Floyd Cramer - Session Pianist

Floyd Cramer was born October 27, 1933 near Shreveport, Louisiana and grew up in the small Arkansas town of Huttig. At the tender age of 5, he taught himself to play the piano by ear. As a teen he moved back to Shreveport and started playing in the regular studio band on the radio program "The Louisiana Hayride". On that show he backed notable performers such as Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizell and a very young Elvis Presley.

Cramer moved to Nashville in 1955 and became a sought-after session pianist. He was known for his unique playing style called "slip note" or "bent note," which consisted of playing two notes almost simultaneously so that one leads smoothly into another with a kind of sliding sound.

He first recorded with Elvis in 1956 on the "Heartbreak Hotel" session. He continued to record with Elvis until 1968. He worked on many Elvis movie soundtracks, on Elvis's gospel albums "His Hand In Mine" and "How Great Thou Art," and on many of Elvis's pop/rock classics such as "I Gotta Woman," "I Got Stung," "A Big Hunk O' Love," "Fever," "It's Now or Never," "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and many, many more.

Floyd Cramer's stylings can also be heard on recordings by Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers, Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee and many of the other greats of the music business. He recorded over 50 albums of his own and won the 1979 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental for his song "My Blue Eyes."

Mr. Cramer funded a music scholarship at East Tennessee State University and was active in the Nashville music scene until his 1997 death from cancer. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the "sidemen" category in March 2003.