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This Day in Music: “Dueling Banjos” Tops the Charts in 1973

“Dueling Banjos” was at the top of the country charts on this day in 1973. The song, which was written by Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith, of course was most famously featured in the movie “Deliverance,” which still frightens me.

Here is the entry at This Day in Country Music, which is quite interesting:

Eric Weissberg was at #1 on the country album chart with Dueling Banjos. The song “Dueling Banjos” was composed in 1955 by Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith as a banjo instrumental called “Feudin’ Banjos”, which contained riffs from “Yankee Doodle”. The version by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell went to #2 for four weeks on the Hot 100 in 1973. The song was made famous by the 1972 film Deliverance, which also led to a successful lawsuit by the song’s composer, as it was used in the film without his permission.

One comment at YouTube posting of the clip for the movie asks the very good question of why the song had the name it did considering one of the dueling (or fueding) instruments is a guitar. Above, Weissberg performs the song with the band Deliverance in 1973.

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--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.