In Deliverance, a scene depicts Billy Redden playing it opposite Ronny Cox, who joins him on guitar. Redden plays "Lonnie," a mentally challenged and inbred but extremely gifted banjo player. Redden could not actually play the banjo and the director thought his hand movements looked unconvincing. A local musician, Mike Addis, was brought in to depict the movement of the boy's left hand. Addis hid behind Redden, with his left arm in R Edden's shirt sleeve. Careful camera angles kept Addis out of the frame and completed the illusion. The music itself was dubbed in from the recording made by Weissberg and Mandell and was not played by the actors themselves. Two young musicians, Ron Brentano and Mike Russo had originally been signed to play their adaptation for the film, but instead, it was performed by Weissberg and Mandell.
"Dueling Banjos" was arranged and performed for the film by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell and was included on its soundtrack. When Arthur "Boogie" Smith was not acknowledged as the composer by the filmmakers, he sued and eventually won, receiving songwriting credit as well as royalties.
The song was briefly used in a TV commercial for the 2003 Saturn Vue.
"Dueling Banjos" is a bluegrass composition by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith. The song was composed in 1954 by Smith as a banjo instrumental he called "Feudin' Banjos," which contained riffs from Smith, recorded in 1955 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) along with Griffith himself.
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 Smith's permission. The film version was arranged and recorded by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell, but only credited to Weissberg on a single subsequently issued in December 1972. It went to #2 for four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1973, all four weeks behind Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly with His Song," and topped the adult contemporary chart for two weeks the same year. It reached No. 1 for one week on both the Cashbox and Record World pop charts. The song also reached No. 5 on the Hot Country Singles chart at the same time it was on the Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary Singles charts. It was also nominated for the 30th Golden Globe Awards in the Best Original Song category.
The song quotes the first 12 notes of "Yankee Doodle"
Several radio stations play an edit version, because of the slow introductions, plus the repetitions.
Middle of the Road is a Scottish pop group that has enjoyed success across Europe and Latin America since the 1970s. Before ABBA established themselves in the mid-70s, Middle of the Road was the sound of early Europop with their distinctive harmonies and lead vocals from Sally Carr. Four of their singles sold over one million copies each, and received a gold disc: "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep". "Sacramento", "Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum" and "Soley Soley". By early 1972 the group had sold over five million records.
Original lead singer Sally Carr, drummer Ken Andrew, guitarist Ian McCredie and his bassist brother Eric McCredie, founded the band on 1 April 1970 in Glasgow, Scotland. They had already played together under the name Part Four since 1967 and later in Latin American style under the name Las Caracas. Under the name Las Caracas they won the UK TV talent show Opportunity Knocks. They moved to Italy in 1970 because they had not found success in the United Kingdom. There they met the Italian music producer Giacomo Tosti, who gave the band their distinctive sound and gave them their international break.
The band had their first and biggest hit record in the United Kingdom with debut UK single, "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" to reach No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart in June 1971 and keep it for four more weeks. In all, Middle of the Road had five hit singles in the UK during 1971–1972. The band had especially strong success in Germany, where they achieved eleven Top 40 hits in 1971–1974. As an example of this, Frank Valdor was fast to adapt to Sacramento as his "party records". Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep and Sacramento were played a lot on Scandinavian radio. In the Dutch Daverende 30, the group had four number 1 hits in the period 1971–1973.
In 1974 early Bay City Rollers member Neil Henderson joined the band on guitar. He wrote and co-wrote songs for Middle of the Road (including the singles "Rockin' Soul" and "Everybody Loves a Winner" and 1974 albums, You Pays Yer Money and You Takes Yer Chance and Postcard, all released in Germany via Ariola like their first German LP, Music Music).