Eric Weissberg, who organized, performed banjo on and received a Grammy for “Dueling Banjos,” from the 1972 film Deliverance, died Sunday of Alzheimer’s illness problems. 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 college in Greenwich Village, and went on to attend the Juilliard Faculty of Music within the 1950s. He additionally performed guitar, mandolin, fiddle, pedal metal, and string bass.

He additionally grew to become 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 track “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 an area backwoods boy (performed by Billy Redden).

Warner Bros Information

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 films have been regulars within the pop High 10, “Dueling Banjos” grew to become an enormous hit, spending 4 weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Sizzling 100 in early 1973 (all behind Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Tune,” which was the No. 1 track of that 12 months). Well-known for its halting intro as the 2 gamers get a really feel for the track and one another, it additionally was a success in lots of different international locations. It went on to earn Weissberg a Grammy for Finest Nation Instrumental Efficiency and a Golden Globe nomination for Finest Authentic Tune.

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Songwriter Smith sued Warner Bros over the track, claiming the studio didn’t safe the rights to make use of his “Feudin’ Banjos.” He ultimately received the case and acquired royalties and partial credit score. The track initially was credited to “a standard association by Eric Weissberg.”

Director John Boorman’s Deliverance, a disturbing movie about 4 associates who take a canoe journey within the Georgia wilderness and meet with unwelcoming locals, grew to become one of many 12 months’s top-grossing movies.

On the heels on the only’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 bunch referred to 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.

Weissberg later carried out a recycling-themed track on a 2009 episode of the Schoolhouse Rock! revival as a part of the Trash Can Band.