In 1978, Austin City Limits featuring Merle Haggard & The Strangers for an awesome night of music with The Hag….as he and The Strangers played many great songs…..like the Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys famous swing song Got That Old Fashion Love In My Heart….as seen in this video herewith.
Merle Ronald Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016) was an American country singer, songwriter, guitarist and fiddler…..who was born in Oildale, California during the Great Depression. His childhood was troubled after the death of his father….and was incarcerated several times in his youth. After being released from San Quentin State Prison in 1960….he managed to turn his life around and launch a successful country music career….while gaining popularity with his songs about the working class that occasionally contained themes contrary to the prevailing anti-Vietnam War sentiment of much popular music of the time. Between the 1960’s and the 1980’s, he had 38 # 1 hits on the US country charts….of which several also made the Billboard all-genre singles chart…..and he continued to release successful albums into the 2000s.
Merle Haggard received many honors and awards for his music….including a Kennedy Center Honor in 2010….a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006…..a BMI Icon Award in 2006…..and induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1977…..Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994….and Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 1997. He died on April 6, 2016….which was his 79th birthday at his ranch in Shasta County, California after having from double pneumonia.
Haggard’s last recording, a song called “Kern River Blues” described his departure from Bakersfield in the late 1970’s and his displeasure with politicians…..as the song was recorded February 9, 2016….and features his son Ben on guitar. This record was released on May 12, 2016.