Earl Eugene Scruggs (born January 6, 1924) is a musician noted for perfecting and popularizing a 3-finger style (now called Scruggs style) on the 5-string banjo that is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. Although other musicians had played in 3-finger style before him, Scruggs shot to prominence when he was hired by Bill Monroe to fill the banjo slot in the "Blue Grass Boys". Scruggs built on earlier styles to develop a truly new and readily identifiable style, involving: unprecedented smoothness, syncopation, and uninterrupted flow; a large vocabulary of unique and original licks; blues and jazz phrases, evident in backup and in solos such as "Foggy Mountain Special;" and an overall coherency and polish that other stylists lacked, which inspired imitation by newer generations of banjo pickers.
Scruggs was born in Shelby, North Carolina to Georgia Lula Ruppe and George Elam Scruggs. Scruggs joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in late 1945 and his syncopated, three-finger picking style quickly became a sensation. In 1948 Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt left Monroe's band and formed Flatt and Scruggs. In 1969, Flatt and Scruggs broke up and Scruggs started a new band, the Earl Scruggs Revue, featuring several of his sons.
On September 24 1962 singer Jerry Scoggins, Flatt, and Scruggs recorded The Ballad of Jed Clampett for the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies which was released October 12 1962. The theme song became an immediate country music hit and was played at the beginning and end of each episode. Flatt and Scruggs appeared in several episodes as family friends of the Clampetts in the following years. In their first appearance, season 1 episode 20, they portray themselves in the show and perform both the theme song and Pearl Pearl Pearl.