Ronnie Tutt, drummer for Elvis Presley, dead at 83

Ronnie Tutt, who drummed for Elvis Presley and the Jerry Garcia Band and was an established session musician for Billy Joel and others, died Saturday. He was 83.

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Tutt’s death was announced by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Rolling Stone reported. No cause of death was given, the magazine reported.

“All of us with Elvis Presley Enterprises were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ronnie Tutt, the organization wrote on the Graceland website. “In addition to being a legendary drummer, he was a good friend to many of us here at Graceland.

“It’s with deep sadness that my family and I share the loss of our beloved dad,” Tutt’s daughter, Terie Tutt, wrote on Facebook. “The Legendary Drummer, Ronnie Tutt, ‘has left the building.’”

Ronnie Tutt’s death was also reported by TMZ, who said Tutt died in Franklin, Tennessee.

“He couldn’t play another drum lick,” his wife, Donna Tutt, told the outlet.

“We enjoyed each time he joined us here to celebrate Elvis Week, Elvis’ Birthday and many other special occasions. Ronnie was an amazing ambassador to Elvis’ legacy -- sharing his memories of working with Elvis with fans -- as well as bringing Elvis’ music to arenas around the globe through later Elvis in Concert shows and performances,” Donna Tutt wrote.

Ronnie Tutt, who was born in Dallas, joined Presley’s TCB Band after the singer’s 1968 comeback special, Rolling Stone reported. He played drums for Presley when he opened in Las Vegas in 1969, and remained with the TCB Band in the decades after Presley’s death in August 1977.

While still working for Presley, Tutt spent two years during the 1970s drumming for the Jerry Garcia Band, the magazine reported.

Tutt described the differences between performing alongside Presley and Garcia in a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone.

“I’d always laugh because one night I’d be in Vegas playing with rhinestone two-piece outfits and the next night I’d be out with Garcia with the tie-dye and a pair of jeans. Socially speaking it was really different,” Tutt told the magazine. “Elvis’ music was a lot more in your face; you could never play enough. But with Jerry, we never talked about it, but I just knew my role with that band, no matter what configuration it was, was to help keep it together.”

Tutt also toured with Neil Diamond and played drums on two Billy Joel albums -- “Piano Man” in 1973, and “Streetlife Serenade” the following year, Rolling Stone reported. As a session drummer, he also played on albums released by Buckingham Nicks, Gram Parsons, Elvis Costello and Johnny Cash.


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