September 18

Tailor-made for Dolly Parton, “Always Wanting You” by Merle Haggard

A young photo of Merle Haggard from YouTube
The young and handsome Merle Haggard. Photo from YouTube via Screengrab.

“Always Wanting You” by Merle Haggard is a song in which an artist expresses his love to another artist.  In the country music genre, this kind of song is just ordinary. What makes it different though is that Merle Haggard was expressing real love to Dolly Parton. Although he didn’t mention Dolly Parton in the song, it was common knowledge whom the song about and to whom he was singing it for. Having that said, he didn’t have any problem making his feelings towards Dolly Parton public.

The Strong Feelings for Her

Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard toured together many times during ’74 to ’75. Traveling together from show to show, she would ride in his bus and he would ride hers. The two artists had a lot of conversations about music and their personal goals. Moreover, The Hag expressed his desires for a more intimate relationship on several occasions. However, Dolly Parton insisted that the relationship would never work. Although her husband, Carl Dean, never did cheat on her, Merle’s desire was persistent.

Merle Haggard’s love actually got to the point where he can no longer get Dolly out of his mind. He even envisioned her when he walks out of the stage for a show, when he went to sleep at night and when he woke up in the morning. The Hag tried everything in his power to get her out of his mind during those times but everything failed.

The Broken Hearted Love Song

He was that kind of a songwriter wherein he could be inspired by the little things that might trigger an idea for a song. But, it was like the other side of the coin when it talking about his love for Dolly Parton. It was big and it completely overwhelmed him. This was the type of idea that would be a good subject for a song. He proudly wrote “Always Wanting You” to express his desire. In addition, he was also proud of the song’s success. In fact, he even called Dolly at 3 o’clock in the morning just to sing the song to her, with the hope of winning her heart. Once more, she broke Merle Haggard’s heart by explaining that it would never work for them. After singing her the song, he let her go to sleep.

Making his Infatuation Public

The early morning call became a public matter after it was included in Merle Haggard’s Book “Sing Me Back Home: My Own Story.” The Hag wasn’t actually embarrassed about it, not even Dolly Parton was. As she is, Dolly handled the situation with grace. She said that she was more flattered than anything else about him feeling that way.

“Always Wanting You” became a success when it reached the summit of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles Chart on April 12, 1975, marking the sixth consecutive No. 1 song of Merle Haggard. The song was so successful, it stayed at the top for two weeks. Not only that, the song was twentieth No. 1 song of his 38 Chart-toppers.

Want more stories about classic country songs? Visit our website or our Facebook page. God Bless Your Heart!


Always Wanting You, Dolly Parton, merle haggard

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