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Willie Nelson And Merle Haggard And Their Decades-Long Friendship In “Unfair Weather Friend”

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard + Unfair Weather Friend

Country legends Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard collaborated for the sixth and final time (as Haggard would pass away ten months after the album’s release) with Django and Jimmie under Legacy Recordings. It was 14 tracks long with two features: Jamey Johnson for the first single, “It’s All Going to Pot,” and Bobby Bare for “Missing ‘ol Johnny Cash.” But one track stood out among the rest, and it’s “Unfair Weather Friend.”

Meaning Behind the Song 

“Unfair Weather Friend” is a play on “Fair Weather Friend.” It’s a salute to all those friends who you can count on for everything, especially when life gets too hard, and you’re pressed down on your luck. The song was written by Marla Cannon-Goodman, the daughter of Nelson’s longtime producer (and also the producer of this song and album), Buddy Cannon, and Ward Davis.

In an Instagram post in 2021, Cannon-Goodman shared a version of her song and the inspiration behind it. She wrote in the caption, “I wrote this song with Ward Davis. I was telling him about my friendship with Amy. I’m very fortunate to have the best friends anyone could ever ask for.” 

And Nelson and Haggard were also that to each other. According to Nelson, they first met at a poker game at his house in Nashville in the early ‘60s, and they always had a lot in common. They connected, and in the ‘80s, Haggard came to stay with him in Texas. They spent a lot of time together, enjoying each other’s company and making music. 

Their friendship was “a bond that went a long way” – forged through poker games, jamming sessions, shared experiences, and a lot of jokes. And it was a friendship that endured a lifetime. 

RELATED: 18 Heartwarming Country Songs Celebrating Best Friends for Your Playlist

Nelson opened the song, singing of a soaking wet, beat-down day and how he knew his friend would let him in if he showed up at his door. Haggard took on the next verse, matching Nelson’s, describing a lonely Friday night, and on the other end of the phone was his come whatever unfair weather friend. 

As the song progressed, they traded vocal lines, singing that no matter what happens, they knew they’d have each other. 

We hope that, like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, you have your own “Unfair Weather Friend.” Listen to the tune below.  

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