(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Country Music Hall of Fame member Earl Scruggs, best known as one-half of the seminal bluegrass duo Flatt & Scruggs, died Wednesday morning in Nashville, Tenn. He was 88.
Scruggs pioneered the style of banjo picking that has come to define bluegrass music. It could be heard on Flatt & Scruggs's number one country single, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," which was the theme to the sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies.
Scruggs joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys on the Grand Ole Opry in the mid-1940s, where he met his duo partner Lester Flatt. They toured internationally and made inroads into the world of folk music in the '60s. Their version of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"could be heard in the 1967 Warren Beatty film Bonnie & Clyde.
Artistic and business differences led Flatt & Scruggs to break up in 1969. Lester Flatt died in 1979, and the duo was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985.
Scruggs is also a four-time Grammy Award winner and recipient of The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The Academy issued a statement Wednesday describing Scruggs as “an innovator who helped popularize the banjo and helped change country music...”
The Academy says Scruggs “leaves an indelible legacy that will be remembered for generations to come.”
“Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, fans and all who have been inspired by his musical innovations,” the Academy statement concluded.
A funeral service will be held Saturday afternoon at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
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