Names in the news, April 2

Posted April 01, 2012, at 5:05 p.m.

Mourners gathered Sunday in Nashville, Tenn., to pay last respects to bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs. A public funeral was set at the Ryman Auditorium near a cluster of downtown honky-tonks where Scruggs’ music is still played. His plaque in the Country Music Hall of Fame is three blocks away. The Academy of Country Music planned a tribute Sunday night at its annual awards show in Las Vegas. The pioneering banjo player who teamed for 20 years with guitarist Lester Flatt died Wednesday at age 88. Flatt and Scruggs were best known for their song “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” from “The Beverly Hillbillies” TV series. For many viewers, the hummable theme song was their first introduction to country music. Flatt died in 1979. As rock ‘n’ roll threatened country music’s popularity 50 years ago, Flatt and Scruggs became symbols of traditional country music. They went their separate ways in 1969. Before that, their song “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” was played in the 1967 movie “Bonnie and Clyde” and enhanced its status as a bluegrass standard. It had been recorded in 1949. The four-time Grammy winner is credited with helping create modern country music with a string-bending style of playing. … The New Jersey teen who is fighting cancer and scored a date with Taylor Swift to The Academy of Country Music Awards is in the hospital and won’t make the show. A Facebook post Saturday said 18-year-old Kevin McGuire was admitted to the hospital Friday night and can’t keep his date with Swift. It was not clear why McGuire was hospitalized. “Just talked to Kevin McGuire,” Swift said in a tweet. Swift asked the Somerdale, N.J., resident to Sunday’s ACMs after his sister started a campaign to get her to attend his prom. The reigning ACM entertainer of the year couldn’t make the prom, but offered to go on the date instead.

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