In the mid-1940s, Kentucky-born musician Bill Monroe was a regular member of the Grand Ole Opry, famed for hopped-up versions of such tunes as Jimmie Rodgers’ “Mule Skinner Blues.” Recording for RCA Victor at the time, in December 1945 the mandolin master welcomed a new member into his band, banjo player Earl Scruggs, who, along with guitarist Lester Flatt, fiddler Chubby Wise and bass player Howard Watts, would revolutionize country music, taking the Scots-Irish influence of mountain music and skillfully performing it – at breakneck pace – as a cohesive unit. By 1946,
Monroe was on tour in
By 1965, when the above performance was filmed as part of the country-music movie Second Fiddle to a Steel Guitar, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were no longer Blue Grass Boys but were fronting their own band. To perform with him in the film,
Another of the many distinctions “Blue Moon of Kentucky” is famed for is that it was recorded by both Elvis and also performed in an impromptu jam by three-quarters of the Beatles. Among the many others who have cut the song are the Stanley Brothers, Patsy Cline, George Jones and Melba Montgomery, Levon Helm, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Martina McBride.