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"Foggy Mountain Breakdown" is a famous bluegrass music instrumental by the seminal bluegrass artists Flatt and Scruggs.[1] It is used (anachronistically) as background music in the 1967 motion picture Bonnie and Clyde, especially in the car chase scenes, and has been used in a similar manner in many other pictures and television programs, particularly when depicting a pursuit scene in a rural setting.[2]

It was written by Earl Scruggs and recorded in 1949 by Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, with Scruggs playing a Gibson Granada 5-string banjo. It is closely related to Bill Monroe's "Bluegrass Breakdown" which Earl helped to write. It featured the same opening double hammer on, but "Bluegrass Breakdown" goes to an F Major chord whereas Foggy Mountain Breakdown goes to the G Major chord's relative minor, an E Minor chord. The most recognizable part of this song is the slide on the fourth string of the banjo from the first fret to the second forming the E Minor chord

Many 5-string banjo players consider "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" one of the instrument's fastest and most rhythmically challenging pieces. Only very skilled 5-string banjo players can play it at the same speed and beat that Scruggs can.

Scruggs won a Grammy award in 2002 for the 2001 recording of Foggy Mountain Breakdown, which featured among others, actor and comedian Steve Martin on 2nd banjo, Albert Lee and Vince Gill on guitars, Marty Stuart on mandolin, and Paul Shaffer on piano.[3]

In 1968, both the 1949 Mercury records version and a newly-recorded Columbia version were listed at one position of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #55.

In 2004, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.[4]

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