“The Hag” was one of country music’s true icons, winning Grammys, ACM Awards, CMA Awards and a Kennedy Center Honor during his long career.
Haggard had 38 chart-topping country hits including the ever popular “Mama Tried,” blue collar anthem “Workin’ Man Blues” and “Pancho and Lefty” with his dear friend Willie Nelson. Influencing countless musicians in his wake, Haggard has left quite the impact on the genre. Sadly, Haggard recorded his final single months before he died of complications from pneumonia, it was released a month after his death on April 6th 2016.
The original “Okie from Muskogee” will be enshrined in the city thanks to the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. A bronze statue will go up outside at the Muskogee Civic Center, the same venue venue where Merle recorded the famous song and album “Okie from Muskogee” at a live concert.
“Okie From Muskogee” was the title track of Haggard’s first live album and was co-written with Roy Edward Burris. The classic Haggard tune went No. 1 on the country charts, and won a CMA Award for Song of the Year in 1970. Haggard said in 1970 that he first wrote the song after becoming disheartened by watching the protests surrounding the looming Vietnam War.
Even after his tragic death, The Haggs impact is still felt all around the genre. Here are some of our favorite Merle Moments!
Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson “Okie from Muskogee”
The Highwaymen – Highwayman (American Outlaws: Live at Nassau Coliseum, 1990)
Merle Haggard – Mama Tried (Live)
Merle Haggard – “Misery and Gin” [Live from Austin, TX]
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