Bob Dylan said it might be best in an interview in 2009:
Merle Haggard is larger than Mount Rushmore.
Beside some are even Bob Dylan in the shade.
Merle Haggard was such a person.
Dylan compare him with one of the world’s most famous mountain does not feel the least bit excessive.
Mount Rushmore is located in Keystone, South Dakota. It is adorned with 18-meter high granite busts of four US presidents – George Washington , Abraham Lincoln , Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt . The monument was built in the 20th century to celebrate the first 150 years of US history.
And if country music had his own Mount Rushmore would Merle Haggard’s face have been cut into the stone long ago. Writing about country music history without mentioning “Hag” is as impossible as trying to explain how the country the United States developed without studying Abraham Lincoln.
Merle Haggard was so present and influential that his name became synonymous with a sound. The music, the person, his voice – he was an archetypal male force of nature.
Self Haggard would certainly have flinat to such descriptions. He shrugged, tipped cowboy hat and politely dismissed them as nonsense.
Unlike his friend and colleague Johnny Cash , which with time almost appeared as a biblical nature in black clothes, never left Haggard boots everyday. The harsh, barren and sad everyday. In an interview with Time magazine in 1974 Merle Haggard said that he saw the country as music’s equivalent of journalism. If Merle example singing about alienation and prisons, he knew what he was talking about. When he turned 23, he had already managed to sit seven years behind bars for robbery, among other things.
No fewer than 38 chart-topping singles became the country music charts in the United States. Among them is perhaps “Okie from Muskogee” the 1969 best known. The single was released a few weeks after the Woodstock Festival and was a reactionary attack on the hippie culture. Marijuana and LSD? No thanks. Military? Hallelujah. After “Okie from Muskogee” has Haggard in some circles, is somewhat misleading and unfair, always been regarded as a conservative redneck from Bakersfield, California.
Self he took years resurrection of tranquility. Or, as he commented on the song in the magazine Men’s Journal:
“I smoked when I wrote ‘Okie from Muskogee’. I thought it (marijuana) was the reason for the hippie kids walking around with their mouths open. So it was not. But if a man does not learn anything in 50 years is something wrong with him. “
Merle Haggard sang about the poor and the lost, the workers and the underclass, alcoholics and criminals. Just like in the biggest country artists, there is a certain comfort in his music. How damn it may be, he has been there and wrote a song about it.
Listen to “Sing Me Back Home”. There is everything.