Earl Eugene Scruggs (January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012) was an American musician noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo picking style, now called "Scruggs style", that is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. His three-finger style of playing was radically different from the ways the five-string banjo had been historically played. He popularized the instrument in several genres of music and elevated the banjo from its role as a background rhythm instrument, or a comedian's prop, into featured solo status.
Scruggs' career began at age 21 when he was hired to play in a group called "Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys". The name "bluegrass" eventually became the eponym for the entire genre of country music now known by that title. Despite considerable success with Monroe, performing on the Grand Ole Opry and recording classic hits like "Blue Moon of Kentucky", Scruggs resigned from the group in 1946 because of their exhausting touring schedule. Band member Lester Flatt resigned as well, and he and Scruggs later paired up in a new group called "Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys". Scruggs' banjo instrumental called "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", released in 1949, became an enduring hit, and had a rebirth of popularity to a younger generation when it was featured in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. The song won two Grammy Awards and, in 2005, was selected for the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of works of unusual merit.
Flatt and Scruggs brought bluegrass music into mainstream popularity in the early 1960s with their country hit, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett"—the theme music for the successful network television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies—which was the first bluegrass recording to reach number one on the Billboard charts. Over their 20-year association, Flatt and Scruggs recorded over 50 albums and 75 singles. The duo broke up in 1969, chiefly because, where Scruggs wanted to switch styles to fit a more modern sound, Flatt was a traditionalist who opposed the change, and believed doing so would alienate a fan base of bluegrass purists. Although each of them formed a new band to match their visions, neither of them ever regained the success they had achieved as a team.
Scruggs received four Grammy awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a National Medal of Arts. He became a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1985, Flatt and Scruggs were inducted together into the Country Music Hall of Fame and named, as a duo, number 24 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music. Scruggs was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts; the highest honor in the folk and traditional arts in the US. Four works by Scruggs have been placed in the Grammy Hall of Fame. After Scruggs' death in 2012 at age 88, the Earl Scruggs Center was founded near his birthplace in Shelby, North Carolina, with the aid of a federal grant and corporate donors. The center is a $5.5 million facility which features the musical contributions of Scruggs and serves as an educational center providing classes and field trips for students.Read more...
Earl Scruggs Albums (Discography) ListAlbums Timeline
Download List in Mind Map/Freemind Format
Download List in PDF Format
- You can vote up or down. Please always consider the context when voting, e.g. a song should be voted up or down with respect to the other songs contained on the album, an actor's performance in comparison with other actors in the same movie, a book with respect to other books by the same author or within the same genre.
- A vote can be cancelled by simply clicking the opposite vote within 24 hours. You can then vote again on the same item.
- Each user has one vote per item within a specific list every 24 hours. After 24 hours you can vote again on the same item within the same list.
- You can vote on as many items as you like within a list or on the same item if it's part of another list. For example, you can vote David Bowie up or down on the list of pop music artists as well as on the list of indie rock artists and on the list of rock music artists. etc.
- Happy Voting!