Bill Black

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Garry Tallent (E Street Band)
  • Category:
    Musical Excellence


Elvis auditioned for him.

They started jamming on “That’s Alright,” and you know the rest. Much of Bill Black’s career was spent as Elvis Presley’s charismatic bass player, but Black also led a successful career as a bandleader, landing charting in the Hot 100 nearly twenty times.

Hall of Fame Essay


Robert Burke Warren

For a rocket to break free from the grip of Earth’s gravitational pull, it needs raw, crude thrust, a blast of primal power; the higher it ascends, the less potent combustion is needed.

Musically speaking, bassist Bill Black and drummer D.J. Fontana were just such a necessary component for the rise of Elvis Presley. In addition to their perfect qualifications as musicians, the personalities of the affable “never-met-a-stranger” showman Black and the laid-back yet authoritatively professional Fontana would contribute beyond measure to the evolution of Presley’s persona from gawky, unfocused music geek to Hillbilly Cat to King of Rock & Roll.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 2009
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Bill Black_quote
encouraged Elvis to learn the value of showmanship.
Gary Tallent