Country Legend Merle Haggard Dead On His Birthday

MerleHaggardx3Merle Haggard Dead On His 79th Birthday

Country music legend Merle Haggard, who was known for hits like “Okie From Muskogee” and “Mama Tried,” died on his 79th birthday. Haggard had battled several bouts of pneumonia in recent months, which forced him to cancel concerts.

merle_haggard_-_down_every_road_vol.01_-_insideBorn outside of Bakersfield, California, in 1937, Haggard, the son of Oklahoma migrants, was raised in a converted railway boxcar, the only home his family could afford. Famous for his prison stint in San Quentin, Haggard said music was his only opportunity out of poverty.

merlehaggard01“My decisions have been easy,” he said. “It was either back in the cotton patch or go to work in the oil fields. … They didn’t compare with music. I was able to make more money in a beer joint when I first started than I was digging ditches.”

The gruff, baritone-voiced singer became known for his classic tunes about drifters, convicts and blue collar workers, including “Workin’ Man Blues.” But he said back in 2014 that after writing some 700 songs, it’s hard to find a subject he hasn’t written about yet.Haggard had lung surgery after a cancer diagnosis in 2008, and he said an early, but incorrect, diagnosis had him thinking he had only a short time to live.

The star told the Associated Press in 2014 of the earlier misdiagnosis, “It was sort of a disappointment. I was ready to go.”

– Fox News



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  1. I almost had breakfast with Merle Haggard in the early 80’s when he & his band was playing at 6 Flags in Eureka, MO. I was the booking agent for bands who played at the Hol. Inn in Eureka, MO and was there one morning to meet with the gen. mgr. concerning upcoming bookings. I waited in the restaurant for him to arrive. As I was waiting Merle and his band (who were staying there) came in for breakfast. Merle noticed me right away and started giving me the eye, winking & motioning for me to come over to their table. I didn’t dare do that as I knew the mgr. might arrive any moment for our meeting. Merle wanted his way though… and continued to motion to me. When he could see he wasn’t getting through to me, he sent one of his band members over to invite me to have pancakes with them. I decided to walk over to his table to explain why I couldn’t do that.. He seemed to understand; however he did try to get me to take one of his own pancakes on his coffee saucer! He’d noticed I didn’t have a breakfast of my own… just a cup of coffee, so he really tried to get me to take it. I noticed the mgr. was heading to my table, so I hurried back there. Merle winked at me again… I guess he knew then that I was telling him the truth… and didn’t need to feel let down! He and I both have April birthdays… mine is April Fools Day! ; )

  2. GREAT STORY Judy. glad you shared it here. You have so many talents, and over the years you have used them all. Keep up your music, you are 1 talented lady. in friendship Rhon

    GR