McDowell Reflects On A Kind, Gentle, Talented Friend of 41 Years
The news of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Drummer DJ Fontana’s passing last night at the age of 87 was a very personal loss for entertainer Ronnie McDowell.
Ronnie shares, “I knew DJ Fontana for 41 years, as long as Elvis Presley was alive. And he was not only someone whom I looked up to when I was a child, but he became one of my closest friends.”
Fontana played with Presley for 14 years, accompanying him on over 460 cuts for RCA including rock and roll standards like “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock.” Fontana was with Elvis during his landmark appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, as well as his legendary “’68 Comeback Special” and several films.
Through his years with Elvis Presley, who was known for giving away cars, DJ Fontana never got one from Elvis. So when Ronnie McDowell’s career took off, he bought DJ a Cadillac. The story is included in Ronnie McDowell’s biography “Bringing It To You Personally.” Ronnie McDowell, most recently, sought DJ Fontana’s approval by giving him the first look at one of his original paintings of Elvis getting his first guitar which was to be unveiled on the first episode of his new television show, “Painting America.” DJ loved it.
McDowell recalls, “DJ was a kind and gentle spirit and very funny. It was always a treat working on the road all those years with him. I wish I could go back and do it again.”
Of his time with Elvis, DJ once said keeping it simple was the key, “Me and Scotty and Elvis, and that’s all we really needed.”
Fontana would play with an array of rock and country legends over the next several decades, including Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Charley Pride, Jerry Lee Lewis, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison and Ronnie McDowell.
“He will be missed by me and millions and millions of fans. Rest in peace DJ! I love you,” concludes McDowell.
Ronnie McDowell will be performing a special Hawaiian Luau with Elvis’s music and a tribute to DJ Fontana on June 23rd at the historic Donoho Hotel in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee. The public is invited. Please visit www.ronniemcdowell.com for tickets and more information or call 615-699-3141 for hotel reservations.
About Ronnie McDowell: Ronnie McDowell entertains audiences worldwide with his own blend of romantic intimacy and country excitement! Ronnie McDowell charted a string of hit singles between 1979 and 1986… “Older Women”… “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation”… “Watchin Girls Go By” …and “In A New York Minute.” The Vietnam Veteran’s admiration for Elvis led to McDowell singing 36 songs on the soundtrack “Elvis,” the Dick Clark-produced television movie that featured Kurt Russell as the performer. He also was the singing voice for the television movie “Elvis And Me”, the ABC television series about the early years of Elvis’ career titled simply “Elvis” as well as, the 1997 Showtime special “Elvis Meets Nixon.” McDowell is a true artist and his creativity has expanded to original paintings for Walt Disney along with painting of some of pop culture’s biggest celebrities from Elvis to Dolly Parton to Clark Gable.http://www.countryschatter.com/2018/06/ronnie-mcdowell-reflects-on-his-longtime-friend-dj-fontana/MiscellaneousPress Release"Bringing It To You Personally",Charley Pride,dj fontana,Dolly Parton,Elvis Presley,Jerry Lee Lewis,Painting America,Paul McCartney,Ringo Starr,Ronnie McDowell,Roy Orbison,Waylon Jennings