March 9

The Everly Brothers Showcased An Exceptional Twist to Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried”


Back in 1969, The Everly Brothers performed live on television putting an extraordinary twist to a Merle Haggard classic “Mama Tried.”

Haggard’s songs fascinated people from outside the country field. Many artists have covered a variety of his songs, mostly “Sing Me Back Home” and “Mama Tried.” He released “Mama Tried” as a single in 1968. Later that same year, The Everly Brothers comprised it on their album, Roots. The album was The Everly Brothers’ first stride into the country rock world. The album featured many country covers including Jimmie Rogers’ and Glen Campbell’s songs.

The Everly Brothers Showcased An Exceptional Twist to Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” 1

In an original review for Haggard’s 1968 album Mama Tried, Andy Wickham wrote,

“His songs romanticize the hardships and tragedies of America’s transient proletarian and his success is resultant of his inherent ability to relate to his audience a commonplace experience with precisely the right emotional pitch…. Merle Haggard looks the part and sounds the part because he is the part. He’s great.”

Inspiration behind “Mama Tried”

Merle Haggard has gained popularity with his songs about the working class that sometimes contained themes contrary to the prevalent anti-Vietnam War sentiment of the much popular music of the time. Between the 1960s and the 1980s, he had 38 number-one hits on the US country charts. Several of which have made the Billboard all-genre single charts.

But did you know that Haggard’s childhood was a struggle after the death of his father? He was imprisoned several times in his youth. That’s why he wrote the song “Mama Tried.” It described the agony and distress he caused his mom by being imprisoned at age 20. The song wasn’t totally factual though since Haggard didn’t get a “life without parole” verdict. However, it was still deeply influenced by his life. He was still able to fix his life and take-off to a successful country music career. Haggard continued to release successful albums years after that.

The Everly Brothers’ version of “Mama Tried” highlighted their silky smooth close harmonies. These traits drove the audience to give their instant applause after they sang the final note.

Watch their stunning performance below and let us know what you think in the comments.


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