Doug Dillard of The Dillards dies at 75

Thursday, May 17, 2012 – Doug Dillard, a banjo playing member of The Dillards, died Wednesday in Nashville at 75 after being sick for several months.

The band combined styles including bluegrass and country rock. The band gained much notoriety for being The Darlings on The Andy Griffith Show. Dillard also was one-half of Dillard & Clark, which he started in 1968 with Gene Clark, ex front man for The Byrds.

Dillard was an original member of The Dillards along with his brother Rodney, Roy Dean Webb and Mitchell Jayne. Among those who were in the band were Dewey Martin, Herb Pedersen, Byron Berline and Glen D. Hardin.

Dillard was born in Salem, Mo. On March 6, 1937. He started playing guitar at age five and later played banjo after receiving the instrument as a gift from his parents when he was 15.

In 1958, Doug and Rodney recorded together Banjo in the Hollow for a small St. Louis label. With a band soon joining together, the band moved out to California. While there in the early 1960's, they landed a gig on the Andy Griffith Show because a producer of the show wanted to find a group to serve as the mountain family The Darlings. The TV show gave the band great exposure. They toured with the Likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Carl Perkins.

The band enjoyed five albums on Elektra from 1963-70 before moving onto other labels, including Flying fish and Vanguard.

While recording as The Dillards, Doug Dillard also recorded solo albums. In the mid-1980's, he formed The Doug Dillard Band, which included Jonathan Yudkin and David Grier. In 2009, the Dillards were inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame.