Born: May 10, 1938; Died: February 9, 2012.
Joe Moretti, who has died aged 73, was a professional guitarist who worked with many leading pop acts of the 1950s and 1960s, before establishing himself as a regular on the London session scene.
One of seven children, his first experience of showbusiness was as a teenager, when he entered a talent contest to find Scotland's Tommy Steele but lost out to Alex Harvey.
He then toured with Harvey and another runner-up, Sydney Devine. After a spell with another local act, Ricky Barnes, Joe and his wife Pina headed to London in November 1958.
He recalled: "We had travelled on the overnight bus from Glasgow and had with us the grand sum of £11 in cash, two suitcases containing our clothes and a couple of pots and pans, knives and forks to set up home."
He was recruited by Colin Hicks (Tommy Steele's younger brother) to join the Cabin Boys, alongside Tony Belcher (a future member of Marty Wilde's Wildcats) and Jimmie Nicol, later to be a stand-in drummer with the Beatles. From there, he moved on to work with Vince Eager, including a pantomime season in Southport, returning to London in January, 1959.
A chance meeting with Brian Locking and Brian Bennett at the 2is, resulted in an offer to replace Tony Sheridan in Vince Taylor's Playboys. In April of that year he played on Taylor's second single, Brand New Cadillac.
His most famous recording stemmed from an invitation from Alan Caddy to augment the line-up of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates for a recording session at Abbey Road. Fearing that HMV would invite an unsuitable session musician to fill out the sound of the trio (Caddy on guitar, Brian Gregg on bass and Clem Cattini on drums) the Pirates asked Moretti to join them.
He played the distinctive guitar riff on Shakin' All Over, though Gregg is emphatic that, although Moretti played the riff, it was written by Caddy. Alongside Cliff Richard's Move It (which featured another Glaswegian guitarist, Ernie Shear) the Kidd single remains one of the classics of British rock'n'roll in the pre-Beatles era. Moretti also played on Restless, Kidd's follow-up 45.
After the Playboys split later in 1959, Moretti moved on to take over from Denny Wright in Johnny Duncan's Bluegrass Boys, and his CV also included touring with Gene Vincent as well as stints with Eddie Calvert and Nero and the Gladiators, where he replaced founder Colin Green who had moved on to join Georgie Fame.
An initial attempt to move into the session field was less than successful. Booked to play bass guitar, Moretti discovered at the studio that his borrowed instrument lacked its bottom string and to his horror the music was written in bass clef.
Like many guitarists, he could only read treble clef and after one number he was asked to pack up and leave the studio.
He found himself back on the road with chart-topping ex-Shadows Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. Following two solo hits, Harris had teamed with Meehan to record Jerry Lordan's Diamonds (a recording which featured the first session appearance by Jimmy Page) and they had further hits with Scarlett O'Hara and Applejack.
Many years later Moretti confirmed that, as well as being part of the touring band, he had played lead guitar on these hits, not Harris. When Harris was badly injured in a car crash, it was left to Meehan to continue.
Along with Moretti, the Tony Meehan Combo included guitarist John McLaughlin and John Baldwin (aka John Paul Jones) but after one single and one tour, the band folded.
After a spell with the Cyril Stapleton Orchestra at Streatham Locarno, Moretti moved into session work, more successfully this time.
His credits included recordings with Lulu, Alma Cogan, Lesley Duncan, Don Partridge, Tom Jones, Chris Farlowe, Donovan, Petula Clark, Nick Ingman, Johnny Dankworth, Shirley MacLaine and memorably dressing as a toreador for a TV appearance with Barbra Streisand.
With Ray Russell and Hank Marvin, he was one of the principal rock musicians on the original recording of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita.
However, the London session scene was changing and he made the decision to move to Sun City and later to Johannesburg.
Pina worked as a theatrical costumier/designer on many movies and TV productions, while Joe gigged with musicians such as local jazzer John Fourie. Although he visited the UK and went round many of his old haunts, South Africa was now his home and he died in Johannesburg of lung cancer.
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