On this day #8 – Ballad of Jed Clampett

The Ballad Of Jed Clampett - Flatt & Scruggs 1962On this day …..

On this day 50 years ago, January 19, 1963, the Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs’ recording of the Ballad of Jed Clampett topped the Billboard Hot Country singles charts.

The song spent 20 weeks on the charts and was in the #1 spot for a total of three weeks.

It also reached #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop music chart.

The song was cut for Columbia Records (Co 42606) by Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs on September 24, 1962, and was popularized by it being used as the theme song to the internationally famous CBS television show The Beverly Hillbillies that ran from 1962 to 1971.

Assisting Lester Flatt [vocals/guitar] and Earl Scruggs [vocals/banjo] were Buck Graves [Dobro®], Curly Seckler [mandolin], Paul Warren [fiddle], Jake Tullock [bass] and Buddy Harman [drums].


The producers were Don Law and Frank Jones.

The recording was paired with that of Coal Loadin’ Johnny and released on November 26, 1962.

The theme to the sit-com was written and composed by Paul Henning, the producer of the show, and was originally sung by Jerry Scoggins.


The stars of the show were Buddy Ebsen (Jed), Irene Ryan (Granny), Donna Douglas (Elly May Clampett) and Max Baer Jr (Jethro Bodine).

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.

  • Mark Byrum

    Wow! I haven’t heard the “Winston tastes good . . .” ad in the song in a long time! Thanks for sharing that old B&W clip. Earl’s double string bend between “Winston tastes good like a” and “cigarette should” was cool.

  • Dick Bowden

    Oh how I remember how excited we were when that show premiered! The word was “out” that Flatt & Scruggs played the theme. At that time it seemed completely normal and unremarkable that they played the Winston cigarette jingle, I suppose it’s horrifying now. They all smoked anyway, I guess.

    I would have given my eye teeth to just ONCE see Earl pick the early part of the theme with that half speed meter to see HOW HE DID IT! I don’t know ANY banjo players who learn it. Notice also he didn’t play the IV chord “sharp” in the next to the last line like he always did afterwards, on the record and in person.

    Before the show premiered, CBS advertised it heavily showing the footage of Jed shooting his squirrel gun and hitting the oil, but the music was F&S’ cut of “Sally Ann” from the Foggy Mt. Banjo LP!