Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Flatt & Scruggs--The Ballad of Jed Clampett (1962)

     It might come as a surprise to many that I am not, nor ever have been, much of a television watcher. We all have our favorite media, and for me, the radio (and now the internet) has always been my preferred carrier of information and entertainment. Having said that, there are still some shows that have been favorites over the years no matter how many times  I've watched them, and one of them are The Beverly Hillbillies.

     The opening of the show is one of the more iconic songs in the history of television and was written by Paul Henning who was actually a producer and writer. The voice you hear on the song is that of Jerry Scoggins who had spent over a decade on TV and radio as a member of Gene Autry's Cass County Boys. By the early 60's however, he was working as a stockbroker when the call came for him to record this song.
     Of course, what made it not only a touchstone to early 60's television, but a great bluegrass number was the picking of Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. Although very successful in bluegrass and county, this was the closest thing to a pop hit the group ever got, reaching #44 on the Hot 100 chart, however they would hit the charts again in 1968 with "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", which was used as the main theme for the movie, "Bonnie and Clyde". The song also reached #1 on the Country charts which was the first time a television theme had done that, and the only time other than Waylon Jennings, "Good Ole' Boys" from the series, "The Dukes of Hazzard" in 1980.


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