Closings & Delays

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates banjo pickin’ legend Earl Scruggs

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates banjo legend Earl Scruggs, whose three-fingered method of picking the strings changed the sound of music forever.

The Doodle includes a gif of Scruggs’ picking style of playing the banjo.

From Google’s tribute post to Scruggs:

Born in North Carolina on January 6, 1924, Scruggs grew up working on the family farm and playing the banjo. He was 21 years old when he joined Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys band, whose sound coined the term “bluegrass music.”

In that band, Scruggs met guitarist Lester Flatt, with whom he would launch the Foggy Mountain Boys in the late 1940s. Their televised Flatt & Scruggs Grand Ole Opry show premiered in 1955 and gained a new wave of popularity during the folk music revival, running through 1969.

Scruggs was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, and the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. He received several other awards and honors, including the prestigious National Medal of the Arts and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Scruggs & Flatt split in 1969, after spending more than 20 years together and recording more than 50 albums. They recorded “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” — the theme song for the TV show “The Beverly Hillbillies” — in 1969, and are also famous for their instrumental hit “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”

While Scruggs was born 95 years ago this month, the Google Doodle actually recognizes the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Earl Scruggs Center, a 10,000-square-foot facility in Shelby, North Carolina. The center opened five years ago today.

Scruggs died in 2012, at age 88.

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