Floyd Cramer master of the ‘slip note’

Country Music Hall of Fame pianist Floyd Cramer played piano for such stars as Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, Don Gibson and the Everly Brothers.

But it was his 1960 piano solo ‘Last Date’ that made him famous. The “lonesome cowboy” melody sold over one million copies and went to number two on Billboard’s ‘Hot 100’ pop music chart. It was shut out from the number one spot by Elvis’s ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ — in which the pianist was none other than Floyd Cramer.

His “slip note” style of playing was described by Floyd himself as “a whole-tone slur which gives more of a lonesome cowboy sound. You hit a note and slide almost simultaneously to another.” The unique style became a key “Nashville sound” of the 1950s and 1960s and influenced a generation of pianists.

Floyd Cramer died on December 31, 1997. He was 64.


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