Merle Haggard: 10 Prime Hits

Favorites Range From “The Bottle Let Me Down” to “That’s the Way Love Goes”

Merle Haggard was born in a Bakersfield boxcar three years after his parents left Checotah, Oklahoma, for work in California during the Great Depression. His daddy died when Merle was only 9 years old, so he found comfort in hopping trains and Lefty Frizzell records. He’s been a juvenile delinquent, a ditch digger, an oil field worker and a hitchhiker. He spent his 21st birthday in solitary confinement at San Quentin State Prison.

Haggard’s history, though downright compelling, is not why he matters. Instead, it’s because he created an epic working man’s oeuvre that no one else has managed to touch.

Whittling down the Hag’s immense catalog to a handful of hits is a tall order, but we like a challenge. So here they are: 10 gems that follow Haggard’s rise from convict No. A-45200 to American icon.

“The Bottle Let Me Down”

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