No song that evokes sadness and loneliness in Merle’s catalog as much as his potent track “Misery and Gin.” Though Merle did not write the track, he made the song like his own. Have you heard of the song yet? If yes, I believe you will agree that this can be considered as his most heartrending song. Hmm… getting more interesting eh? Of course! Witnessing The Hag singing emotionally is far from his outlaw image. This song, however is different from those breakup songs in a way that it implies the man as the one who ended the relationship. Later on, he realize how devastating it is when you realize the pain. Then that’s the time you run to the power of the gin hoping it will help you drown your sorrows.
Memories and drinks don’t mix too well
And jukebox records don’t play those wedding bells
Looking at the world through the bottom of a glass
All I see is a man who’s fadin’ fast.
The lyrics of the song say it all, we try to resort into alcohol believing it will take the pain away, or wash away the memories. We never learned. It’s actually the spirit of the gin that makes those moments come back and haunt us. It will only make us more vulnerable. Maybe we find comfort or pleasure in a bar, under the “neon lights,” but that’s just temporary. When the night is away, and you have to wake up to a new day, you still have to face the situation no matter how you have been submerging yourself to alcohol. Plus of course, the headache you get from too much drinking!
“Misery and Gin”, how it all began
Merle Haggard did not deny that he relate with the man’s situation in the song that’s why he was able to deliver with conviction. He was undergoing a tumultuous marriage with his wife Leona during the time he recorded the song. The heartbreaking ballad was written by David Cantwell, and polished by Tin Pan Alley. Merle’s live version from Anaheim Stadium in 1981 was the first song he played at the soncert in front of ten thousands of fans.