Merle Haggard, American Musician, 1937-2016


Merle Haggard is dead.
God rest his soul.
The last and greatest of the musical titans finally falls.
Possibly the greatest of them all, in our national history, at capturing in music the hard, Jacksonian core of America.
Merle Haggard riding his bicycle as a kid, too young to get in, hanging around by the back door, to hear Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, part of a continuity that stretches back to the peopling of the American backcountry, and beyond that to the bloody world of the English border, and poor and proud people who made their own music.
Merle lived hard. Nine lives at least.
If you are not yet a Merle Haggard fan, get that way.
Merle Haggard, we will never forget you.
We will never stop loving your music.

7 thoughts on “Merle Haggard, American Musician, 1937-2016”

  1. One way to judge the legacy of a man is to see who he influenced.

    Merle was instrumental in developing the Bakersfield Sound and that style of music was appreciated by the Rolling Stones who liked it so much that they wrote a song in that style, Far Away Eyes.

    Merle also opened for the Stones when they played in Dallas, so I imagine that there was some relationship behind the scenes because the musical fit doesn’t seem obvious to me.

  2. That behind the scenes link was Gram Parsons. He taught the Stones all about Merle Haggard and country music a decade before that song.

    The brief time he spent with them he wrote Wild Horses and probably Country Honk too and changed the whole direction of their music.

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