Music

Elvis Presleys original drummer DJ Fontana dies aged 87

Elvis Presley's original drummer DJ Fontana dies aged 87
Elvis Presley performing on Jailhouse Rock with DJ Fontana in the back in 1957 (Picture: Michael Ochs Archives)

DJ Fontana, Elvis Presleys drummer and the last remaining member of his original band has died aged 87.

Fontanas son David posted an emotional message on Facebook, to announce the death of his father.

I told everyone that I would keep you posted. My Dad passed away in his sleep at 9:33 tonight, he wrote.

CLEVELAND - APRIL 04: Musician DJ Fontana attends the 24th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 4, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
DJ Fontana died at the age of 87 (Picture: Getty Images)

He was very comfortable with no pain. I will post more tomorrow when I have more information. We ask for privacy at this time. Thank you for your love and prayers.

Sun Studio, which is based in Memphis, Tennessee, where Elvis kicked off his career, shared a tribute shortly after the news broke of Fontanas death.

We are extremely saddened to hear about the passing of legendary drummer D.J. Fontana. The band is all back together now, the message read.

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Fontana features on many of Elvis big records including Dont Be Cruel, Jailhouse Rock and Hound Dog to name a few.

He started playing the drums for Elvis back in 1954 and work with him until 1968.

Talking about how he split drumming for Elvis with Buddy Harman and Hal Blaine, Fontana told Elvis Australia: One guy couldnt play all the garbage they wanted you to play. On the Hawaiian tunes they had bongos, congos, you had this, you had that. Thats why they hired all these guys.

Asked whether Elvis called him to get him in for the 1968 NBC special, Fontana opened up about his relationship with The King, as he said: No, he never called anybody. I talked to him once on the telephone! They always had somebody calling, but then youd know it was coming from him.

He only managed to see Elvis a couple more times before his death, but reflecting on his time in the band, he said: Oh, it was fun. We really had a good time. But when you think about it, we worked with a guy 40 years ago, and Im still working today doing the same.

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