Sadly, the world has lost another incredible talent. D.J. Fontana, Elvis Presley’s longtime drummer, passed away at 87. His wife revealed that the musician died in his sleep in Nashville. He had been suffering complications following his hip injury in 2016.
Fontana met Presley and other group members on a popular radio program, the Louisiana Hayride. First, he joined them just for a session broadcast. But in a year, he became a permanent member.
Before meeting Fontana, Elvis had been playing a blend of country, pop, and blues. But with D.J., their music finally got rock n’ roll vibes in it. Together, they were working through much of the 1960s.
Fontana was there for Elvis’ first wave of success, played on numerous soundtracks, and appeared in 1968 Christmas TV along with Presley and fellow musicians. He also worked with Starr, Webb Pierce, and Gene Vincent among others. And everybody he had to work or communicate with believed he was a very talented musician and just a wonderful person, including Elvis’ ex-wife, Priscilla Presley.
He was loved by everybody all over the world. He treated everybody like everybody was his friend.
It’s no surprise countless fans from all over the world took to social media platforms to pay tribute to the late drummer and send their condolences to the family.
Without D.J. Fontana, there might well have not been a Mighty Max. Thoughts and prayers with the family of the man who inspired @EStreetMax to pick up pair of drumsticks. Rest in rhythm. https://t.co/KDXvrydmgV— Ali Rogin (@AliABCNews) June 14, 2018
It's sad that he has passed but it's nice to know that they are all back together again in heaven may they all rest in peace xx— Valerie king (@Valerie79697764) June 14, 2018
What a great man what a great life..— B. L. Stryker💧 (@Ratpack09) June 14, 2018
RIP DJ Fontana, Elvis' drummer in their earliest days, who played on "Heartbreak Hotel," "Jailhouse Rock" has died. He got his start (like so many did) on the Louisiana Hayride. Article about Fontana in the Commercial Appeal: https://t.co/6cqwa61N3Y— Sheila O'Malley (@sheilakathleen) June 14, 2018
Elvis with the boys; D.J. Fontana (left), Scotty Moore (center) and Bill Black in Las Vegas May 4, #Elvis1956. Elvis was making his first Vegas appearance at the New Frontier Hotel #ElvisHistory pic.twitter.com/TBROXZfHLk— Dєภเรє ♡ Cคђ๏๏ภ (@denisecahoon4) June 14, 2018
Rest in peace, D.J. Fontana!