RIP Eric Weissberg, the guy who gave us “Dueling Banjos”

One of the most ubiquitous instrumentals of the 1970s was an adaptation of “Dueling Banjos,” which was written in 1954 by Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith under the name “Feudin’ Banjos.” Two decades later, Eric Weissberg (along with an uncredited guitarist named Steve Mandell) recording the song for the movie Deliverance. That’s when things really took off.

The Deliverance version rocketed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, kept out of the top spot four weeks in a row by “Killing Me Softly with His Song” by Roberta Flack.

Smith sued Weissberg claiming that his composition was used in the movie without his permission, eventually winning a settlement.

Weissberg appeared as a guest performance on many albums, including Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks and Little Creatures from the Talking Heads.

Weissberg died at the age of 80 in Detroit after suffering Alzheimer’s.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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