This month we’re publishing Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Breakdown: The Making of An American Classic by Thomas Goldsmith. It’s a deep dive into the origins and influence of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” against the backdrop of Scruggs’s musical career.
Recorded in 1949, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” changed the face of American music. Earl Scruggs’s instrumental essentially transformed the folk culture that came before it while helping to energize bluegrass’s entry into the mainstream in the 1960s. The song has become a gateway to bluegrass for musicians and fans alike as well as a happily inescapable track in film and television.
To celebrate the book’s publication, Thomas Goldsmith has chosen his favorite versions of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” for your listening pleasure. So sit back, relax and enjoy two minutes and forty-three seconds of heaven.
First and greatest version: Flatt and Scruggs, Dec. 11, 1949
Earl leads a long line of pickers
Updated Earl, with Vince Gill, Leon Russell, etc.
Men with banjos who know how to use them, with Earl and Steve Martin
Roy Clark rolls the five, when pigs fly
Raucus Ronni Stoneman works out