Peermusic has acquired the entire music publishing catalog of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs, as well as the majority of his son Gary Scruggs‘ song catalog.
During his lifetime, Earl was a collaborator with Peermusic founder Ralph S. Peer. The company has served as the publishers of the Earl Scruggs song catalog from the time the songs were written. Through this deal, Peermusic acquires the U.S. rights it was previously administering for Earl, as well as some of the songs that were previously controlled by the Scruggs estate.
The deal also includes the acquisition of the majority of the song catalog of the late Gary Scruggs, a Grammy award-winning songwriter, musician and eldest son of Earl and Louise Scruggs.
“It’s a rare opportunity to acquire these incredible catalogs of songs in this competitive music rights landscape, but what makes this most meaningful to us is the decades-long relationship that Peermusic has enjoyed with Earl Scruggs and Gary Scruggs,” says Kathy Spanberger, President & COO of Peermusic Anglo American Region. “This deal really exemplifies everything a relationship between a songwriter and a publisher should be. Earl and Peermusic worked together successfully for decades to share his music with the world, and Peermusic continues that tradition with the songs of Gary Scruggs. We thank Jesse, Jaime, and the Scruggs family for this opportunity—the entire team at Peermusic is honored to continue championing and protecting Earl and Gary’s incredible legacy of music so that these songs can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
“The Scruggs are multi-generational music royalty who have worked with the Peers, a multi-generational family of music publishers since Day 1. The history here is incredible. There are few artists that have defined an entire genre the way that Earl Scruggs and Gary Scruggs have with bluegrass or that so popularized a single instrument across genres as Earl did with the banjo—we’re delighted to continue our work with the Scruggs family and to represent their interest in some of country music’s most beloved songs,” adds Michael Knox, President, Peermusic Nashville.
“We are now the third generation of the Scruggs family to be working alongside the team at Peermusic. Our grandfather trusted Peermusic as his music publisher from the beginning of his career and the team at Peermusic has been like a family to us throughout these many years. Keeping these song catalogs with Peermusic is an easy decision for us because we know how much they have done to support The Scruggs family—and they know these song catalogs inside and out. We’re thrilled to have these songs looked after by Kathy, Knox and the Peermusic team,” share Jesse and Jaime Scruggs, the grandsons of Earl Scruggs and the sons of Gary Scruggs, in a joint statement.
Earl Scruggs revolutionized bluegrass with a unique three-fingered picking style that has since become a hallmark of bluegrass banjo. He began his career in 1945, when he joined Bill Monroe’s band and met Lester Flatt. The two were mainstays of Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys for a little over two years before striking out on their own.
Performing as Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, the band became one of most well-known bluegrass band in the nation. Among their most famous recordings are “Earl’s Breakdown,” “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”
In 1969, Scruggs began pursuing a solo career by enlisting his sons Gary and Randy to perform with him as the Earl Scruggs Revue. The group found success recording for Columbia Records throughout the 1970s.
The bluegrass icon was recognized with numerous accolades for his contributions to bluegrass and country music throughout his lifetime. Scruggs is in both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame. He was also a recipient of four Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a National Medal of Arts.
Gary Scruggs played alongside his legendary bluegrass father as well as in a duo with his brother Randy called The Scruggs Brothers,. He and Randy released two projects together—1970’s All the Way Home and 1972’s The Scruggs Brothers. Together with their father, the two brothers then formed The Scruggs Revue, touring extensively under that billing and forming connections with other country and rock acts of the day.
Gary was part of the genesis of the 1972 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band-led Will the Circle Be Unbroken album, which has since been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress. He retired from touring in the mid-’80s, but continued his work as a songwriter until his death in 2021.
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