, Max Weinberg.

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