Flatt and Scruggs selected for Songwriters Hall of Fame

Our industrious British correspondent, Richard F. Thompson, is back with an expanded overview of a story Brance posted last month.

Lester Flatt & Earl ScruggsLester Flatt and Earl Scruggs will be among this year’s five new inductees into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Foundation, Inc. announced on Monday. Flatt and Scruggs first met as part of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in 1945. During his time with Monroe, Lester Flatt assisted with the growth of his leader’s song writing and is credited as co-writing Will You Be Loving Another Man and When You Are Lonely. Flatt sang lead on and thus helped to popularize many of the songs that they did. Of course, Scruggs’s banjo playing at this time was wholly ear-catching and new to the vast majority of those who saw and heard the innovative Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys.

In 1948 they left Monroe and started their own act, forming the Foggy Mountain Boys and the duo, recognizing that original material would help to create an individual identity and repertoire, began to write their own songs. Their catalogue is vast and a partial list alone features many songs readily recognizable as ‘standards’ ‚Ķ.. God Loves His Children, I’m Going To Make Heaven My Home, We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart, My Cabin In Caroline, Down The Road, So Happy I’ll Be, Don’t Get Above Your Raising, Your Life Is Like A Flower [with assistance from Bea Lilly] and Blue Ridge Cabin Home, [credited to Louise Certain (Scruggs) and Gladys Stacey (Flatt)].

Additionally, Lester Flatt penned many that are credited in his name – or his wife’s name, Gladys Stacey (Flatt) – alone. These include Why Don’t You Tell Me So, I’ll Never Shed Another Tear, Is It Too Late Now?, My Little Girl In Tennessee, I’ll Never Love Another, I’m Head Over Heals In Love, The Old Home Town, I’ll Stay Around, Get In Line Brothers, Brother, I’m Getting Ready To Go, Be Ready For Tomorrow May Never Come and You Can Feel It In Your Soul.

Earl Scruggs wrote and arranged a considerable number of instrumental pieces, including Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Earl’s Breakdown, Flint Hill Special, Dear Old Dixie, Foggy Mountain Chimes and Randy Lynn Rag, along with Shucking The Corn and all the traditional tunes that are featured on one of the band’s most successful albums, the all-instrumental Foggy Mountain Banjo.

In 1955 they began their famous syndicated Martha White TV show and shortly afterwards they joined the Grand Ole Opry cast. Flatt and Scruggs expanded their audience even further in 1962 when they became associated with the The Beverly Hillbillies TV show from which came the song The Ballad Of Jed Clampett, their biggest hit.

The aforementioned instrumental Foggy Mountain Breakdown was used in the film Bonnie & Clyde. Also, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys were among the first bluegrass groups to perform at Carnegie Hall.

Flatt and Scruggs are the fourth artist duo to be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, joining the Delmore Brothers, the Louvin Brothers and the Everly Brothers.

The duo, along with singer-songwriter Hank Williams Jr., country tunesmiths Bob DiPiero and Mac McAnally and gospel singer Dottie Rambo, will be officially welcomed at the 38th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel on October 14.

The Nashville Songwriters Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit foundation, dedicated to honoring and preserving the song writing legacy of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Nashville Songwriters Foundation’s principal purposes are to educate, archive, and celebrate song writing that is uniquely associated with the Nashville Music Community.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.