Lester Flatt was a bluegrass legend.
Bill Monroe, right, the father of bluegrass music, is shown with one of his disciples, Lester Flatt, backstage at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn., in a March 1974 photo. (AP Photo/Nashville Banner, Don Foster, File)
Born 98 years ago today, Flatt got his start in 1945 playing rhythm guitar with the great elder statesman of bluegrass, Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys.
One of Flatt's Blue Grass bandmates was banjo player Earl Scruggs. In 1948, the two left the Blue Grass Boys and formed their own band, the Foggy Mountain Boys. (If the name sounds oddly familiar, it may be because of the 2000 movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? – the film’s ‘Soggy Bottom Boys’ were named in tribute to Flatt and Scruggs.) In addition to guitar, Flatt sang and sometimes played mandolin with the Foggy Mountain Boys.
The Foggy Mountain Boys stayed together for more than two decades. They became bluegrass superstars, some of the most respected musicians of the genre. And they helped bring bluegrass to the mainstream with one well-known song – "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," a.k.a. the theme song to 1960s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies.
Written by Linnea Crowther