Merle Haggard

~ Person

Legal name: Merle R. Haggard, Merle Ronald Haggard


Merle Ronald Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fiddler. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band the Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the 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.

Haggard's childhood was troubled after the death of his father, and he was incarcerated several times in his youth. He managed to turn his life around and launch a successful country music career, gaining popularity with his songs about the working class that occasionally contained themes contrary to the prevailing anti-Vietnam War sentiment of much popular music of the time. Between the 1960s and the 1980s, he had 38 number-one hits on the US country charts, several of which also made the Billboard all-genre singles chart. Haggard continued to release successful albums into the 2000s.

He received many honors and awards for his music, including a Kennedy Center Honor (2010), a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2006), a BMI Icon Award (2006), and induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1977), Country Music Hall of Fame (1994) and Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame (1997). He died on April 6, 2016 — his 79th birthday — at his ranch in Northern California, having recently suffered from double pneumonia.

Haggard's last recording, a song called "Kern River Blues", described his departure from Bakersfield in the late 1970s and his displeasure with politicians. The song was recorded February 9, 2016, and features his son Ben on guitar. This record was released on May 12, 2016, marking the end of Haggard's music career.

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Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
20 Greatest Hits Merle Haggard 1
21 Years of #1 Hits 1967-1987 Merle Haggard 1
24 at No.1 Merle Haggard 1
25th Anniversary Album Merle Haggard 1
40 #1 Hits Merle Haggard 1
A Country Christmas With Merle Haggard Merle Haggard 1
A&E Biography: A (Musical) Anthology Merle Haggard 1
American Music Legends Merle Haggard 1
Country Legends Merle Haggard 1
For the Record Merle Haggard 1
Good Old Country Merle Haggard 1
Greatest No. 1 Hits Merle Haggard 1
His Epic Hits (The First 11) Merle Haggard 1
His Greatest and His Best Merle Haggard 1
Merle Haggard Collector's Edition Merle Haggard 1
The Best of Gospel Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson 1
The Best of the Best of Merle Haggard Merle Haggard 1
The Definitive Collection Merle Haggard 1
The Fightin' Side of Me: 15 #1 Hits Merle Haggard 1
The Ultimate Collection Merle Haggard 1
The Very Best of Merle Haggard Merle Haggard 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1995 Live Merle Haggard 1
1996 Okie from Muskogee: Recorded Live at Church St Station, Florida Merle Haggard 1
2000 Motorcycle Cowboy: Live at Billy Bob's Texas Merle Haggard 1
2006 Live From Austin, TX Merle Haggard 1
Live: The Hits and More Merle Haggard 1
Rainbow Stew: Live at Anaheim Stadium Merle Haggard 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1974 Things Aren't Funny Anymore / Honky Tonk Night Time Man Merle Haggard 1
2016 Kern River Blues Merle Haggard 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1990 Blue Jungle Merle Haggard 4 1
1996 Vintage Collections Merle Haggard 1
Hag & Let Me Tell You About a Song Merle Haggard 1
His Best Merle Haggard 1
The Way I Am Merle Haggard 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1987 The Very Best of Merle Haggard Merle Haggard 1
2008 Hag - The Capitol Recordings 1968-1976 - Concepts, Live & The Strangers Merle Haggard 1
Lonesome Fugitive Merle Haggard 1

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