Merle Haggard: A Man of Many Hits

Even With 38 No. 1 Singles, Some of His Most Famous Songs Didn't Top the Chart

Besides his stellar vocal stylings and emotionally perceptive songwriting, Merle Haggard was one of country music’s most durable hitmakers. In a chart life that stretched from 1963, when his “Sing a Sad Song” debut peaked at No. 19, to 2015, when his duet with Willie Nelson, “It’s All Going to Pot” snuffed out at No. 48, the California native scored 38 No. 1 singles.

Several of his songs that reached a lower altitude nonetheless became staples in the Haggard canon, among them “Swinging Doors,” “The Bottle Let Me Down,” “Today I Started Loving You Again,” “I Take a Lot of Pride In What I Am,” “If We’re Not Back in Love by Monday,” “Ramblin’ Fever” and “Are the Good Times Really Over.”

Here are his chart-toppers:

The ’60s
“The Fugitive” (1966)
“Branded Man” (1967)

“Sing Me Back Home” (1967)
“The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde” (1968)
“Mama Tried” (1968)

“Hungry Eyes” (1969)
“Workin’ Man Blues” (1969)
“Okie From Muskogee” (1969)

The ’70s
“The Fightin’ Side of Me” (1970)

“Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)” (1971)
“Carolyn” (1971)
“Grandma Harp” (1972)
“It’s Not Love (But It’s Not Bad)” (1972)
“I Wonder if They Ever Think of Me” (1972)
“Everybody’s Had the Blues” (1973)
“If We Make It Through December” (1973)
“Things Aren’t Funny Anymore” (1974)
“Old Man From the Mountain” (1974)
“Kentucky Gambler” (1974)
“Always Wanting You” (1975)
“Movin’ On” (1975)
“It’s All in the Movies” (1975)
“The Roots of My Raising” (1976)
“Cherokee Maiden” (1976)

The ’80s
“Bar Room Buddies” with Clint Eastwood (1980)
“I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” (1980)
“My Favorite Memory” (1981)
“Big City” (1982)
“Yesterday’s Wine” with George Jones (1982)
“Going Where the Lonely Go” (1982)
“You Take Me for Granted” (1983)
“Pancho and Lefty” with Willie Nelson (1983)
“That’s the Way Love Goes” (1983)

“Someday When Things Are Good” (1984)
“Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room” (1984)
“A Place to Fall Apart” with Janie Fricke (1984)
“Natural High” (1985)
“Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star” (1987)

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to