I’m a little late with this post because Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts passed away four days ago at age 80. It stuck in my mind that I had written about him in ElvisBlog years ago, so I did some searching. Here’s the history that I found connecting Charlie Watts and D J Fontana.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame created the Sideman Category in 2000, and Scotty Moore was one of the first five inductees that year. The group included two drummers – but not DJ. Many Elvis fans wondered why.
In 2003, the Hall added a third drummer. This is when the fans of DJ Fontana started to really get upset with the selection process. Rumblings of ”let’s get DJ into the Hall of Fame” were heard at Elvis Week and other gatherings, and on Internet chat groups. Hundreds of letters and petitions went to the Hall extolling the praises of DJ and cheerleading for his inclusion.
In 2004, four of the world’s most famous rock drummers formally approached the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Sidemen Nominating Committee about DJ Fontana’s qualifications. They were:
Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stone
Ringo Starr of the Beatles
Levon Helm of the Band
Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band
In spite of this intervention by all-star drummers with Hall of Fame credentials, the selection committee ignored DJ again for five more years until he and Bill Black were inducted in 2009.
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