Merle Haggard

From ArticleWorld

Merle Ronald Haggarrd is an American country music singer and songwriter that was a pioneer of the Bakersfield Sound and played a part in the outlaw country movement. He began his music career in the 1950’s and continues to release successful singles and albums. He is one of the most popular and influential song writers in country music and sings about country msuic favorites: drinking, jail, work, wandering, love, and betrayal.

Early Life & Music

Haggard was born in Bakersfield, California on April 6, 1937 and by the time he was nine found himself in a juvenile detention center. He taught himself to play the guitar at twelve and ran away to Texas at age 14. He moved around between detention centers and amassed charges of truancy, robbery, assault, and larceny. When he was finally released from the detention center he went to a Lefty Frizzell concert. He sang for Frizzell, who was so impressed he let him sing at his concert. The audience was very impressed, and he began his music career.

He earned a reputation locally but was arrested for robbery and sent to prison for 15 years in 1957. He got out early, in 1960, with the decision to turn his life around.

Music Career

Haggard began performing again and signed with Tally Records where he released a number of hit singles. He moved to Capital Records and soon was a nationally known success with hits like "Mamma Tried," "Sing Me Back Home," "The Fugitive," and "Hungry Eyes." His hit release of "Okie from Muskogee" and "The Fightin’ Side of Me" in 1969 were ‘autobiographical works’ and proved to be his signature songs.

Haggard’s audience popularity was diminishing by the 1980’s. He won a Grammy for best country male vocal vocal performance in 1984 after the released Sing Me Back Home. Lately he spoken out about his dislike of modern country music, but has had good things to say about artists like George Strait and Randy Travis.