Merle Haggard + It's All in theMovies

by

Riley Johnson

Updated

February 15, 2024

Updated

February 15, 2024

Updated

February 15, 2024

“That’s all in the movies; so baby don’t cry,” Merle Haggard soothed in his 1975 number-one hit song with the Strangers titled “It’s All in the Movies.” And it was such an easy listen with a simple, remarkable melody and uncomplicated lyrics. As always, The Hag committed to complete simplicity, saying, “The best songs feel like they’ve always been here.” 

And it’s this profound ability to connect and resonate with his listeners without any fancy words or lines that made him one of country music’s masterful storytellers. 

Meaning Behind the Song

“It’s All in the Movies,” written and recorded by Merle Haggard and The Strangers, was the first single release and title track of his same-titled 1975 album. It was their 22nd number-one hit, and spent thirteen weeks on the country chart.

The first part of the song depicts the story of a couple who were once so in love with their life together. But somehow, that love peaked and then plateaued, and some got lost along the way. And to the protagonist’s lover, it meant that their love story was over. 

And then, in the chorus, the protagonist reminds their lover that they’re not in the movies. They also reassured them that their love can withstand whatever hardship comes. They have their reality, and what happens in the movies won’t happen to them. It’s also a reminder to everyone that movies can romanticize life. It’s far from reality. 

Haggard’s distinctive, soulful voice added a layer of emotional depth to the song that was hard to replicate. Well, all Merle Haggard songs have that in common. 

It’s also worth noting that there were a couple of saxophone solos in the tune, which gave the song more diversity than what you’d hear from a typical ‘70s country song. More importantly, it paired perfectly with the lyrics. 

If you’d like to hear a good old love song, then this Merle Haggard tune is the way to go. Check out “It’s All in the Movies” in the video below. This song has also been covered by his son, Ben Haggard. You might want to listen to that as well. 


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