Merle Ronald Haggard (born April 6, 1937) is an American country music song writer, singer, guitarist, fiddler, and instrumentalist. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster and the unique mix with the traditional country steel guitar sound, new vocal harmony styles in which the words are minimal, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville Sound recordings of the same era.
By the 1970s, Haggard was aligned with the growing outlaw country movement, and has continued to release successful albums through the 1990s and into the 2000s. In 1997, Merle Haggard was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
In 2000, Haggard made a comeback of sorts, signing with the independent record label Anti and releasing the spare If I Could Only Fly to critical acclaim. He followed it in 2001 with Roots, vol. 1, a collection of Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, and Hank Thompson covers, along with three Haggard originals. The album, recorded in Haggard’s living room with no overdubs, featured Haggard’s longtime bandmates The Strangers as well as Frizzell’s original lead guitarist, Norman Stephens. In December 2004, Haggard spoke at length on Larry King Live about his incarceration as a young man and said it was “hell” and “the scariest experience of my life”.
Haggard’s number one hit single “Mama Tried” is featured in the 2003 film Radio with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris as well as in Bryan Bertino’s “The Strangers” with Liv Tyler. In addition, his song “Swingin’ Doors” can be heard in the 2004 film Crash and his 1981 hit “Big City” is heard in Joel and Ethan Coen‘s 1996 film “Fargo” and in the 2008 Larry Bishop film “Hell Ride”, executive produced by Quentin Tarantino.
In October 2005, Haggard released his album Chicago Wind to mostly positive reviews. The album contained an anti-Iraq war song titled “America First,” in which he laments the nation’s economy and faltering infrastructure, applauds its soldiers, and sings, “Let’s get out of Iraq, and get back on track.” This follows from his 2003 release “Haggard Like Never Before” in which he includes a song, “That’s The News”. Haggard released a bluegrass album, The Bluegrass Sessions, on October 2, 2007. In 2008, Haggard was going to perform at Riverfest in Little Rock, Arkansas, but the concert was canceled because he was ailing, and three other concerts were canceled as well; however, he was back on the road in June and successfully completed a tour that ended on October 19.
In April 2010, Haggard released a new album, I Am What I Am. Released to strong reviews, Haggard performed the title song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in February 2011 – Wikipedia
|1||Pancho & Lefty|
|2||If We Make It Through December|
|3||The Fightin’ Side of Me|
|4||Everybody’s Had the Blues|
|6||Going Where the Lonely Go|
|7||Someday When Things Are Good|
|8||Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star|
|9||Old Man from the Mountain|
|10||Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)|
|11||I Wonder If They Ever Think of Me|
|13||Bar Room Buddies (with Clint Eastwood)|
|14||That’s the Way Love Goes|
|15||It’s Been a Great Afternoon|
|16||Okie from Muskogee|
|17||It’s Not Love (But It’s Not Bad)|
|18||Politically Uncorrect (with Gretchen Wilson)|
|19||My Favorite Memory|
|20||I Can’t Be Myself|
|21||What Am I Gonna Do (With the Rest of My Life)|
|23||Jesus, Take a Hold|
|25||From Graceland to the Promised Land|
|26||My Own Kind of Hat|
|27||I Had a Beautiful Time|
|29||Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room|
|30||It’s All in the Movies|
|32||A Better Love Next Time|
|34||The Emptiest Arms in the World|
|37||A Friend in California|
|38||A Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today|
- Merle Haggard Background Information (vividseats.com)
- Merle Haggard doesn’t call himself an ‘Old Fart’ (victoriaadvocate.com)
- Singing along with Merle Haggard (thefirstgates.com)
- Willie Nelson & Family @ Hard Rock, Hollywood, FL. (2/7/13) with Merle Haggard (stillisstillmoving.com)