Legendary banjo player and Country Music Hall-of-Famer Earl Scruggs passed away on March 28, after a long season of failing health. He was 88.
Scruggs was indisputably one of the most influential bluegrass banjo players of all time. His signature three-finger picking style (known today as Scruggs style), a style he developed himself, was duplicated by thousands of banjo players after him, and became a defining characteristic sound in bluegrass music.
Even if you have never been a fan of country or bluegrass, chances are you have heard Earl Scruggs play the banjo. Anybody know the theme song from The Beverly Hillbillies (“The Ballad of Jed Clampett”)? That’s Scruggs on the banjo. He also played on “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” one of the most widely recognized songs in the bluegrass genre, which was also featured in the film Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Thus, while Scruggs was obviously best known within Nashville circles, he made an indelible mark upon pop culture, as well.
Besides being a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Scruggs received numerous other awards and honors in his lifetime, including a Grammy for “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also one of the few bluegrass musicians to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Appropriately, Scruggs’s funeral was held Sunday, April 1, at the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry. He will be sorely missed.
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Posted in: Country Music