Dueling Banjos Writer, Arthur Smith Passes

PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS IMAGE  -  ARTHER (GUITAR-BOOGIE) SMITHArthur Smith, who influenced thousands by way of just one of his compositions and many others just by his unique guitar picking style - among them are: Roy Clark; Glen Campbell and surf music pioneers, The Ventures, died Thursday at his home in Charlotte, NC at age 93.

Smith who wrote a song called "Fuedin' Banjos" which later became the theme to the 1972 film "Dueling Banjos" Arthur "Guitar-Boogie" Smith (to differentiate him from Tennessee fiddler and 1930s Grand Ole Opry star Fiddlin' Arthur Smith) received the BMI Song of the Year Award in 1973; Grammy - Dueling Banjos (1973) (original writer); Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Special Citation of Achievement (over 1 million broadcast performances of original compositions) among several other local, state and national awards.

His highest charting recording, "Guitar Boogie" scored the number 8 position on the US Country Charts in 1948, a chart position he tied the following year with a song called "Boomerang".   "Guitar Boogie," which he wrote in 1945 and is considered by many to be the first Rock & Roll song ever recorded,  had a sizzling instrumental that eventually would go on to influence generations of musicians, including a young Paul McCartney who played the "Guitar Boogie" in a tryout for a Liverpool band that eventually became the Beatles.

As a composer, Smith has nearly 500 copyrights.  In total, his compositions have been recorded numerous times by artists including Chet Atkins, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, The Statesmen Quartet, The Cathedrals, Al Hirt, Barbara Mandrell, Willie Nelson, The Gatlin Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Boots Randolph, George Beverly Shea, The Stamps, The Statler Brothers, Ricky Van Shelton and many more.

Smith built and managed the first commercial recording studio in the Southeast in Charlotte which has the bragging rights to being the studio where  rhythm and blues star James Brown, whose "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" was cut in Smith's studio. In this facility, Smith also created and produced nationally syndicated radio programs hosted by Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins, Richard Petty, James Brown, and George Beverly Shea. Billy Graham's Hour of Decision radio program was first produced in Smith's studio. Smith also produced and hosted his own radio program, Top of the Morning, which was syndicated for an unbroken span of 29 years.

A public guest book for condolences has been set up by the Charlotte Observer  .

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