Celebration of Life Planned For Joe Guercio

joe guercio1A celebration of life for late musical director and arranger Joe Guercio will take place Saturday, Feb. 28, 3 p.m. at The Nashville Palace.

Guercio, best known as Elvis Presley’s musical director from 1970 to the King’s final concert in 1977, unexpectedly passed away in Nashville on Jan. 4. He also worked with numerous musical giants including Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight and Patti Page. In addition, he was the Musical Director for the International Hotel in Las Vegas for many years.

It was Guercio who created the iconic six-note theme for Elvis’ stage entrance and bows. He also suggested that Elvis’ shows open with the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Starting in 1997, Guercio served as the conductor for Elvis: The Concert, which paired a live band with archival Presley recordings. He was also Musical Director for the “Elvis 35th Anniversary Concert” in Memphis in 2012.

Guercio continued to conduct Elvis tribute shows and work with new artists until he died at age 87.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to MusiCares, 109 Wedgewood Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212, or Johnson’s Chapel, 201 High Lea Rd., Brentwood, TN 37027.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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