Classic Drummer Hall of Fame
Honoring Music's Most Influential Drummers
As voted by the readers of Classic Drummer Magazine
While historians may debate the exact moment rock and roll was born, what is irrefutable is that D. J. Fontana was there and his stick marks are all over it. In 1954 the rules for rock and roll drumming had yet to be shaped. However, within a few months the former Louisiana Hayride drummer had come from behind the stage curtains that hid country drummers of the day and joined guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black to back a guy from Tupelo named Elvis. Together they created a foundation for rock and roll that has continued to influence the genre to this day.
During his fifteen-year relationship with Elvis Presley, D.J. Fontana went from playing joints and county fairs to performing on Elvis’ early and historic television appearances, to recording scores of gold and platinum records, and even appearing on his critically acclaimed ’68 Comeback Special.
His contributions as a rock and roll founding father have been recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where he was inducted in the sideman category in 2009. From the scintillating triplets of Hound Dog, to the arresting back beats of Jail House Rock, to the somewhere-between-a-shuffle-and-straight-eighths groove that only D.J. seems to be able to perfect, D.J. Fontana is a one of a kind innovator and artist.