Today is the 81st birthday of Scotty Moore, the affable gentleman from Memphis who calmly set the fuse to rock and roll as Elvis Presley’s right hand guitar man.

Lightning licks were not Scotty’s forte but he did have some serious tone (thanks to his Kalamazoo made archtops) and on hits like "Hound Dog," “Too Much,” “Baby Let’s Play House,” and his unbeatable solo on “That’s All Right, Mama,” inspired just about every kid in the western world to get a guitar and make some noise.

The Broadway would get you there nicely if you don't have something like this in your arsenal.

Pick on any of Scotty’s mid-‘50s solos and you’ll hear bits of Lowell Fulson, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Les Paul, George Barnes, and probably a few unheralded cats from Memphis as well. You’ll also learn a lot about the fretboard and how to back up a vocalist. And it goes without saying that Scotty, along with Chuck Berry, authored chapters one and two on how to play a rock and roll guitar solo. The fact that Scotty went from a little studio in Memphis to the bright lights of New York in so little time and never once faltered is still an inspiring story, especially when you consider that most older, more accomplished guitarists looked down on kids like Scotty and fellow Tennesseans Carl Perkins and Paul Burlison. Who has the last laugh now?

Happy Birthday, Scotty!