Country legend Earl Scruggs died in a Nashville hospital on Wednesday. He was 88.
According to The Associated Press, his son Gary said the musician died of natural causes. The banjo player was a bluegrass icon who brought his distinct three-finger style from its ’50s and ’60s heyday to a new generation of folk musicians, performing with artists such as Bob Dylan and the Byrds as well as his sons in the Earl Scruggs Revue.
His performances with Joan Baez, Dylan and others were captured in the documentary “The Complete Earl Scruggs Story,” which showcased his efforts to establish the banjo as a vibrant piece of the Woodstock-era scene.
Born in Shelby, North Carolina, Scruggs got his start with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in 1945. Three years later, he partnered with guitarist Lester Flatt to form the Foggy Mountain Boys, a musical team that lasted until 1969.
Scruggs is perhaps best known for the instrumental “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” as well as “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” the theme song of ’60s television show “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
In 2008, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; he is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
• Earl Scruggs: http://earlscruggs.com
[Photo: Paul Butterfield]