Seventy-one years ago today (Dec, 8, 1945) was an historic day for country music: It was on that date that Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs made their debut on the Grand Ole Opry, as part of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys.

Flatt and Scruggs' appearance, which occurred at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, was a fortuitous one for the bluegrass artists, although they were unaware of it at the time. Only three years later, both men officially left the Blue Grass Boys to form their own band, the Foggy Mountain Boys. Their unique combined sound, with Scruggs playing banjo and Flatts on rhythm guitar, earned them a large following and a repeat invitation to perform at the Opry. In 1955, the two became official joint members of the prestigious country music organization.

Flatt and Scruggs continued performing and recording together until 1969, when they split to pursue their own interests. At the time, Flatt was determined to stay true to their traditional bluegrass roots, while Scruggs was interested in more mainstream sounds. In 1979, after a decade of solo work, the men began considering a reunion; unfortunately, Flatt passed away later that year. Still, their musical legacy, especially in bluegrass music, has made an impact on generations of artists.

“There’s nobody left in our town of [Earl Scruggs’] ilk and his magnificence," Marty Stuart says. "He’s left such a profound influence on so many of our lives.”

The duo was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985. Scruggs passed away in 2012.