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George Strait Pays Tribute to Merle Haggard with “Are the Good Times Really Over”

by
  • Riley is a Senior Country Music Journalist for Country Thang Daily, known for her engaging storytelling and insightful coverage of the genre.
  • Before joining Country Thang Daily, Riley developed her expertise at Billboard and People magazine, focusing on feature stories and music reviews.
  • Riley has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Belmont University, with a minor in Cultural Studies.

Country icon George Strait did not disappoint with his cover of “Are The Good Times Really Over.” He sang the classic Merle Haggard tune during his comeback performance in 2017 to pay tribute to the late country legend.

“Are the Good Times Really Over”: A Tribute to Merle Haggard

“Are the Good Times Really Over” was written by Merle Haggard in 1981 and was released in May 1982. Since it was such a hit, many artists covered the song, like Wynonna, John Doe, and The Sadies.

George Strait’s cover of Merle’s “Are The Good Times Really Over” blew fans away. In the video of his performance,  the crowd instantly went wild as he delivered the first few lines of the song. This was an extra special time for fans since they thought they would not see him perform since he announced his hiatus in 2012.

On September 26 that year, George announced his final tour, “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour,”  during a press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The announcement caused a stir among fans who thought that the singer was retiring from music. He clarified that he was done with touring but not from making records. 

The King’s version of the song became the talk of the town, proving that no other singer could do such a rendition other than him. George’s performance of Merle’s classic song was applauded after fans noted how the performance was a tribute to the legendary singer.

George Strait’s cover remains iconic up to this date. It’s one moment in country music that will go down in history and will always be remembered. Truly, an “absolute legend’s tribute to an absolute legend,” as one user commented on YouTube. 

Listen to George Strait’s “Are The Good Times Really Over” right here.

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