A thought struck me while watching the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Now that drummer DJ Fontana and bass player Bill Black have been honored in the “Sideman” category, all of Elvis’ 50s bandmates are in the Hall. Guitarist Scotty Moore was inducted back in 2000, so this recognition of DJ and Bill was long overdue. Nine years overdue, in fact.
Part of the delay may have come from the Selection Committee losing interest in the category. For some reason, the Hall of Fame added only six new members to the “Sideman” category from 2000 to 2007. There were no inductions to the category at all in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. Somehow, the category must have fallen out of favor, because there were plenty of people out there deserving the honor.
The “Sideman” category came back to life a bit in 2008 with the induction of Little Walter, an excellent blues harmonica virtuoso and singer. He was a long-time sideman to Muddy Waters (also in the Hall).
In 2009, the “Sideman” category had good action with three inductees. Keyboard artist Spooner Oldham joined DJ and Bill this year. He has played with a huge list of singers during his forty-year career.
So, if the “Sideman” category is getting on the ball and trying to catch up a bit, I have a suggestion. I think it’s time for the rest of the TCB Band to be inducted.
Guitarist James Burton has been a member of the “Sideman” category since 2001, so the rest of the TCB guys have been waiting only one year less than DJ and Bill. To continue that any longer would now be stupid.
Drummer Ronnie Tutt, piano player Glen D. Hardin, bassist Jerry Scheff and rhythm guitarist John Wilkinson should go in the Hall of Fame next year. Their absence is just not right; the whole band needs to be in, together. A band is a unit, and that great music behind Elvis in the 70s came from the shared talents of these guys. They deserve equal honors.
Glen D. Hardin
Years ago, at Elvis Week 2005, I was backstage before a concert, and drummer Ronnie Tutt autographed his photo in an article I wrote about the TCB Band in Elvis… The Magazine. He asked me if I could write something new to help get him in the Hall of Fame. I told him I would, but not until we had DJ Fontana in there first. Well, Ronnie, that time has come.
It’s time to push for the rest of the TCB Band to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There is no way they haven’t earned it. Elvis surrounded himself with great musicians, great sidemen. Ronnie Tutt, Glen D Hardin, Jerry Scheff and John Wilkinson belong in the “Sideman” category. They belong in the Hall of Fame. End of story.
Hopefully you will read lots of other articles and columns that support putting the rest of the TCB Band in the Hall. Every Elvis website, blog and fan club should speak up for this long overdue recognition by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Graceland will certainly be pushing for these guys. All except John Wilkinson are part of the travelling TCB Band that works with EPE on Elvis The Concert, the Elvis Cruise, and most Elvis Weeks. I hope our combined efforts make a lot of buzz.
Remember you heard about it here first.
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