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Stephan Mandell Of ‘Dueling Banjos’ Fame Dies

BALTIMORE (CelebrityAccess) Stephan A. Mandell, 76, the guitarist of “Dueling Banjos,” died from prostrate cancer in Baltimore March 14.

Mandell, alongside Eric Weissberg, won a Grammy for the song. Mandell’s musical background was extensive, touring with Judy Collins in the 1960s, according to the Baltimore Sun.

He also worked on Broadway and onstage, did studio work for acts like John Denver and Lou Reed and even worked on the McDonald’s ad “You Deserve A Break Today.” Weissberg was asked to play the banjo for the song for the movie “Deliverance.” The song was a traditional bluegrass number known as “Feuding Banjos.”

“They asked me if I could play that song and they wanted a guitar and a banjo, so I called Steve Mandell,” Weissberg told author Craig Rosen for the book “The Billboard Book of Number One Albums.”

The two played it 25 different ways before picking the famous version. The two men eventually formed Eric Weissberg & Deliverance and toured the country for a year promoting the movie.