Over a distinguished 50-plus-year career that’s taken him from a misspent criminal youth to solitary confinement in San Quentin to the Country Music Hall of Fame, MERLE HAGGARD has memorably portrayed, in song, myriad archetypal characters. Whether fugitive, troubadour, misfit or crusade, he’s explored each perspective with a critical acuity, a hard-won skill that’s allowed him to score no less than 40 number one country hits, including “THE FUGITIVE,” “OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE” and “MAMA TRIED.”
Immediately embraced by country fans, MERLE HAGGARD also earned the respect of his peers. In addition to his 40 #1 hits, Haggard charted scores of Top Ten songs. Haggard has won just about every music award imaginable, both as a performer and as a songwriter. In 1994 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of fame and is one of the most influential artists in country music. Most recently Haggard was named a Kennedy Center Honoree.
Throughout his career, MERLE HAGGARD blended up a broad range of jazz, blues, and folk music into his arrangements, while staying true to the traditions of country. No matter what the current fashion of the moment was in music, Haggard always went his own way. His vivid, emotionally nuanced lyrics poignantly chronicled the dreams and heartbreaks of common people, as well as his own harsh life experiences.