Banjos Talking About Genetic Deficiencies
“Dueling Banjos” is an instrumental composition by Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith. The song was composed in 1955 by Smith as a banjo instrumental he called “Feudin’ Banjos“, which 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 composition’s first wide scale airing was on a 1963 television episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” called “Briscoe Declares for Aunt Bee“, in which it is played by visiting musical family the Darlings (played by The Dillards, a bluegrass group).
The song was made famous by the 1972 film Deliverance, which also led to a successful lawsuit by the song’s composer, as it was used in the film without his permission. The film version, arranged and recorded by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell and subsequently issued as a single, went to #2 for four weeks on the Hot 100 in 1973.