Eric Weissberg, who had an unlikely hit with ‘Dueling Banjos’ in the 1972 film Deliverance, has passed away after a 5-year struggle with dementia.
He was 80.
His son, Will Weissberg, confirmed the musician’s death over the weekend.
“Eric Weissberg was a consummate musician, a solid and seemingly effortless player of stringed instruments of all kinds — banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, pedal steel, and string bass,” his lifelong friend and frequent collaborator Happy Traum wrote on Facebook.
In 1972, Eric was approached by music producer Joe Boyd asked if he’d record a cover of the 1954 instrumental “Dueling Banjos” for the movie Deliverance.
The song is played early on in the movie, when a group of four businessmen (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox) visit a remote gas station during a trip through a remote part of Georgia, in America’s south.
They come across a banjo player who performs the song as an impromptu duet with Cox’s character.
Not gonna lie, it’s an unsettling scene that sets the tone for some of the horrific events that come later in the film.