Thursday, 29 March 2012

Earl Scruggs, January 6, 1924 - March 28, 2012: A Legend Beyond Borders

[ Editor's Update: A worthy and well written article about Earl Scruggs may be found online at this link: Earl Scruggs: Bluegrass Legend ]

Earl Scruggs: Miami Pop Music Fest 1968

As previously reported banjo innovator and pioneer Earl Scruggs passed away in a Nashville hospital yesterday morning: March 28, 2012. Family spokesperson, son Randy Scruggs, has not released details of his father's passing, despite various media accounts. The Scruggs family has always maintained their privacy and Earl's death is no exception. However it is known in the past several years that Earl has suffered occasional bouts of pneumonia, and a heart attack in 1998 during surgical procedures on his hip. He also had recurring issues with back pains due to a car crash and a rough landing in a small airplane, which Earl used to fly out of Cornelia Fort Airpark in Nashville, TN. Earl was preceded in death by his wife and pioneering music businesswoman Louise Certain Scruggs and their youngest son, Steve.

The following is a very short list of accomplishments and indisputable facts about Earl Scruggs:
* Earl began playing the 5-string banjo at age 4.
* Earl taught himself to play banjo by listening to radio and records.
* Earl had impeccable timing.
* Earl and his unique banjo style played a major role in the development and eventual success of the definitive sound of Blue Grass music when he worked with the 'Father of Blue Grass' Bill Monroe from December 8, 1945, until his departure with Lester Flatt in early 1948.
* Earl enjoyed performing all styles and genres of music. He performed and recorded with an amazing list of artists from Maybelle Carter to Bill Monroe and Bob Dylan; The Byrds, Elton John, and sitar legend Ravi Shankar. Earl's love for music knew no boundaries.
* Earl Scruggs introduced the Blue Grass 5-string banjo to more countries than any other banjo player in history.

Grand Ole Opry manager and boss George D. Hay (also known as The Solemn Ol' Judge) introduced Earl Scruggs in his Opry appearances with Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys as "the boy who makes the banjo talk". Indeed he did, and Earl continued to do just that for 84 years!

Whether he was jamming with fans and friends in his living room, or making guest appearances onstage, Earl loved to play his guitar and banjo.

For a more detailed and factual account of Earl Scruggs' life and career, as well as a unique photo gallery, see this online news article from the Nashville publication, The Tennessean .

A public funeral service will be held at the Ryman Auditorium on Sunday, April 1st.