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EARL SCRUGGS

  • From Shelby, North Carolina. Lived in Madison, Tennessee.
  • Full name: Earl Eugene Scruggs.
  • Credited with being the first master of the three-finger style of banjo-playing which characterizes bluegrass music and which bears his name. Every bluegrass banjo player plays a variation of “Scruggs-style” banjo.
  • First pro job: Age 15, played banjo with Zeke and Wiley Morris, the Morris Brothers.
  • 1945, age 21, joined Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys.
  • 1948, Earl and Lester Flatt left Monroe’s band to form their own group, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys.
  • 1969, after 21 years, he parted company with Lester Flatt to form a new country-rock band with his sons, Gary, Randy and Steve: The Earl Scruggs Revue. The group disbanded ten years later.
  • 1992, was presented with a National Medal of Artistic Achievement by President George Bush in a ceremony at the White House.
  • 1994, received the Million-Air Award from BMI representing one million broadcast performances of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”
  • 1996, underwent hip replacement surgery and suffered a heart attack requiring bypass surgery, all in the same month (October).
  • 1997, returned to the stage, performing at the IBMA Awards Show, the Grand Ole Opry (with Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and Alison Krauss), and selected festivals. Also played on son Randy’s solo album, and was nominated for Banjo Player of the Year (1998 IBMA Awards).
  • 2002, won Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” from his Earl Scruggs And Friends album (MCA Nashville).
  • 2003, received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • 2003, recorded and performed with Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs as The Three Pickers (Rounder).
  • Quote from John Hartford: “Who was the first three-finger style banjo picker? It doesn’t really matter, because without Earl no one would be asking that question.”
  • Quote from Sammy Shelor: “Without Earl Scruggs, none of us would be here.”
  • 2005, the Country Music Hall of Fame presented a year-long special exhibit honoring Earl Scruggs titled “Banjo Man: the Life and Legacy of Earl Scruggs.”
  • 2005, appeared on the David Letterman show with Steve Martin, Peter Wernick and other banjo players in a group called “Men With Banjos Who Know How to Use Them.” They played “Foggy Mountain Banjo” together.
  • 2008, received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
  • 2008, released Earl Scruggs with Family & Friends: The Ultimate Collection – Live at the Ryman (Rounder), recorded in 2007 at age 83.
  • 2010, his wife Louise was inducted into the IBMA’s Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame for her contributions to the business side of bluegrass.
  • 2012, died on March 28 at the age of 88.
  • 2014, The Earl Scruggs Center, a museum honoring the life and legacy of Earl Scruggs, was opened in his home town of Shelby on January 11.
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