Video Roundup: KEXP Takes Back the Banjo

Video Roundup
Janice Headley
© 1972 Warner Bros.
Originally Posted on March 7, 2016

It was on this day in 1973 that the song "Dueling Banjos" became one of the few instrumentals to be awarded a Gold record that decade. Thanks to its chilling use in the movie Deliverance, the song won a Grammy Award that year, and even went on to reach No. 2 for four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. (Weird.)

The track actually dates back to 1955, composed by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith as "Feudin' Banjos," and was performed on The Andy Griffith Show in 1963 by bluegrass band The Dillards. But, sorry, Smith -- Opie and Barney Fife clearly can't compete with the eerie young country boy named Lonnie, whose version (arranged and performed by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell) catapulted the song into pop culture lexicon. (It's okay; Smith later successfully sued Weissberg and Mandell for using his song without permission.) On this day, KEXP is taking back the banjo, spotlighting its less-ominous use in songs we love.

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