James Burton was born on August 21st 1939 in Shreveport, Louisiana. James was barely 14 years old when he joined the house band of Shreveports Louisiana, the bayou states answer to the Grand Ole Opry. His very first recording session was with Dale Hawkins, playing on his 1957 hit “Suzie Q”. One of his first solo-releases was called "Jimmy's Blues", under the name of Jimmy Burton. The now legendary musician played lead guitar for Ricky Nelson from 1957 to 1968, performing on such hits as “Hello Mary Lou” and “Travelin’ Man”, before joining the TCB-Band. In 1969, Buddy Cagle recorded the song “Guitar Player” on the Imperial label as a tribute to James Burton. Burton released two solo-albums, but neither of them was very successful. As a session man, he played for Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Tina Turner, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra and the Killer himself, Jerry Lee Lewis.
Burton is considered to be the "leader" of the TCB-Band. In fact, when Elvis called him in 1968, James put together the band for him.
In 1976, Burton told Elvis he wanted to join
Emmylou Harris’s band and said goodbye. After a raise of his salary, he was
persuaded to stay.
Elvis liked to show off with James, asking him over and over again to play
"Johnny B. Goode" to the back of his head.
Elvis liked to show off with James, asking him over and over again to play "Johnny B. Goode" to the back of his head.
After Elvis’s death, Burton toured, among others, with Emmylou Harris, John Denver and Jerry Lee Lewis. He has two Fender Signature Guitars out, and owns the James Burton Club in Louisiana. His guitar playing can be heard on countless recordings, from Elvis-tributes to experimental music, from Hanry Mancini to Bruce Springsteen. March 2001 he was inducted in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Nashville, in the sidemen-category. In 1997, Burton signed a contract with the Elvis Presley Estate to perform on the so-called virtual shows.