The Spectacle Blog

Earl Scruggs, R.I.P.

By on 3.29.12 | 10:55AM

Bluegrass and country music legend Earl Scruggs passed away yesterday of natural causes. He was 88.

Scruggs developed his own unique style of banjo playing which attracted the attention of Bill Monroe in 1945. It was while in Monroe's band he met guitarist and mandolin player Lester Flatt. Three years later they went on their own and formed the Foggy Mountain Boys although they were also known simply as Flatt & Scruggs. They were best known for the instrumental "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" (the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies). They also had interesting takes on songs like The Monkees' hit "Last Train to Clarksville" and "Nashville Skyline Rag" which was later recorded by Bob Dylan. Flatt & Scruggs went their separate ways in 1969 and formed their own bands. In 1979, Flatt passed away of heart failure shortly before his 65th birthday.

Ten years ago, Scruggs won a Grammy for a recording of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" which featured Steve Martin, Paul Shaffer, Albert Lee, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill and Marty Stuart. Here they are performing it on The Late Show with David Letterman.

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