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Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’ Smith Composed ‘Dueling Banjos’ and Had to Sue

Arthur Smith
Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images

‘Dueling Banjos’ songwriter, Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’ Smith passed away last week just two days after his 93rd birthday.

Way, way back in 1948 he released an instrumental, ‘Guitar Boogie’, which became a big top ten country hit. After the success of that tune his moniker, Guitar Boogie, was born. you can see a video of him playing the tune here.

Now, Dueling Banjos, by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell, was featured prominently in the 1973 film, Deliverance. It was released to radio and was a huge hit.

Well, Arthur Smith sued the movie producers and won. He never gave them permission to use the music in the movie – definitely a legal requirement.

The label on the disc released to radio read, “Traditional Arrangement by Eric Weissberg” which would have given royalties to Weissberg – but surprise – it was not in Public Domain.

His version of the tine was ‘Feudin’ Banjos.’ and was used in ‘The Andy Griffith Show’  when it was played by ‘The Darlings,’ a bluegrass band.

He orignally recorded  the song in 1955.

 

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