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Joe Moretti, British guitarist, died from lung cancer he was 73

Joseph Edward “Joe” Moretti[1] was a Scottish guitarist renowned for his work on seminal UK rock and roll records such as Vince Taylor‘s “Brand New Cadillac” and Johnny Kidd & The Pirates‘ “Shakin’ All Over” died from lung cancer he was 73. He lived in South Africa until his death from lung cancer.

Moretti also worked with Gene Vincent, Vince Eager, Lesley Duncan, Nero and the Gladiators, Ronnie Jones and The Nightimers, Eddie Calvert, Johnny Duncan‘s Bluegrass Boys, Tom Jones, Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys, and Chris Farlowe.[1]

(10 May 1938 – 9 February 2012)


Moretti moved from his birthplace of Glasgow to London in November 1958 with his wife Pina, and instantly became part of the burgeoning rock and roll scene based around the The 2i’s Coffee Bar in Soho.[2][3] There he found opportunities backing up singers such as Gene Vincent, Vince Eager, Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys[4]
and other skiffle acts and nascent rock n’ roll outfits. It was in the
2i’s, in early 1959, that Moretti discovered guitarist-singer Tony Sheridan
had quit Vince Taylor’s band, The Playboys, and was asked to take his
place. Moretti toured with Taylor in the UK and cut the iconic “Brand
New Cadillac” in the spring of 1959. Shortly after, Moretti left the
band to take up with Johnny Duncan’s Bluegrass Boys. The following year,
1960, Moretti was to play guitar on another session after being called
into the studio by Johnny Kidd & The Pirates’ guitarist Alan Caddy to play leads on two songs: UK #1 single “Shakin’ All Over” and its follow-up “Restless”.

Session work and uncredited appearances

Throughout the 1960s Moretti continued to tour and record with artists such as Nero and the Gladiators, Ronnie Jones and The Nightimers and Eddie Calvert. In addition, Moretti was in demand as a session musician and, along with other UK guitarists such as Big Jim Sullivan, future Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and Vic Flick,
often himself having played guitar at a recording date without being
credited. Moretti claims to have played guitar on hits for Jet Harris and Tony Meehan (“Scarlet O’Hara” and “Applejack”)[5] and Donovan‘s hit record “Mellow Yellow“.[6]

It is now accepted that he played guitar on at least two more UK number one records: Tom Jones‘ “It’s Not Unusual” and Chris Farlowe‘s Rolling Stones cover “Out Of Time“.[7]


Moretti died from lung cancer in February 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa, aged 73.[1]

Partial discography



To see more of who died in 2012 click here

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