Remembering Merle Haggard On the 4th Anniversary of his Death
Haggard’s real gift is that anyone who hears his songs recognizes the truth in them. As a result, Haggard found his songs at the top of the charts on a regular basis. People could relate to them. Immediately embraced by country fans, he also earned the respect of his peers. In addition to over forty #1 hits, Haggard charted scores of Top Ten songs. He won just about every music award imaginable, both as a performer and as a songwriter, and in 1994 was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Merle was born in 1937, outside Bakersfield, California. His parents moved the family there after their farm in Oklahoma burned down. The family lived in an old boxcar that they converted into a home. Merle knew a lot about hard life as well as living hard, especially having sent time in prison!
No matter what the current fashion of the moment was in music, Haggard always went his own way blending elements of jazz, rock, blues and folk music into his arrangements.
The Hag told the Boston Globe...
I’ll tell you what the public likes more than anything, it’s the most rare commodity in the world – honesty.