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

    Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

    “The Fugitive” (1966)

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  • The ’70s

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    “The Fightin’ Side of Me” (1970)

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  • The ’80s

    Beth Gwinn/Getty Images

    “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” (1980)

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