Doug Dillard passes

Another bluegrass legend is gone. Doug Dillard, 75, died Wednesday night after being rushed to a hospital in Nashville.

Doug co-founded The Dillard’s, whose first fame came on The Andy Griffith Show, where the band performed as The Darlings. Those TV appearances helped bluegrass music reach mass audiences at a time when folk music was gaining in influence, giving bluegrass a foothold that allowed it to withstand the rock ‘n’ roll invasion.

But Doug’s banjo work was known far beyond his bluegrass band. He played and recorded with many country music greats in the 1960s and beyond. And a stint with the folk-rockin’ Byrds led to a memorable collaboration with the late Gene Clark that helped fuel the country rock movement.

Doug was influenced by the legendary Earl Scruggs, and Doug, in turn, influenced generations of new pickers. Steve Martin regularly cites Doug as one of the reasons he plays the instrument.

The Dillards are enshrined in IBMA’s hall of fame. And Doug Dillard will always have a special place in the history of the music we love.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, songwriter and upright bass player. He has spent much of his career as a wire service political reporter, including nearly 14 years with The Associated Press and a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and has recently retired as senior editor for Kiplinger Washington Editors.

  • robbif

    We’ve lost a good friend and inspiration. I met him in 1970 and had some wonderful phone conversations with him last year. May he rest in peace.

    • robbif