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Merle Haggard

Born Apr 6, 1937

Merle Ronald Haggard is an American country musicsongwriter, singer, guitarist, fiddler,and instrumentalist,. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster guitars, vocal harmonies, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville Sound recordings of the same era.… Read More

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Browse recent news and stories about Merle Haggard.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Merle Haggard.


1937 Birth He remodeled the boxcar, and soon after moved in, also purchasing the lot, where Merle Ronald Haggard was born on April 6, 1937. … Read More
1945 8 Years Old His father died of a brain hemorrhage in 1945, an event that deeply affected Haggard during his childhood, and the rest of his life. … Read More


1950 13 Years Old Haggard committed a number of minor offences, such as thefts and writing bad checks. He was sent to a juvenile detention center for shoplifting in 1950. … Read More
1951 14 Years Old He returned to Bakersfield in 1951, and was again arrested for truancy and petty larceny and sent to a juvenile detention center. … Read More
1956 19 Years Old 1 More Event
He eventually landed a spot on the local television show Chuck Wagon, in 1956.


1957 20 Years Old Married and plagued by financial issues, he was arrested in 1957 shortly after he tried to rob a Bakersfield roadhouse.
1958 21 Years Old 1 More Event
He was sent to Bakersfield Jail, and was later transferred after an escape attempt to San Quentin Prison, on February 21, 1958. … Read More
1960 - 1964 3 More Events
1965 28 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Bonnie, who had been married to Buck Owens, won the new Academy of Country Music's first ever award for Female Vocalist after her 1965 debut album, Don't Take Advantage of Me, hit the top five on the country albums chart. … Read More
1966 29 Years Old 1 More Event
There must have been four or five number one songs there " In 1966, Haggard recorded his first number-one song "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive", also written by Liz Anderson, which Haggard acknowledges in his autobiography remains his most popular number with audiences." … Read More


1972 35 Years Old 1 More Event
…  On Tuesday, March 14, 1972, shortly after "Carolyn" became another number one country hit, then-California governor Ronald Reagan granted Haggard a full pardon for his past crimes.
1973 36 Years Old The 1973 recession anthem "If We Make It Through December" furthered Haggard's status as a champion of the working class. "If We Make It Through December" turned out to be Haggard's last pop hit.
1974 37 Years Old Haggard appeared on the cover of TIME on May 6, 1974.
1975 38 Years Old He also wrote and performed the theme song to the television series Movin' On, which in 1975 gave him another number one country hit. … Read More


1977 40 Years Old In 1977, he switched to MCA Records and began exploring the themes of depression, alcoholism, and middle age on albums like Serving 190 Proof and The Way I Am.
1978 41 Years Old 1 More Event
Haggard and Owens divorced in 1978.
1980 43 Years Old 1 More Event
Haggard sang a duet cover of Billy Burnette's What's A Little Love Between Friends with Lynda Carter in her 1980 television music special Lynda Carter: Encore!
In 1981, Haggard published an autobiography, Sing Me Back Home. … Read More


1988 51 Years Old Haggard's last number one hit was "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star" from his smash album Chill Factor in 1988.
1989 52 Years Old In 1989, Haggard recorded a song, "Me and Crippled Soldiers Give a Damn", in response to the Supreme Court's decision to allow flag burning under the First Amendment. … Read More
1993 56 Years Old He married his current wife, Theresa Ann Lane, on September 11, 1993. … Read More


2000 - 2007 6 More Events
2008 71 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2008, Haggard was going to perform at Riverfest in Little Rock, Arkansas, but the concert was canceled because he was ailing, and three other concerts were canceled as well; however, he was back on the road in June and successfully completed a tour that ended on October 19. … Read More
2009 72 Years Old Less than two months after his cancer surgery, Haggard played two shows on January 2 and 3, 2009, in Bakersfield at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, and continues to tour and record. … Read More
2010 73 Years Old 1 More Event
Merle Haggard accepted the prestigious award for lifetime achievement and "outstanding contribution to American culture" from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on December 4, 2010.
2013 76 Years Old 1 More Event
On June 14, 2013, the California State University, Bakersfield, honored Merle Haggard for his contributions to the arts with the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts. … Read More
2014 77 Years Old 1 More Event
His 2014 and 2015 tour schedule has been aggressive, including over 30 cities in 2015 alone, suggesting the kind of performing stamina usually characterized by artists half Haggard's age. … Read More
2015 78 Years Old …  In 2015 Haggard and Willie Nelson recorded a video, "It's All Going to Pot," where both are seen singing in a recording studio while smoking joints. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merle_Haggard.
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