“He was my brother, my friend. I will miss him.” – Willie Nelson
by Walter Price
The passing of the legendary songwriter and voice that was(is) Merle Haggard was devastatingly expected, not this soon but just the same his passing has generated a wide variety of social media posts from fans and contemporaries.
It’s the heartfelt feelings from around the world from average folk that touched me. In posts that made it seem these people actually new the Poet of the Common Man personally. Rightly so, Merle was one of the last of his kind. a true man of music, causes and a man that did it for his fans. Making music that is as potent today as the songs have always been. Songs that spoke to the common men and women who worked hard, loved, lost and raised a bit of Cain from time to time. The kind of people that I grew up with.
Merle came from an era where a country artist had to have something to say, the honest voice to get that message out and looks and glam were not that large a part of the equation. This is what I refer to as my favorite time for country music. The late 60’s, 70’s and into the early to mid 80’s, sure there were the glitzy pop.country acts (The Nashville sound) going on but Willie, Waylon, Kristofferson, Cash and Merle had different thoughts. And this changed music forever.
As a kid I knew all the words to so many songs by these artists even if I had no idea what I was singing along to, they were important to the people I knew and they became part of my life and helped build my love for and understanding of music.
Merle, you will be missed but I thank God for your legacy. Here are three Haggard songs that changed my life.
“Today I Started Loving You Again” (1968)
“The Fighting Side of Me” (1970)
“I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” (1980)
R.I.P. Merle Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016)