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Elvis: How did Elvis’ bassist Bill Black die and what’s his connection to Paul McCartney? | Music | Entertainment

When Elvis Presley first shot to fame in 1956 he had a trio called The Blue Moon Boys with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black. But less than 10 years later and Bill was dead. Having gone on to form the Bill Black Combo, the bassist became ill in the early 1960s.

Tragically, Bill died of a brain tumour on October 21, 1965 aged just 39 during his third operation to eradicate the growth.

The bassist was buried next to his father William Patton Black Sr at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee.

This was the same resting place as Elvis’ mother who had died in 1958 and later the original grave of The King himself in 1977 before both were moved to Graceland.

The King was criticised for not attending Bill’s funeral as he thought his presence would turn the ceremony into a media frenzy focused on him and not the bassist.

READ MORE: Elvis’ love for his drummer Ronnie Tutt shared in tributes by Priscilla and Linda

Instead, Elvis would pay his respects by visiting Bill’s family privately after the funeral.

The King told his son Louis Black: “If there’s anything that y’all need, you just let me know and it’s yours.”

Interestingly, today Bill’s double bass is owned by Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney, who played the instrument on his latest solo album McCartney III.

The 79-year-old’s late wife Linda McCartney bought him the bass as a present during the 1970s.

Bill will be played by Adam Dunn in next year’s Elvis biopic from director Baz Luhrmann. The Warner Bros movie stars Austin Butler as The King and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker.

The new film will focus on the relationship between the star and his manager during his career from the 1950s through to the 1970s.

Filming took place in Queensland, Australia and the first stills and trailer are still yet to be unveiled by the studio.

Elvis hits cinemas on June 3, 2022.


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