Sonny Osborne, Bluegrass Banjoist Behind ‘Rocky Top,’ Dies at 84

With his brother Bobby, the bluegrass legends were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, won a CMA Award and helped popularize & modernize the genre.

Bluegrass musician and singer Sonny Osborne, whose fast banjo licks turned “Rocky Top” into a hit with The Osborne Brothers, has died. He was 84.

Alison Brown, a Grammy-winning banjo player, told The Tennessean that Osborne died on Sunday. His death was first announced on the website Bluegrass Today, where Osborne was a columnist.

With his older brother Bobby, who sang and played the mandolin, the bluegrass legends were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, won a CMA Award and helped popularize and modernize the genre.

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