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October 29

Merle Haggard Echoes All Mothers’ Sacrifices in “Mama Tried”

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Motherhood is a complicated concept. Many people who have not experienced becoming and will never be one do not understand how being a mom sometimes means carrying all this invisible weight on your shoulders while trying to make a facade that you are tough and invincible. However, for those who are mothers themselves and for those who have witnessed how a mother cares for her children, they know that being a mother is a full-time job with no breaks. Every day is a motherhood day. Some chose it; others did not but eventually knew how important it was. In country music, motherhood is a widely discussed topic. Every country artist has a tribute song to all mothers and Merle Haggard is one of them. In his song, ‘Mama Tried,’ he tells the story of a child who has to take responsibility for his choices without the help of her mother.

Mama Tried, Merle Haggard

Winning the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, ‘Mama Tried’ is a song written by Merle Haggard while in San Quentin prison for robbery. The song clearly depicts all the pain that a son caused his mother for all of his sins.

Many people would say that this country song is autobiographical in nature as it also tells that Merle Haggard’s father died when he was nine years old and his mother, a devout member of the Church of Christ. The song also tries to point out that Merle Haggard’s upbringing is conservative and strict which resulted to Haggard being an incorrigible child that constantly rebels to her mother.

With a really rich narrative, ‘Mama Tried’ also follows Haggard’s committed sins such as hopping on freight trains, shoplifting and writing bad checks. Alas, in 1957 he made a room for himself in prison for burglary which is also the day that he spent his 21st birthday.

Watch the music video here and let us know what you think:


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mama tried, merle haggard


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