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Lester Flatt: 5 Performances That Shaped His Legacy

A legend of bluegrass music, Lester Raymond Flatt of Overton County, Tennessee was a guitarist and mandolin player widely considered to be one of the best to ever pluck either instrument in American music history.

A member of The Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, Flatt is best known for his long-running partnership with banjo player Earl Scruggs in the folk music and bluegrass band The Foggy Mountain Boys (for which he played rhythm guitar and was lead singer) and Flatt and Scruggs. Lester Flatt had a music career as accomplished and long-lasting as any artist. The man was so beloved as an artist that his hometown of Sparta, Tennessee threw a bluegrass festival in his honor after he died.

These are the five performances that defined Lester Flatt's incredible career.

1. "Mail Order Bride" on The Beverly Hillbillies

Along with Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt performed the theme song to one of the most beloved television shows in American history: The Beverly Hillbillies. "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" may be his most famous song, but Flatt & Scruggs also appeared on the show and performed a few other songs as well, including  "Mail Order Bride".

2. The Grand Ole Opry Show

The Foggy Mountain Boys — Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Paul Warren, John Ray Seckler, "Uncle" Josh Graves, "Cousin" Jake Tullock, Frank "Hylo" Brown — appeared on the Grand Ole Opry Show and entertained the country with several of their songs, such as "Shortenin' Bread" and "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy."

3. Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass

Sadly, this was his last television appearance before his death.

4. "Petticoat Junction," The Grand Ole Opry Radio Show

The longtime RCA artist entertained people on TV, at many a concert and through broadcasts on radio stations across the country.

5. "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde,"  from the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde

So this wasn't really a performance, per se, but their song being used in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, is one of the reasons Flatt & Scruggs are so beloved today.

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