Mountain music legend Earl Scruggs, who popularized a three-finger style of banjo picking and brought bluegrass to mainstream audiences with his duo Flatt and Scruggs, died of natural causes on Wednesday, March 28, at 88. The three-finger, or "Scruggs style," of playing banjo helped to bring banjo from the rhythm section into a lead position, making an indelible impact on country and bluegrass.
In the 1960s, Flatt and Scruggs' "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," sung by Jerry Scoggins, became the theme song for TV sitcom "The Beverly Hillibillies."
Over the years Scruggs performed and recorded with countless musicians including Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Elton John, Travis Tritt, John Fogerty, Johnny Cash and Steve Martin.
Though poor health sidelined him in the 1990s, Scruggs returned to limited touring in the 2000s, including multiple performances at MerleFest.