Click to listen

Click to listen

Oct. 12: This record came out 47 years ago today, about two weeks after The Beverly Hillbillies made its debut. Just as the show was destined to be one of the highest rated in TV history, Flatt & Scruggs’ record was destined to be the only No. 1 country hit for the pioneering bluegrass artists.

The Columbia Records release isn’t the version that played over the show’s credits. Sure, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys provided the music for the show’s theme. But Hollywood-based singer Jerry Scoggins delivered the vocals. Some say that was because Flatt’s Cumberland Plateau inflection was a turn-off to TV executives; others say it was because the band’s heavy touring schedule and Grand Ole Opry commitments wouldn’t allow Flatt to record commercials for the show’s sponsors.

The record was cut on Sept. 24, 1962, two days before the first Hillbillies episode aired on CBS. The show quickly gained in popularity, and Flatt & Scruggs’ record began its climb on the Billboard country chart. It also reached No. 42 on the pop chart, bringing bluegrass music to a new audience.

Lester and Earl, who had been members of the genre-inventing lineup of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys band before striking out on their own in 1948, made annual appearances on the show. They portrayed themselves and were supposedly friends of the Clampetts back east in Bugtussle.

Follow the links to learn more about Flatt & Scruggs (at the Country Music Hall of Fame site and Allmusic.com), The Beverly Hillbillies, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” and the late Jerry Scoggins. And for comparison with the record, listen to the opening theme and closing theme of the show.

Click on the photo to hear "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," sung by Jerry Scoggins.

Click on the photo to hear "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," sung by Jerry Scoggins.

Advertisements