Earl Scruggs, Blue Grass musician, creator of Beverly Hillbillies theme, dies at 88
Earl Scruggs, the banjo playing, singing and composing great whose twanging bluegrass themes for TV’s The Beverly Hillbillies and the Bonnie and Clyde movie achieved Top of the Chart status in the ’60s, died Wednesday of natural causes at a Nashville hospital, his son Gary Scruggs told CNN. He was 88.
“It’s not just bluegrass, it’s American music,” bluegrass fan-turned-country star Dierks Bentley told the Associated Press about Scruggs’s output. “There’s 17- or 18-year-old kids turning on today’s country music and hearing that banjo and they have no idea where that came from. That sound has probably always been there for them and they don’t realize someone invented that three-finger roll style of playing. You hear it everywhere.”
Scruggs was born in North Carolina into a family in which everyone played an instrument, and, according to his biography, he could play the banjo by the time he was 4 and started to develop his distinctive (and lifelong) three-finger style at 10.