Merle Haggard has been an inspiration to many singers from different genres. Aside from being an inspiration to singers, he also inspired many people and he is loved by many. Moreover, he was a great country singer and songwriter. Among the many artists who look up to Haggard is the country singer Toby Keith.
Before the death of Haggard, Keith and Haggard shared some memories together. On Haggard’s last concert, Keith stepped in to help him. Keith said in an interview with The Boot that,
“Merle’s the kind of guy who would call you up and go, ‘You wanna go fishing?’ I’d go, ‘Yeah. Let me know, and we’ll go fishing.”
Haggard not only became a mentor to Keith but he had also been his friend. Therefore, the passing of Haggard was a painful event for Keith. When Haggard died, Keith tweeted that Haggard is the “Greatest Singer and Songwriter of my lifetime.”
We can all definitely agree with Keith. Haggard is truly a great country artist.
A month after the death of Haggard, Keith was scheduled to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. He put together six of Haggard’s well-known songs. Keith performed a medley of “Mama Tried,” “Today I Started Loving You Again,” “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink,” “Workin’ Man Blues,” “Silver Wings,” and “ Okie From Muskogee.”
Keith said at the beginning of the show,
“We got a little medley worked up for some of the Hags greatest hits, and we liked to do a tribute for our friend.”
Keith performed Haggard’s song well on his touching performance to his friend and mentor.
Merle died on the morning of his birthday April 6, 2016. He was supposed to be celebrating his 79th birthday that day. Merle died from complications of pneumonia which he had been diagnosed since 2015.