Five of our favorite Merle Haggard songs


A member of the Outlaw Country movement, Merle Haggard was a man who did things his way, even if it meant breaking the rules. His name is synonymous with other country greats like Waylon, Cash, Kris, and Hank.

He was born on April 6, 1937, in Oildale, California. After being shuffled in and out of prison, he found his way to the country music stage and never looked back. He would go on to receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a BMI Icon Award, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters, Country Music, and Oklahoma halls of fame. Sadly, in 2016, he passed away due to complications from pneumonia.

In honor of his legacy and celebration of his birthday, here are five of our favorite Merle Haggard songs.

“Branded Man”

Branded Man was the fourth studio album released by Merle Haggard and The Strangers. The single by the same name went on to hit number one on the U.S. country charts in 1967. He really tells the story of his younger years and always getting into trouble.

“Workin’ Man Blues”

This was the second single off of his 1969 album A Portrait of Merle Haggard. It would end up at the no. 1 spot on the charts and became a staple in his discography.

“I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”

Written by Haggard and released in 1980, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” would become his 26th no. 1 country hit. Its appeal has to do with how real the song is to any man who has had his heartbroken.

“Okie From Muskogee”

To many a fan, this is Haggard’s signature song. When it was first released, Okie from Muskogee was a live album. According to Haggard, it was a wistful tribute to his father and not a political statement.

“Mama Tried”

Released in 1968, this song is probably in anyone’s ‘top 10 country songs ever’ list. For many rowdy good ol boys, it is their anthem. Haggard was able to paint a picture of the pain he caused his own mother by being incarcerated. It earned him a Grammy Fall of Fame Award in 1999 and was selected for the National Recording Registry to be preserved.

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