Floyd Cramer, 64, who played piano on Elvis Presley's...


January 01, 1998

Floyd Cramer, 64, who played piano on Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" and popularized the distinctive "slip note" style on instrumental hits such as "Last Date," died yesterday in Nashville, Tenn.

1989 Mr. Cramer was diagnosed with cancer six months ago, said his longtime manager, Gerald Purcell.

He recorded more than 50 solo albums and in 1960 had a hit with "Last Date," which became an instrumental classic. Other hits included "San Antonio Rose," "Fancy Pants" and "On the Rebound."

With guitarist Chet Atkins, saxophonist Boots Randolph and others, Mr. Cramer is credited with helping create the "Nashville sound," a smooth style sometimes called "countrypolitan," that helped lure pop audiences to country music in the 1950s and 1960s.

He played the "bent note" or "slip note" style -- hitting a note and almost instantly sliding into the next -- that influenced a generation of pianists.

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