Bluegrass musician Earl Scruggs died this week at age 88, leaving behind an impressive legacy. The Recording Academy remembered Scruggs with an official statement.
The note, from the desk of Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow, read: “Four-time Grammy winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Earl Scruggs was a bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer. He began playing banjo at the age of four and his unique three-finger playing became known worldwide as ‘the Scruggs picking style.’ An innovator who helped popularize the banjo and helped change country music, he 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.”
Scruggs won his first Grammy in 1968 for “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” which captured the award for Best Country Group/Duo Performance. That same song won another award in 2001 for Best Country Instrumental Performance, this time for a version performed with a number of guest stars, including Vince Gill, Steve Martin, Marty Stuart and more.
Scruggs claimed the 1998 Best Country Collaboration with Vocals award for “Same Old Train,” an all-star tune featuring Alison Krauss, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, Clint Black and many others.
His final award came in 2004, for yet another large-group collaboration. “Earl’s Breakdown,” featuring the likes of Jerry Douglas and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, captured Best Country Instrumental Performance.
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