Bluegrass Pioneer Earl Scruggs Dies at Age 88
Earl Scruggs, known as the pioneer of the 3-finger banjo style, has died at the age of 88. Before Scruggs, the banjo was played in a claw-hammer fashion. Pioneering a new way to play, Scruggs added metal picks onto the thumb and first 2 fingers. The sound of banjo changed to a more constant, driving sound.
Scruggs was a North Carolina native and became widely famous after being hired by Bill Monroe in 1945. In 1948 Scruggs left the band to join partner Lester Flatt to form the Foggy Mountain Boys, later renamed Flatt & Scruggs. Scruggs had many hits including the Beverly Hillbillies Theme song and Foggy Mountain Breakdown (known for being played in car chase scenes in Bonnie and Clyde).
The song would eventually win the duo a Grammy award in 1969. Scruggs has also been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and has a National Medal of Arts.
Scruggs is one of the most widely influential musicians to ever play the banjo. He has worked with other famous musicians such as Ricky Skaggs, John Fogerty, Elton John, Sting, Johnny Cash, Don Henley, Travis Tritt, and Billy Bob Thornton. Scruggs also played along side Doc Watsonat Merlefest a few years back.
Earl Scruggs truly was a pioneer and helped shaped bluegrass into the popular genre that it is today. His influence is immeasurable and his legacy will live on through the musicians he has influenced for a long time.