D.J Fontana, from hillbilly music swing to Elvis Presley


We all know the works of Elvis Presley. His recordings have been played across the world for many generations, creating inspirational moments for all who love music. But one thing you may not know is that “D.J” Fontana was behind hundreds of these recordings.

D.j Fontana Performing
D.j Fontana Performing

The drummer was one of the leading and most admired performers of his time, which made many artistes and band admire his involvement in their projects. It is easy to say that most of the pieces he got involved in succeeded simply because he did.

By the time he started working with Elvis Presley, Fontana was already an established drummer, as the cutting edge of rock& roll drumming.

One of the things that made him stand out was how he made hillbilly music swing at the age where country music and bluegrass groups would shun drummers altogether.

D.j Fontana
D.j Fontana

It might have been tough for the style to pick had not involved his unrelenting efforts. And this is why Fontana continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many drummers.

It was not that he was a different drummer, but his drumming styles were all unique. He made music as though every piece was meant to stir unique emotion and reaction with the listener.

Fontana was pioneering for behind a litany of often limited licks. Many have completed the jumpy snare hits of “Blue Suede Shoes” that features in top playlists for many generations. And these recordings are still a vital point of reference for many other drummers that came after him.

Also, the punch lines that created the “Hound Dog” howl have been appreciated by many music enthusiasts. They are only a few, among many pieces the drummer has worked on, which makes him a legend in his own rights.

At one instance, Levon Helm was compelled to marvel at the work of Fontan. He could not help but notice the unique and fast hand technique from his Fontana’s drumming. They helped him deliver those Buddy Rich press rolls anytime he wanted to.

It was also incredible how he was able to keep the time and temple even whole, making those fast and furious moves, on the drums. He had mastered the drumming skills so perfectly that it felt as though the drummers listened to him when he spoke.

His obsession with creating new and unique style earned him great respect among many groups. No wonder they kept searching after him, and his recordings stood really high with many people.

According to Helm, Fontan was the “real foundation” for Elvis. The drummer employed his unique architecture in every project he worked on. And since he was involved in most of Elvis’s music,

D.j Fontana Elvis
D.j Fontana Elvis

D.J set Elvis free, enabling him to create incredible pieces without worrying about the delivery methods and style. Therefore, it is to say that most of what Elvis did could be attributed to the efforts Fontana put in. Well, it was his passion to deliver quality that pushed him to work harder. He was keen on giving his audience the best.

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