Earl Scruggs

(banjo - 12/1945-2/1948)
Opry performance circa 1947. Click for full version.

Born: 1/6/1924    Died: 3/28/2012

As a Blue Grass Boy: Earl Scruggs joined the Blue Grass Boys late in 1945. He introduced the three-finger picking style to the band, bringing the banjo to the same level of virtuosity as Bill's mandolin. Scruggs' style came to define bluegrass banjo. This group - Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Chubby Wise and Cedric Rainwater - recorded 28 tracks in 1946 and 1947, including the instrumental "Bluegrass Breakdown", a Monroe composition that later became a banjo standard. He left in early 1948, wanting to travel less, but soon after joined up again with Flatt.

Recording Sessions: 9/16/1946, 9/17/1946, 10/27/1947, 10/28/1947

Before and After: His long partnership with Lester Flatt was one of the most successful bluegrass bands ever. Earl's "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" is the best known of all bluegrass banjo tunes, and their "Ballad of Jed Clampett" is known to anyone who ever saw the "Beverly Hillbillies" on television. He and Flatt were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985, and in 1991 they, along with Bill Monroe, were the first inductees into the IBMA Hall of Honor. After his split with Flatt in 1969, Scruggs formed the Earl Scruggs Revue, a band featuring three of his sons. Although he has performed only rarely in recent years, in 2001 he released his first new album since the 1980s, and received a Grammy award for the version of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" from that album.

Honors: Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Hall of Fame (1984); Country Music Hall of Fame (1985); SPBGMA Preservation Hall of Greats (1985); IBMA Hall of Honor (1991); National Heritage Award (1989)

Links: Earl Scruggs' official website
Flatt and Scruggs Preservation Society
Country Music Hall of Fame profile