Popularized by the film Deliverance Dueling Banjos is one of those tracks that marks a point in time for many people. Originally released in 1973 the film quickly became famous for a number of memorable scenes, dueling banjos being one, squealing like a pig being another. If you haven’t sat down done Deliverance your cinematic life isn’t really complete.
The original “Dueling Banjos” was an instrumental composition by Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith. Written in 1955 by Smith as a banjo instrumental he called “Feudin’ Banjos” that 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 version by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell went to #2 for four weeks on the Hot 100 in 1973 and topped the adult contemporary chart for two weeks the same year. The song was actually used in Deliverance without Smiths permission which led to a lawsuit in 1973.
Presented for your viewing pleasure are the original, the film and a live versions of dueling banjos. The live and film versions played by the original maestros of musical mayhem, Glen Campbell and Carl Jackson. Three versions of one of the greatest guitar and banjo tunes ever committed to tape, as was the tradition at the time. Sit back, relax and let that neck red up till it itches.