As most serious banjo fans, tomorrow, January 6, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Earl Scruggs, born in 1924 in Cleveland County, NC. He lived another 88 years, along the way turning the five string banjo into a serious musical instrument for millions of music lovers, and helping create the sound we now know as bluegrass.
Superlatives fall short trying to describe what he has done for our music, so much so that the style he developed now bears his name. Even people far outside the bluegrass realm know exactly what you mean when you say Scruggs-style banjo.
To mark this occasion, a correspondent who prefers to remain anonymous has shared some documents from Earl’s 60th birthday celebration in Madison, TN on January 6, 1984. This person is a recognized banjo authority, was on hand that day in Madison, and has shared a telegram sent to Scruggs from President Reagan, a proclamation from the state of North Carolina, and another from Cleveland County.
What they shared are photocopies, but are still clearly legible, though a photo of Scruggs reading Reagan’s telegram is a bit overcopied. Still, these are fine memories from 40 years ago.
Happy 100th Birthday to the eternal banjo master, Earl Scruggs!