NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Earl Scruggs was remembered Sunday as an influential, helpful and humble banjo player who put his own trademark on bluegrass music.
Some 2,300 mourners attended Scruggs' public funeral at the Ryman Auditorium, where he played his songs for years on the Grand Ole Opry country music show and recorded his final album. The Academy of Country Music planned a tribute Sunday night at its annual awards show in Las Vegas.
The pioneering banjo player and his pickin' partner Lester Flatt, a guitarist, teamed for 20 years to become the most famous duo in bluegrass history. Scruggs, a four-time Grammy winner, died Wednesday at age 88.
Flatt and Scruggs were best known for their song "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" from "The Beverly Hillbillies" TV series. For many viewers, the hummable theme song was their first introduction to country music. Flatt died in 1979
Charlie Daniels, better known for his fiddle and guitar playing, told the mourners that when he was a young studio musician, Scruggs invited him to join the Earl Scruggs Revue.
"No one will ever play the banjo like Earl," Daniels said.
Country star Ricky Skaggs said Scruggs "was the most humble musician I ever met.
"He was always listening not at himself but at the next generation."
Bluegrass great Del McCoury told the gathering that he was enthralled as a youngster by the Scruggs' sound.