We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The greatest ever when Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt had a leash on him. Never contributed much to music after striking out on his own and letting his kid get into his head. (My unvarnished bluegrass aficionado opinion; old enough to have watched him arrive on the scene, ascend, and fade.)
True about the timeline of his influence, but Earl Scruggs achieved enough by the end of the sixties that anything else was a dessert we maybe didn't need. Arthritis slowed his playing schedule, and the Revue did make some very enjoyable music. Earl was a humble and a very good man.
With Earl's passing, let's be grateful that Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley, Del McCoury, Norman Blake, and a few other giants are still with us.
Well, I wasn't restricting my sentiments to just the banjo, but rather to the traditional and folk and bluegrass music fields in which Earl Scruggs excelled. All these folks are still with us, while Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Lester Flatt, Tut Taylor, Red Allen, Earl Scruggs, and so many others have passed on. I always think of Earl as more than just a banjo virtuoso, he was a part of a great mountain music tradition, as were the others noted here. J D Crowe is also still with us.
I think y'all give Scruggs too little credit. He did much to "popularize" bluegrass and whether you think The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde or the Theme from the Beverly Hillbillies are good music, they did much to move bluegrass to a mainstream listening genre. I grew up in the 60's and early 70's, knew bluegrass and it was a very, very regional type of music. You heard it very little outside very specific parts of the south (and certainly never in places like Charleston or Savannah) and very little north of Washington, DC (which had a thriving bluegrass "scene" in the late 60's and on into the 70's) - all those poor folk from the hills come to DC to work in the guvmint.
Monroe was a crotchety old guy whose personality was dramatically different from Scruggs. Look at the clip of Scruggs and a hall of fame cast of musicians playing on Letterman. You would not see Monroe doing that while he was alive and while Stanley has a much greater name recognition now (largely due to Brother where Art thou), his voice does not lend itself well to more "popular" tunes.
I saw Del McCoury at a County Fair in VA around 2002. He and his band were walking around the fair before they performed, eating corn dogs and playing carny games, just like everyone else. He had on a satin jacket that said Del McCoury Band on the back. You would not have seen Bill Monroe doing that (unless someone paid him to . . . )