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DJ Fontana And Bill Black Inducted In HoF

April 05, 2009 | People

On Saturday April 4, the ceremony for the 2009 inductees in the 'Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame' was held in Cleveland, Ohio in the Rock Hall Museum. In the category 'side men', Elvis' first musicians drummer DJ Fontana and bass player Bill Black are inducted for their early work in Rock and Roll music. Bill Black passed away in 1965 of a brain tumor, but DJ Fontana was very proud to be recognized for his contribution to music history. Elvis was of course one of the first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 1986. Now it was finally Elvis' rhythm section's turn.

"We had to click in the studio and we had to get along on the road," says DJ Fontana of being in Elvis's band. "I appreciate that they're doing it," said drummer DJ Fontana. "I never played rock 'n' roll until I joined Elvis, and look at me now, here I am," said inductee and drummer D.J. Fontana. "This is great. It worked out good!"
"Elvis himself actually was a good rhythm guitar player. He played on a lot of songs with us, too -- the whole band. He'd sing and play. And he was good at it. He could do anything he decided he wanted to do."

"It's kind of a blur after this many years," said Fontana, 78. "When we worked, we were doing six and seven days a week. We'd be in this town tonight and Chicago the next night. It was 400 and 500 miles overnight. So that's about all we had time to do -- get to where we're going, sleep a couple hours and go back and work again.

"It's hard to find three or four guys who work together and everything gels just right. . . . There'd be arguments, of course, but in five minutes, it's over. We had to click in the studio and we had to get along on the road." 

hillbillycatlover wrote on April 05, 2009
Way long overdue. why weren't DJ and Bill inducted with Scotty in 2000? Why did they wait so long to induct all these guys to begin with?? As John Lennon said, "Before Elvis there was nothing." Thank goodness DJ was able to attend and is obviously in good health and energy as ever ! Love the way he leaned on the podium and spoke from the heart in Elvis fashion, responding to a fan the way Elvis would have, "I'll be up there in a minute..." Earlier fellow inductee rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson paid tribute to Elvis and Scotty and said, "I feel Elvis is in the room, don't you?" Everyone applauded... She then belted out the song she wrote "We're gonna have a party" in true rockabilly fashion, reminiscent of but of course bested only by Elvishimselvis...
Ruthie wrote on April 06, 2009
Yes, it's long overdue but it happened! I was able to be there & it was truly an awesome experience. Wanda Jackson also mentioned that Elvis was the one who talked her into trying rock & roll music rather than all country. Later, when DJ responded to the fans who yelled out, that was us! When we met up with him later he said he figured it was us! I loved Max Weinberg's introduction of DJ & as he talked about DJ helping Elvis to become the great rocker that he did, he closed by saying that ELvis is still the undisputable king of rock & roll. We went nuts! What a great statement then we learned that not only do DJ & Max have great admiration for each other but Max is a true Elvis fan. Another great moment came when Bill's kids accepted the award on behalf of their Dad. Louis became quite emotional but it was lovely. Speaking of Scotty, he was there sitting with DJ & Karen. He came to support DJ & Bill's family. And thankfully DJ stuck to his usual personna of being fun but brief. Unlike so many of the other inductees, he did not ramble on & on but still got his thanks across to everyone. He is truly a real gentleman.
benny scott wrote on April 06, 2009
Ruthie : thanks for sharing your and those great moments with us, members of this site. Always El.
Deke Rivers 6 wrote on April 06, 2009
Cannot add to this really,only glad that the have been recognised at last.Thanks for the music guy's "Too Much" pun intended !