Merle Haggard, singer, songwriter
Singer ~ Songwriter
birth name: Merle Ronald Haggard

Merle Haggard

April 6, 1937 Bakersfield, CA ~ April 6, 2016

“Nashville has been very nice to me. They've come to appreciate my music, I guess, over the years. Regardless of the fact that I didn't live there, they were kind to me when it came time for the awards each year.” ~ Merle Haggard

Country legend Merle Haggard, often called “the Poet of the Common Man,” whose music reflected his hardscrabble roots and hard-living ways as well as a tenderness that made him a revered songwriter, died Wednesday at his home near Redding, Calif. He was 79. ~ Variety: Merle Haggard Obituary ~ April 6, 2016 © Variety

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April 6, 1985 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (2) Madonna, Material Girl ~ #2 (3) USA For Africa, We Are The World ~ #1 (1) Phil Collins, One More Night


If the question were asked, “Who forged the genre that is known today as ‘modern country music’?,” only a tiny group of country immortals could step forward to share the spotlight. One, out of that select handful, would be Merle Haggard. ~ Breakout Management: Merle Haggard ~ retrieved April 19, 2014 © Breakout Management

“When I was nine years old, right after my dad died, my mother got me some violin lessons with this big heavyset lady. It took nine lessons before this lady said to my mother, “You're wasting your money. He's got too good an ear. He's not going to fool with learning to read when he can play something that he hears on the radio.” When I heard her say that, I knew I had something.” ~ Merle Haggard ~ Esquire: Merle Haggard Interview ~ August 23, 2007 © Esquire

Merle Haggard ~ Ranked #77 Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Singers in 2008. ~ Merle Haggard's tough but smooth baritone epitomized Sixties and Seventies country, from the stubborn attack of Okie From Muskogee and The Fightin' Side Of Me to the delicate crooning on Silver Wings and If We Make It Through December. ~ 2008 © Rolling Stone

In 2012 no less than five Merle Haggard albums made it to the #DLW500 Dylan's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time ~ #494 Sing Me Back Home (1968) ~ #420 Back To The Barrooms (1980) ~ #368 Mama Tried (1968) ~ #210 Branded Man (1969) ~ #22 Swinging Doors/The Bottle Let Me Down (1966)

Merle Haggard ~ Sing Me Back Home (Haggard) ~ Ranked #32 Rolling Stone 40 Saddest Country Songs Of All Time in 2014 ~ There's a toughness to Merle's sentimentality in this 1967 song befitting its real-life source material. It's a eulogy to fellow San Quentin inmate “Rabbit” Hendricks, who killed a police officer during a botched escape attempt and was sent to the gas chamber. We can only wonder what last song was sad and sweet enough for the death row prisoner to request his “guitar-playing friend” to perform. ~ 2014 © Rolling Stone

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