Inspiration Behind the Song
The same as Merle Haggard’s hit “Big City,” Going Where The Lonely Go” was also inspired by The Hag’s friend Dean Holloway. When Holloway was leaving the Britannia Studio, heading down the street, Merle asked him where he was going and Dean answered,
“I’m going where the lonely go.”
Holloway’s answer sparked a thought in Merle Haggard’s mind. Then, a song emerged, Merle immediately arranged and recorded the song before they completed the block of sessions.
Merle Haggard’s Songwriting Style
“Going Where The Lonely Go,” just like the hits written by The Hag, follows the usual pattern of inspiration for Merle Haggard. In an interview for the “American Songwriter” magazine, Merle said that as a rule, he wasn’t the one who writes a planned song. Often, a thought would come to him from something or from what someone said. After a few experiences, he learned to write down the idea down quickly or else he might forget it. Haggard also said that he never went to secluded areas to write a song. Instead, most of his ideas that came to him appeared to him while he was in a middle of something and everything was going on around him.
The Fourth Most Successful Artist in the History of Country Music
Twelve years after he completed a short time in prison at San Quentin Prison, Merle Haggard was given a complete and unconditional pardon for his criminal offenses by California Governor Ronald Reagan in March 1972. However, he still felt like a prisoner. He explained to a journalist named Bob Allen,
“The hardest part for me is after a performance when there’s people beating on the bus and screaming. Sometimes I can hardly stand it. The only difference in my life now is the size of the cell, and the fact that this one is on four wheels.”
Hopefully, during the remainder of his life, he no longer felt the feeling of being a prisoner. He had his last hit in 1989 with one of the best records, the No. 4 “A Better Love Next Time.” This song was his 71st Top Ten single with 38 No. 1 hits. With this record, he is third behind King George Strait and Conway Twitty for most No. 1 hits. Not only that, in the history of country music, Merle Haggard was the fourth most successful artist.