September 11

Merle Haggard’s “Branded Man” Teaches Us Not to Judge Someone Based on Their Past


Have you ever been branded with something because of what you did in the past? Maybe you can relate to Merle Haggard’s 1967 classic hit. The track was part of his Branded Man album and it talks about his experience right after getting out of prison.

merle haggard, branded man
via Merle Haggard’s Facebook

Merle Haggard is a Branded Man

We all know of the time when Merle Haggard spent three years in jail. Being born during the great depression back then, it was tough for his family to earn a living. This caused him to do things necessary for survival and he was branded as a thief. During his three-year stay in San Quentin prison, he learned how to play music as a pastime. He became an entertainer for his fellow prison mates.

After he was pardoned by California’s Governor back then, Ronald Reagan in 1972, he started to fix his life. Of course, this was not an easy task for the outlaw singer since he already has a bad reputation. This was why he was inspired to write the song “Branded Man.” He wanted to pour out his feelings about how society treats people who have bad things in their past and is trying to be better.

merle haggard, branded man
via Screengrab from YouTube

Lyrics Breakdown

I’d like to hold my head up and be proud of who I am
But they won’t let my secret go untold

This is what makes Merle Haggard a great country artist. He shows what he truly feels about the world and what is happening to us in his songs. Bias and prejudice is almost a second nature to us and this should not be the case. We are only promoting unnecessary hate that is not needed for us to progress as a society.

If a person tries his/her best to move past their mistake, then we should let them. Instead of judging them, we must give our full support because it is what they need.

Listen to the song here:



1967 classic country song, branded man, country outlaw, merle haggard

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