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Flatt and Scruggs

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Flatt and Scruggs
Earl Scruggs (left) and Lester Flatt (right) in 1949
Earl Scruggs (left) and Lester Flatt (right) in 1949
Background information
OriginTennessee (Flatt), North Carolina (Scruggs)
GenresBluegrass, country
Years active1948–1969
LabelsMercury, Columbia, Harmony
Past membersLester Flatt
Earl Scruggs

Flatt and Scruggs were an American bluegrass duo. Singer and guitarist Lester Flatt and banjo player Earl Scruggs, both of whom had been members of Bill Monroe's band, the Bluegrass Boys, from 1945 to 1948, formed the duo in 1948. Flatt and Scruggs are viewed by music historians as one of the premier bluegrass groups in the history of the genre.[1]

Flatt and Scruggs recorded and performed together until 1969.[1] Their backing band, the Foggy Mountain Boys, included fiddle player Paul Warren, a master player in both the old-time and bluegrass fiddling styles whose technique reflected all qualitative aspects of "the bluegrass breakdown" and fast bowing style; dobro player Uncle Josh Graves, an innovator of the advanced playing style of the instrument now used in the genre; stand-up bass player Cousin Jake Tullock; and mandolinist Curly Seckler.[1]



Lester Flatt worked for Monroe at the time Earl Scruggs was considered for Bill Monroe's band, the Blue Grass Boys, in 1945. The two left that band early in 1948, and within a few months had formed the Foggy Mountain Boys. Flatt's rhythm-guitar style and vocals and Scruggs' banjo style gave them a distinctive sound that won them many fans. In 1955, they became members of the Grand Ole Opry.[2]

Scruggs, who had always shown progressive tendencies, experimented on duets with saxophonist King Curtis and added songs by the likes of Bob Dylan to the group's repertoire. Flatt, a traditionalist, did not like these changes, and the group broke up in 1969.[2] Following the breakup, Lester Flatt founded the Nashville Grass and Scruggs led the Earl Scruggs Revue. Flatt died of heart failure in Nashville, Tennessee, May 11, 1979 at the age of 64.[3] Scruggs died from natural causes on March 28, 2012 in a Nashville hospital.[4][5]

Flatt and Scruggs were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985. In 2003, they ranked No. 24 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music, one of only four non-solo artists to make the list (The Eagles, Alabama, and Brooks & Dunn are the others).



Notable songs





Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country US
1957 Foggy Mountain Jamboree Columbia
1958 Country Music Mercury
1959 Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs
1960 Songs of Glory Columbia
1961 Foggy Mountain Banjo
Songs of the Famous Carter Family
1962 Folk Songs of Our Land
1963 Hard Travelin' (The Ballad of Jed Clampett) 115
The Original Sound Mercury
Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall 7 134 Columbia
1964 Recorded Live at Vanderbilt University 10
The Fabulous Sound of Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs 2
1965 The Versatile Flatt & Scruggs
Great Original Recordings
1966 Town and Country 15
When the Saints Go Marching In
Flatt & Scruggs' Greatest Hits 34
Sacred Songs
1967 Strictly Instrumental (w/ Doc Watson)
Hear the Whistles Blow 37
1968 Changin' Times featuring Foggy Mountain Breakdown 7
Songs to Cherish
Original Theme From Bonnie & Clyde 26
The Story of Bonnie & Clyde 23 187
Nashville Airplane 35
1970 Final Fling 45
Breaking Out 35
20 All-Time Great Recordings


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country US CAN Country CAN
1949 "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" 9 Non-album singles
1952 "'Tis Sweet to Be Remembered" 9
1959 "Cabin on the Hill" 9
1960 "Crying My Heart Out Over You" 21
1961 "Polka on a Banjo" 12
"Go Home" 10
1962 "Just Ain't" 16
"The Legend of the Johnson Boys" 27 Folk Songs of Our Land
"The Ballad of Jed Clampett" 1 44 Hard Travelin' (The Ballad of Jed Clampett)
1963 "Pearl Pearl Pearl" 8 113 Non-album singles
"New York Town" 26
1964 "You Are My Flower" 12 Recorded Live at Vanderbilt University
"My Sara Jane" 40 Non-album singles
"Petticoat Junction" 14
"Workin' It Out" 21
1965 "I Still Miss Someone" 43 The Versatile Flatt & Scruggs
1967 "Nashville Cats" 54 Non-album singles
"California Up Tight Band" 20
1968 "Down in the Flood" 45 15 Changing Times featuring
Foggy Mountain Breakdown
"Foggy Mountain Breakdown" 58 55 90
"Like a Rolling Stone" 58 125 Nashville Airplane


  1. ^ a b c Rosenberg, Neil V. (1998), "Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys", The Encyclopedia of Country Music, Oxford University Press, pp. 173-4
  2. ^ a b Browne, Ray B. and Browne, Pat, "Flatt and Scruggs", The Guide to United States Popular Culture, Popular Press, 2001, p. 284
  3. ^ Rockwell, John (May 12, 1979). "Lester Flatt, Singer and Guitarist in Duo With Earl Scruggs, Dies". The New York Times. p. 26.
  4. ^ "Bluegrass, banjo legend Earl Scruggs dies at 88". The Birmingham News. Associated Press. March 28, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  5. ^ Wilson, David (March 28, 2012). "Earl Scruggs, Banjoist Who Invented 'Scruggs Style,' Dies at 88". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.