This is Merle Haggard’s 27th chart-topping song. As you can see in the title, the singer detailed his life living in a big city, specifically Detroit.
But, what does this country outlaw singer really feel with the whole urban life? Written just after his grueling two-day recording session in Los Angeles, he wrote the song with his childhood friend Dean Holloway.
Merle Haggard’s Experience with the Big City
The inspiration behind the song actually came from Dean Holloway. He was just sitting for hours inside the bus waiting for Merle to finish his recording session. When Merle came up to check in him, his response was:
“I’m tired of this dirty old city.”
And then inspiration hit the two and wrote the song. Merle clarified that the song was pertaining to Detroit and not Los Angeles. He said:
“I imagined a family leaving Detroit and happy to be getting out.”
This response was pertaining to the car industry facing tough times after a gas shortage. But this for sure is not the only thing that Big Cities, like LA or NYC, experience. The overpopulation, the smoke in the air, and crimes happening left and right might be a few characteristics of these cities.
With that said, Montana is the dream place of the singer. He longs for wide open spaces and a not-so-busy neighborhood.
In contrast to that, living in the countryside is simpler. You get to experience fresh air and a silent neighborhood. Definitely a calmer place as compared to the city.
I’m tired of this dirty old city
And tired of too much work
And never enough play
And I’m tired of these dirty old sidewalks
Think I’ll walk off my steady job today
On the first part of the song, you’ll already know the disdain that songwriters feel towards urban life. Merle told the truth about the struggles that you encounter living in a city.
You work so much but the money only goes to rent, water bill, or electricity bill. With this, you feel overworked without actually sowing the benefits of your monthly salary.
But with living in the country side, everything is just simpler. Lower bills to pay or maybe a free house to live in if you know someone back in your hometown. And you get to hang out with people that you actually know and love.
That is why Merle Haggard made a huge point in his song. This maybe criticizing the urban way of life, but the truth is the truth. You can never contest to it and that is why Merle is such a huge inspiration because he sings the truth.
Listen to the song by clicking here: