July 27

The Iconic Dueling Banjos Scene from film “Deliverance” will Blow Ya’ll Away

You’re not a certified country fan, if you have not come across with “Dueling Banjos”. Renowned Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith was an American musician, songwriter, and producer of records. In 1955, he originally composed the famous tune “Feudin Banjos.”

RELATED: The Dark Story Behind the Dueling Banjos Scene in “Deliverance”

The Song

It was composed in 1955 by Smith as a banjo instrumental he called “Feudin’ Banjos,” which contained riffs from “Yankee Doodle.” Smith recorded it playing a four-string plectrum banjo and accompanied by five-string bluegrass banjo player Don Reno.

The Movie

Thanks to the 1972 film it earned an iconic status in country music. Deliverance is deeply respected and selected for preservation by the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. It is based on a drama thriller novel of the same name. A deciding factor that contributed to the film’s grandeur was the part where a city man is playing the guitar beside a mentally challenged boy who was exceptionally talented at playing the banjo.

The song that was being played by these two was none other than “Dueling Banjos,” which Weissberg and Mandel recorded and released as a single. It was created for the film. The single crashed the Billboard Hot 100 and help on to the #2 spot for four weeks.

A trick?

It was Weissberg and Mandel’s recording, that was played in the film. In fact, the actors playing the city man and the country boy weren’t actually playing the guitar and banjo. The country boy had no idea how to play the banjo; the director wasn’t convinced with his hand movement, so they hired a local musician to portray his hand motions.

The different camera angles played a big role to keep the musician hidden. The purpose of that was to keep the spirit of the movie remains intact. In the end, that was one of the most iconic scenes that stuck in our memory.

Check out the video below.


Dueling Banjos

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