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He Backed 'The King' For Years

Drummer Ronnie Tutt was 83
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2021 12:00 AM CDT
Elvis Presley's Drummer Dies at 83
Elvis Presley performs at Madison Square Garden in this June 1972 photo provided by George Kalinsky.   (AP Photo/From the Lens of George Kalinsky)

(Newser) – From 1969 until Elvis Presley's death in 1977, Ronnie Tutt played drums for "The King." Now Tutt, 83, is dead, TMZ reports. His wife says he had a longtime heart condition and there was no longer anything that could be done to treat it; "he couldn't play another drum lick." Not wanting to be hospitalized, she says, he died peacefully of natural causes surrounded by family at his Tennessee home.

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Tutt was an original member of Takin' Care of Business, also known as the TCB Band, the band that backed Presley at his performances, USA Today reports. The band was formed in 1969 for Presley's Las Vegas opening, Pitchfork reports. "All of us with Elvis Presley Enterprises were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ronnie Tutt," the organization says in a statement. "In addition to being a legendary drummer, he was a good friend to many of us here at Graceland."

He became Neil Diamond's drummer after Presley's death, and also played with artists including The Carpenters, Roy Orbison, Billy Joel, and Jerry Garcia. He recorded with Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Elvis Costello, Stevie Nicks, and Michael McDonald, and also went on to play Presley's hits at "Elvis in Concert" shows after Presley's death. (Read more obituary stories.)

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