Merle Haggard was one of the best country singers of all time. He provided us with great music and work of arts. Sadly, we are unable to watch his performances anymore. We are unable to feel his existence. However, he left us memories and music to remember his legacy. To reminisce the remembrances of “The Hag,” listen to his very last recorded song called “Kern River Blues.” The song will genuinely make your eyes water.
In Merle Haggard’s entire career, he has placed thirty-eight number one singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Those songs can remind us of his abundant performances and his inspiring journey.
Kern River Blues
“Kern River Blues” is a song depicting his life. It is merely his life and time in Bakersfield, California way back in the 70s. Additionally, the song portrays his lamentations about the city’s massive growth. Apart from that, the song gives a glimpse of his haunting memories.
Moreover, “Kern River Blues” was recorded at his home back on February 9, 2016. Ben, his son, was featured on the guitar.
Merle Haggard has been through bad times before achieving the limelight. He faced a lot of struggles in life before becoming an ultimate star. Moreover, he has been in and out of juvenile detention center, he ran away from home, involved in a theft, fused in a robbery, has been in prison, and then a sudden struck of change hit him.
While in prison, Haggard learned that his wife was expecting another man’s child, which pressed him psychologically. He was fired from a series of prison jobs and planned to escape along with another inmate named “Rabbit,” but was convinced not to escape by fellow inmates.
Haggard started gambling and brewing racket with his cellmate. After he was caught drunk, he was sent for a week to solitary confinement where he met Caryl Chessman, an author, and a death-row inmate. Meanwhile, his inmate named James “Rabbit” Kendrick has managed to escape by shooting a police officer. With this, his friend was returned to jail and was executed.
Chessman’s predicament, along with the execution of “Rabbit,” inspired Haggard to change his life. He soon earned a high school equivalency diploma and kept a steady job in the prison’s textile plant. Haggard also played for the prison’s country music band, attributing a performance by Johnny Cash at the jail on New Year’s Day of 1959 as his main inspiration. He was released from San Quentin on parole in 1960.
The Rise to Stardom…
It was not a smooth beginning for Haggard’s musical career. His very first record with Tally Records entitled “Singing My Heart Out” was a whole flat. Despite Haggard’s wanting to pursue his career, he kept chasing his dreams.
He asked for a consent to record “Sing A Sad Song” which was, astonishingly, became a huge hit in 1964. The following year, he recorded “My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers” written by Liz Anderson, the mother of country singer Lynn Anderson. The song made Haggard’s career skyrocket.
In 1966, Merle Haggard recorded “I’m A Lonesome Fugitive” also written by Liz Anderson and Casey Anderson. The song was his very first No.1 single on the country charts. After his very first success, he continued recording and releasing songs. Indeed, the rest was history.
It has been two years since the country music world lost the legendary Merle Haggard. He died on April 6, 2016, on his 79th birthday due to complications of double pneumonia.
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kern river blues, merle haggard, The Hag
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