1960 Fender Precision Bass & Case Owned and Played by the Legendary Bill Black. As a classic icon of Rockabilly, Bill Black was one of the first bass players to adopt the Fender Precision Bass (often known as a "P Bass") guitar. Offered here is one of Black's beloved instruments -- a beautiful playing bass with a nice Brazilian slab board and a slim fretboard angle. The fretboard is a dream! A few touch ups on the back of the body are nicely done. There is some checking and one worn area near the bridge, but the bass is 100% original. The pots date to the 47th week of 1959 and the instrument was probably manufactured in January 1960. The neck has never been off the guitar. A fabulous instrument even aside from the amazing provenance.
Black's career started at the age of sixteen playing acoustic guitar in local bars in his hometown of Memphis. By 1952 he had hooked up with guitarist Scotty Moore and by 1954 the duo of Black and Moore was formed into a trio with a then-unknown performer, Elvis Presley. Black played on many early Presley recordings but he is most noted for playing a Precision Bass for Elvis in the making of the movie Jailhouse Rock. Black left Presley's employ in 1958 and formed the Bill Black Combo which scored a number of Top Forty hits. Even though poor health kept Black off the road from 1963 until his untimely death in 1965, the Bill Black Combo was still highly loved and respected by four young lads from Liverpool. The Beatles asked them to open on their first American tour in 1964.
Included to document the guitar's ownership is a certificate from Black's children, Lewis Black and Nancy Black Shockley, as well as the Loan Agreement from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, where this bass guitar was on display with other Bill Black mementoes in 2009.
Of course, we don't know who will bid on and win this fine Bill Black-owned Fender Precision Bass, but we do know they will be in good company. His original stand-up bass is owned today by one of those four young Liverpool lads, Paul McCartney, gifted to him by his wife Linda in the late 1970s. In 2006, Black's daughter, Nancy Shockley, was invited to meet McCartney in England and see her dad's bass. When asked if she wished it were back in the family, she is quoted as saying that she would, but "...it's in the best hands it could be right now. He takes care of it. He loves it. He keeps it alive. And I would like it to stay with him." That is an instrument that Paul McCartney treasures and still plays; this is an instrument that will certainly be treasured and played by the lucky future owner. Estimate: $10,000 - up. Opening bid 5,000 US Dollars
Elvis Presley Related - Bill Black's Cash Box Award. Black's award plaque from Cash Box magazine, presented to him in recognition of Bill Black's Combo's being voted "Best Instrumentalist of 1960" in the Cash Box Music Operators Poll. The award measures 15" x 15" and is in Excellent condition. Estimate: $1,000 - up. Opening bid 500 US Dollars
Elvis Presley Related - Bill Black's "White Silver Sands" In-House Gold Single Award. Presented by Hi Records to Bill Black to commemorate the sale of his one-millionth record, specifically this 1957 Red Matthews tune covered by Bill Black's Combo in 1960. Black's version reached #7 in the Billboard Pop Chart and #1 on the R&B Sides chart. The plaque measures 12" x 15" is in Very Fine to Excellent condition. Estimate: $1,000 - up. Opening bid 500 US Dollars.
Location: Beverly Hills, CA
Heritage Auctions - Beverly Hills
9478 West Olympic Blvd., 1st Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Auction Dates: November 13-14, 2010
Lot Viewing: November 10-13, 2010 Beverly Hills, CA