Eric Weissberg, who organized and performed the banjo on and received a Grammy for “Dueling Banjos,” from the 1972 film Deliverance, died Sunday of Alzheimer’s illness issues. He was 80.
His son, Will Weissberg, confirmed the information to our sister publication Rolling Stone.
Born on August 16, 1939, in New York Metropolis, Weissberg was a bluegrass musician from an early age, having seen Pete Seeger play at his faculty in Greenwich Village, and went on to attend the Juilliard College of Music within the 1950s. He additionally performed guitar, mandolin, fiddle, pedal metal, and string bass.
He additionally turned a frequent collaborator of Tom Paxton and Judy Collins and labored as a session man for such acts as Bob Dylan, Speaking Heads, Billy Joel Jim Croce and John Denver.
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In 1972 he was requested to document a canopy of Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith’s 1954 music “Fuedin’ Banjos” for Deliverance, a Warner Bros movie starring Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox. He agreed, ensuing within the memorable duet between Cox’s character and a neighborhood backwoods boy (performed by Billy Redden).
Weissberg organized the monitor with Steve Mandell and performed the banjo on it, with Mandell on guitar. Weissberg was credited alone on the following single.
At a time when instrumentals and songs from motion pictures have been regulars within the pop Prime 10, “Dueling Banjos” turned an enormous hit, spending 4 weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Sizzling 100 in early (all behind Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Music,” which was the No. 1 music of that yr). Well-known for its halting intro as the 2 gamers get a really feel for the music and one another, It additionally was a success in lots of different international locations. It went on to earn Weissberg a Grammy for Greatest Nation Instrumental Efficiency and a Golden Globe nomination for Greatest Unique Music.
Songwriter Smith sued Warner Bros over the music, claiming the studio didn’t safe the rights to make use of his “Feudin’ Banjos.” He ultimately received the case and obtained royalties and partial credit score. The music initially was credited to “a standard association by Eric Weissberg.”
Director John Boorman’s Deliverance, a disturbing movie about 4 buddies who take a canoe journey within the Georgia wilderness and meet with unwelcoming locals, turned one of many yr’s top-grossing movies.
On the heels on the one’s success, Weissberg and Mandell recording an album titled Dueling Banjos that spent three weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart in March 1973, He went on to type a gaggle known as Deliverance, whose late-1973 album Rural Free Supply barely dented the highest 200.
Dylan recruited Weissberg and Deliverance to work on his seminal 1974 album Blood on the Tracks.