This 1981 hit by Merle Haggard was written by himself. When he signed a new contract with Epic Records the same year, the first tow album under the deal brought a resurgence in his long career. After he left Capitol in 1977 and being under MCA for over four years, they produced just one official No. 1 hit, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here.”
He left MCA by 1981 and when he signed a new contract with Epic Records, he was teamed up with Peggy Russell to write his autobiography, “Sing Me Back Home.” It candidly detailed the sordid aspects of his private life. It included his three-year time in prison at San Quentin and his father’s death in 1946. Not only that, it also includes his romantic feelings for Dolly Parton which was written in his 1975 hit “Always Wanting You.” After the book was published, the told People Magazine that he was not sure of putting all his life in a book. It was because of the reason that he could see the disappointment on people’s faces when he would meet someone.
Merle Haggard was snowed in his home in California several years earlier. It forced him to cancel a series of shows in Las Vegas. The song “My Favorite Memory came from that period.
Back in 1979, he had his temporary retirement and he described it as a case of fatigue and “male menopause.” This was the time when he became increasingly entranced with the aging process and in memory in particular. Haggard believed that the greatest asset as a human is having his memory. He explained:
“Photography is a memory you can look at, a song is a memory you can listen to, a memory captured with the least amount of words and being involved in the presentation of it. When you see everything change as the years go by, the only thing that stays the same is that memory, the good times you once had.”
The song “My Favorite Memory” debuted on Billboard’s country singles chart on September 19, 1981, and by November 28th it reached the top spot, for Merle’s first of twelve number one songs for the Epic label and the 27th of his 38 chart-toppers. It was third-most in history behind Conway Twitty’s 40 and George Strait’s authentic Billboard tally of 44.
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