Go to main content

Bill Lynn Died

January 07, 2006 | People
Bill Lynn, who played drums for rock ‘n' roll king Elvis Presley, has died in Colombia after suffering from lung problems, people close to the musician said on Friday. He was 73.

Lynn died Thursday at his home in Villa de Leyva, a scenic town 200 kilometers north of Bogota where he owned the bar Legends and Superstars that featured Elvis memorabilia.

The drummer was born in Bogota but grew up in the United States.

"He had a strong flu, which got worse in the early morning, and he died," said Cristina Alarcon, a friend of Lynn's and the culture and tourism secretary for the department of Boyaca. "The townspeople are very sad because Bill was one of those people who would come and stay. He had become one of Villa de Leyva's attractions," Alarcon said.

Lynn, who can be seen as the drummer in "Easy Come Easy Go" and "Speedway", played drums with Elvis in the 1960 song "It's Now or Never", an English version of the Italian classic O'sole mio. A year later, Elvis sent Lynn a golden record to thank him for his collaboration. He went on to be Elvis' drummer for five years according to an interview he gave.
Martin DJ wrote on January 07, 2006
Bill Lynn? For the sessions that produced It's now or never Elvis used two drummers: D.J. Fontana and Buddy Harman.
Mr Scrapbook wrote on January 07, 2006
You can see Bill Lynn on the drums in Speedway (earlier in the movie playing Sax too). Notice that I said 'see him' he his miming the drums to the real drumming of Buddy Harman and D J Fontana (according to Tunzi's Elvis Sessions 3). I also heard the story from him personally regarding his (so called) drumming on It's Now Or Never but did not believe him, I have never seen his name mentioned in any of the Tunzi Session volumes or the Ernst Life In Music sessions book. No other Elvis session musicians have ever mentioned his name to my knowledge (I could be wrong though). Sorry that he has passed away but he was a bit part actor miming to the work of others I would say....and I do. When I met him he wore a fake TCB too ! At least he worked (sort of) with Elvis and I will give him that.
Mr Scrapbook wrote on January 07, 2006
And knew I had his bio somewhere, make of this what you will: At 11 years of age he formed his own trio and at 14 he was called to play with a Country & Western band, never forgetting the song 'Heartaches by the number'. He continued to play with that band at square dances with another young musician called Charlie McCoy. At 16 he 'changed' his age to 18 so that he could play in bars with various bands and was always asked to perform a drum solo, which later titled him as 'The Drummatic Bill Lynn'! in 1960 Bill signed a contract with ABC Paramount Records in Nashville/TN as their 'studio drummer'. He recorded with many of the 'exclusive' artists: Ray Charles, The Impressions, Brian Hyland, Jimmy Velvet, Tommy Roe, Jimmy Gilmore, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bobby Vee and others.During this same period Bill was introduced to Elvis Presley at RCA Recording Studio 'B'. During one of Elvis's recording sessions the drummer left the studio for coffee and Bill was asked to accompany the next song 'Its Now Or Never'. As the recording progressed, they liked it that much that Bill's drum track stayed on the final print. On one 'Day off'in later years, and when Elvis Presley was filming one of his movies in Hollywood, Bill went to visit him.Elvis slightly remembered him, but having a drummer already contracted for the movie 'Easy Come - Easy Go' Elvis asked Bill if he could play any other instruments. Having had some previous basic instruction on piano, guitar, bass and saxophone, Bill was hired to play each instrument during the filming, which gave Bill extra pay for playing each one. There was one problem, Bill already had a band-job in Sacramento/California, 350 miles north. Not wanting to loose the job with Elvis Bill commuted by plane every day, making do with only a couple of hours sleep. A couple of weeks passed before Elvis found out what Bill was up to and when he did, he went into hysterics of laughter. Bill was asked to continue working with Elvis as a musician and extra in other movies. Bill and others cleared parks and movie houses for the private Presley who yearned for a normal life and time to himself. "That's what he wanted most!" On many occasions Bill was asked to drive to Elvis's house to pick up Priscilla and escort her back to the studio to join Elvis for lunch. Bill was frequently with Elvis until 1969/70, when Elvis began his live performances. There was friction with Priscilla and almost everyone was discharged, but to this day Bill wears his staff TCB (one of only 150 ever made!) pin on a chain around his neck, as Elvis Presley's drummer, friend and aide he keeps on "Taking Care of Business" (in a flash) for the King of Rock 'n Roll. 'In a Flash' ment 'now' so fun and spontaneity wouldn't fade, says Bill, who was nicknamed 'Flash' by Elvis because he was quick at getting things done. In 1980 Bill's long-time friend Jimmy Velvet asked him to join him in Memphis and market his newly developed Elvis Presley Museum and in 16 years as Marketing Director he arranged tours for the museum to be presented in numerous shopping malls, expositions and trade fairs. Adding an Elvis tribute singer to the exhibition of artefacts, Bill would perform as a drummer, marketing director and promoter. Bill freely talks about Elvis:"He was very generous, good mannered and humorous. He also was a real friend! There are many misconceptions about Elvis and the circumstances of his death. He had bone cancer. It was kept hush-hush by the family and left out of doctors reports. Elvis took prescription pills for the cancer pain. He died of a hypertensive heart attack, the same as his mother. He thought he would die when he was the same age she died. He died 4 years earlier. He did not take drugs, he took prescription pills and although he took pills, he was not a drug addict, if you have a headache or any other pain, you take a pill, that's what Elvis did!"