Earl Scruggs, bluegrass legend, died at 88, and fans are remembering him the best way they can — through revisiting some of his exuberant performances.
Terence McArdle wrote about Scruggs’s legacy in his Post obituary:
Mr. Scruggs’s flashy, three-fingered banjo style was a new sound to most audiences when he joined the popular band Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys in 1946. Mr. Scruggs’s technique expanded the melodic possibilities of the instrument, putting it on equal footing with the fiddle and mandolin. He also succeeded in changing the reputation of banjo players as comic relief — they had often been portrayed as clowns — to that of skillful soloists.
Scruggs went from self-taught musician to 2008 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winner. Some of his most famous works include “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” the theme song for “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” the theme from the film “Bonnie and Clyde,” which won a Grammy in 1968.
Scruggs won a Grammy for re-recording “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” in 2001 with actor Steve Martin, among other musicians.
On the song “Flint Hill Special,” McArdle writes that Scruggs “created a slurring effect like a steel guitar by turning the string’s tuning peg. The trick became part of the song’s melody, and Mr. Scruggs later added extra tuning pegs to the banjo to make the de-tuning easier.”
Scruggs won a Grammy for best country instrumental performance in 2004 for “Earl’s Breakdown.”