American country music performer, songwriter, and guitarist Merle Haggard was renowned for his distinctive voice and compositional prowess. Haggard’s turbulent past, which includes time spent in prison, had an impact on his music. He created music that gave voice to the lives of working-class Americans and mirrored their challenges.
Haggard distinguished himself from his peers with a unique blend of honky-tonk, Western swing, and Bakersfield sound. In the 1960s and 1970s, he enjoyed a run of successes that included “Mama Tried,” “Okie from Muskogee,” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” which became anthems for conservative Americans.
Haggard had a significant influence on country music. He was given various honors over his career and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. He had a major role in the creation of outlaw country music and served as an inspiration for several generations of performers.
Merle Haggard had a very turbulent existence, which inspired him to write some excellent timeless songs that we’ll always remember. He was the epitome of a “wayward adolescent” as a young adult, committing minor offenses until he attended a Johnny Cash concert, which permanently altered the trajectory of his life. He became a popular singer-songwriter and encouraged other people to appreciate the good in others. Here are some of his legendary songs.
“A Place To Fall Apart” – It’s All In The Game (1984)
The song was first recorded by Merle Haggard in 1984 for his album “It’s All in the Game”. It features guest vocals from Janie Fricke and was produced by Nelson and Haggard themselves. The song tells the story of a couple whose relationship has fallen apart, and they are left with nothing but alcohol and heartache.
“That’s The Way Love Goes” – That’s The Way Love Goes (1983)
The song is renowned for its slick and seductive production, laid-back groove, and famous catchy chorus in R&B music. The song’s lyrics discuss how love may be unpredictable and can take unexpected twists. Haggard begins “That’s the Way Love Goes,” one of his more upbeat songs, by talking about positive things like luck and love. Johnny Rodriguez gave the song’s first performance ten years ago, in 1973.
“Yesterday’s Wine” – A Taste Of Yesterday’s Wine (1982)
The song “Yesterday’s Wine” was originally written and sung by Willie Nelson, but it wasn’t until Haggard and George Jones covered it that it gained widespread radio airplay. The song was a wonderful fit for the two vocalists, who were frequently cited as two of the best exponents of authentic country music and had both endured a great deal of personal adversity over the course of their individual careers. He compares himself to yesterday’s wine, previously vibrant and flavorful but now lacking in shine. Haggard’s rendition of the song brilliantly portrays the grief and regret stated in the words, which have a melancholy tone to them.
“Pancho And Lefty” – Pancho And Lefty (1983)
The song tells the tale of two friends, Pancho and Lefty, with Pancho being a bandit in Mexico and Lefty being a traitor who turned Pancho into the authorities. The song’s melancholic melody and lyrics depict the betrayal and loneliness experienced by both men. The song has since become a country music classic and is considered one of Haggard and Nelson’s most iconic duets.
Haggard and Willie Nelson recorded “Pancho and Lefty,” a song by country music icon Townes Van Zandt, for their 1983 album of the same name. The ballad, which told the tale of a country fugitive, was a No. 1 hit for the two.
“Big City” – Big City (1981)
The song tells the story of a man who is tired of the fast-paced and stressful life of living in the city and yearns for a simpler life in a small town. Haggard’s unique vocal delivery perfectly captures the frustration and longing of the song’s protagonist.
You need to look no further than Haggard’s performance of “Big City,” which he sang with such contempt and conviction if you’re looking for some company in your dislike of city life.