Lester Flatt

Induction Year: 2007

Birth Name: Lester Raymond Flatt

Birth Date: 06-19-1914

Place of Birth: Duncan's Chapel, Tennessee

Death Date: 05-11-1979

Place of Death: Nashville, Tennessee

Lester Flatt, in partnership with banjoist Earl Scruggs, led the most popular band in bluegrass music from the late 1940s till the end of the 1960s. With Scruggs, he wrote country and bluegrass standards like "Don't Get Above Your Raisin'," "Don't This Road Look Rough and Rocky" and "Crying My Heart Out Over You."

Flatt was born into a musical family in Duncan's Chapel, Tennessee, near Brotherton. His father was a fiddler. One of his brothers was a guitarist and singer. A sister played banjo.

Flatt attended school until he was 12, then joined his father working in a sawmill near Sparta, Tennessee. He married at 17, and both he and wife Gladys Stacey Flatt worked in a series of textile mills. By the end of the 1930s, they were also performing together. They entertained over radio stations in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee and joined Charlie Monroe's popular group, the Kentucky Pardners.

Charlie's brother, Bill Monroe, offered Flatt a position in his Blue Grass Boys band in 1945. This brought Flatt to Nashville to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, which was broadcast over WSM radio. Flatt and Monroe wrote several classic bluegrass songs together in the late 1940s.

Banjo master Earl Scruggs joined the Blue Grass Boys a few months after Flatt. Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs became the architects of a hard-driving, acoustic country style, a new form showcasing instrumental virtuosity that was nevertheless tradition-based. It was dubbed bluegrass music in honor of their band's name.

Flatt and Scruggs left Monroe in 1948 and formed their own Foggy Mountain Boys band. They became the most prominent act in popularizing the new sound, eventually taking it to college campuses, folk-music nightclubs, network television shows and their own syndicated TV series.

Throughout their career, Flatt & Scruggs wrote many of their most popular songs. Their compositions were sometimes credited to the maiden names of their wives, Gladys Stacey and Louise Certain.

The team broke up in 1969. Flatt formed his own band, the Nashville Grass, took his music in a more traditional direction and retained his membership with the Opry. Flatt had a heart attack in 1967 and underwent open-heart surgery in 1975. Despite being in declining health, he continued to tour and record. He died in 1979. Flatt & Scruggs were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985.

"(I'm) Head Over Heels in Love with You"

Flatt & Scruggs1950 
Don Gibson1963 #12 country
Porter Wagoner1963 
Skeeter Davis1968 

"Be Ready for Tomorrow May Never Come"

Flatt & Scruggs1960 

"Blue Ridge Cabin Home"

(written with Earl Scruggs)

Flatt & Scruggs1955 
The Country Gentlemen1971 
The Osborne Brothers1978 
Larry Sparks1982 
The Seldom Scene1991 
Ralph Stanley1992 
David Grisman1999 
John McEuen2000 
Robin & Linda Williams2007 

"Bouquet in Heaven"

Flatt & Scruggs1962 
J. D. Crowe & the New South1987 

"Cabin on the Hill"

(written with Earl Scruggs)

Flatt & Scruggs1959 #9 country

"Come Back Darling"

Flatt & Scruggs1959 

"Crying My Heart Out Over You"

(written with Earl Scruggs, Carl Bulter, George Sherry)

Flatt & Scruggs1960 #21 country
Ricky Skaggs1982 #1 country
Jeannie C. Riley1986 
Daniel O'Donnell2002 

"Don't Get Above Your Raisin'"

(written with Earl Scruggs)

Flatt & Scruggs1951 
Ricky Skaggs1981 #16 country

"Don't This Road Look Rough and Rocky"

(written with Earl Scruggs)

Flatt & Scruggs1954 
The Blue Sky Boys1976 
Porter Wagoner1977 
The Seldom Scene1985 
Jonathan Edwards1997 
The Country Gentlemen2007 

"Down the Road"

(written with Earl Scruggs)

Flatt & Scruggs1958 
Lester Flatt1970 
Marty Stuart1982 
Dan Fogelberg1985 #33 country
Doc Watson & Merle Watson1998 

"Get in Line, Brother"

(written with Earl Scruggs)

Flatt & Scruggs1951 
Marty Stuart1982 

"God Loves His Children"

(written with Earl Scruggs)

Flatt & Scruggs1948 
Skeeter Davis1968 
Bernie Leadon1991 
Lou Reid1996 

"Gonna Have Myself a Ball"

Flatt & Scruggs1964 

"I'll Never Shed Another Tear"

Flatt & Scruggs1960 
The Osborne Brothers1968 

"I'm Gonna Sleep with One Eye Open"

Flatt & Scruggs1959 
Hot Rize1982 
Dolly Parton1999 

"Little Cabin Home on the Hill"

(written with Bill Monroe)

Bill Monroe1947 
Porter Wagoner1965 
Lester Flatt1970 
John Hartford1976 
The Osborne Brothers1978 
Ricky Skaggs1979 
Jim & Jesse1997 

"My Cabin in Caroline"

(written with Earl Scruggs)

Flatt & Scruggs1948 
Bill Monroe1977 
The Osborne Brothers1992 

"My Little Girl in Tennessee"

Flatt & Scruggs1949 
The Osborne Brothers1968 
Lou Reid1994 

"My Saro Jane"

(written with Earl Scruggs)

Flatt & Scruggs1964 #40 country
The Grascals2005 

"No Mother or Dad"

(written with Curly Sechler)

Flatt & Scruggs1949 
J. D. Crowe1969 
The Osborne Brothers1978 

"Shuckin' the Corn"

(written with Earl Scruggs, Buck Graves)

Flatt & Scruggs1957 
The Kentucky Colonels1964 
The Lilly Brothers1965 
J. D. Crowe1982 
Bela Fleck1988 
Lester Flatt1975 
John McEuen1991 
Ronnie & Rob McCoury1995 
Josh Graves1998 
Roy Clark2005 
Marty Stuart2006 

"Sweetheart, You Done Me Wrong"

(written with Bill Monroe)

Bill Monroe1948 #11 country
Del McCoury1968 
Peter Rowan1985 
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver1999 

"The Legend of the Johnson Boys"

(written with Earl Scruggs)

Flatt & Scruggs1962 #27 country
Dry Branch Fire Squad1978 
Josh Williams2004 

"When You Are Lonely"

(written with Bill Monroe)

Bill Monroe1949 #12 country
Lester Flatt1973 
The Osborne Brothers1978 
Peter Rowan1985 

"Why Did You Wander"

Flatt & Scruggs1965 
Bill Monroe1980 
Ricky Skaggs2003 

"Will You Be Loving Another Man"

(written with Bill Monroe)

Bill Monroe1946 
Porter Wagoner1965 
The Osborne Brothers1968 
Lester Flatt1974 
Tony Rice1993 
The Reno Brothers1994 
Jim & Jesse1997 
The Grascals2006 
Tim Graves2007 

"Your Love Is Like a Flower"

(written with Earl Scruggs, Everett Lilly)

Flatt & Scruggs1953 
The Osborne Brothers1978 
Herb Pedersen1984 
Josh Graves1998 
Vassar Clements2001 
Lou Reid2003 
Dailey & Vincent2009 

Lester Flatt

Induction Year: 2007