Earl Scruggs Passes Away

April 1, 2012 by Amy Gold

Earl Scruggs

Country Music Hall of Famer and legendary bluegrass musician Earl Scruggs passed away on Wednesday, March 28th, 2012, at the age of 88. Scruggs, an innovative banjo player and four-time winner of the Grammy Awards, had experienced failing health for quite a while, according to son Gary Scruggs.

Scruggs was a country music pop culture icon who is known by generations for "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," the theme song for the popular television sitcom, "The Beverly Hillbillies." He also gained fame for "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," a classic hit he created with friend and guitar player Lester Flat for the popular 1967 movie, "Bonnie and Clyde."

The country music legend was born on January 6, 1924 as Earl Eugene Scruggs in North Carolina. As a member of the Blue Grass Boys in the mid-1940s, Scruggs perfected his three-fingered banjo picking style, later known as Scruggs' style. His innovative approach to banjo-playing coupled with the sounds he was able to coax forth from the strings made Scruggs stand out from the crowd.

Scruggs was a tremendous influence on those who worked with him, as well as others in the music industry, such as Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead. His influence stretched beyond those he worked directly with and his passing will be felt as a hole in the heart, according to country music singer Connie Smith.

In addition to his son, Gary, Scruggs is also survived by another son, Randy. His beloved wife, Louise Scruggs, preceded him in death in 2006.