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February 27

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s Friendship in “Unfair Weather Friend”

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Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard were friends since 1964. They met when they were playing a poker game. This led to a friendship that lasted until the death of Haggard in 2016.

Before Haggard’s death, the two have recorded an album together and one song in their album speaks about friendship.

merle haggard willie nelson unfair weather friend
Merle Haggard performs with a Fender Telecaster with Willie Nelson (Photo by Beth Gwinn/Getty Images)

“Unfair Weather Friend”

Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson recorded the song “Unfair Weather Friend” penned by Marla Cannon-Goodman and Ward Davis. This was one of the last songs Haggard recorded with Nelson.

The Making of “Unfair Weather Friend”

Cannon-Goodman shared to The Boot how she wrote the song “Unfair Weather Friend.” Before she wrote the song, she had to meet her longtime best friend whose mother died. She sat there with her best friend and her best friend’s sisters.

They way Cannon-Goodman felt led her to write the song “Unfair Weather Friend” with Ward Davis. She said that when she’s the one who needs a friend by her side, surely her best friend who also be there for her. She said that her best friend is a fair-weather friend, but thinks that she’s more than that. Ward said that she’s an Unfair Weather Friend.

“This has been heavy on my heart all week. I’ve been dealing with that, since she’s my best friend, and I know she would sit there with me through all of that.”

From Sheryl Crow to Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson

This then led to the making of the song “Unfair Weather Friend.” It was first pitched as a duet to Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow, but they refused to record it. When Buddy Cannon was producing Nelson and Haggard’s album Django and Jimmie, he pitched the song to them, and they liked it.

The Last Album, Django and Jimmie

Django and Jimmie was the final album Haggard recorded with Nelson. They made it reach number one on the Billboard Country Albums chart. In addition, it made it to different charts outside of the US.

The only song they released as a single was “It’s All Going to Pot.” The single reached number forty-eight on the chart. Jamey Johnson’s voice is also featured in the song.

Check out this heartfelt friendship song of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson.


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merle haggard, Unfair Weather Friend, Willie Nelson


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