Merrill Moore was born September 26, 1923, in Algona, Iowa. He learned to play the piano as a child. Moore served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He married after the war, moved to Tucson AZ, then moved to San Diego, CA. Moore kept a day job in San Diego and played piano in the dance halls and night clubs after his daytime employment. In 1950, he quit his day job and he became a full time professional musician, playing Western Swing, Honky-Tonk and Boogie-Woogie. Moore signed a recording contract with Capitol Records in 1952. He developed a piano style that fused Western Swing, Boogie-Woogie and R&B more than anyone who had come before. Because of this, he is recognized as an important pioneer of Rock & Roll. Moore, together with Amos Milburn and Moon Mullican, influenced every piano player who played Rock & Roll in the years 1954-1959, including Ike Turner, Fats Domino, Johnny Johnson (his piano is heard on Chuck Berry’s 1950s records), Little Richard, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

In 1955, Moore moved to Los Angeles CA where he became a session piano player for Capitol Records and played on many hits by Capitol recording artists. In 1962, he moved back to San Diego and resumed playing piano in hotels and clubs. He died of cancer at age 76 in the year 2000.
Rock on!

House of Blue Lights-Merrill Moore-Capitol F2574 (1953)
Big Bug Boogie-Merrill Moore-Capitol F2226 (1952)

Leave a Reply