One of music’s most influential songwriters is unarguably Merle Haggard. Haggard, born in April of 1937 in Oildale, California, has been able to connect with fans through his simple and powerful lyrics. He has been named, because of this style of work, “the poet of the common man,” and has also been known to influence almost every country music artist after him. After a stint in jail, Haggard began performing under the inspiration of Johnny Cash. At that time the Bakersfield Sound was developing and Haggard came out with the song “Skid Row.” From there, he was led into a string of successes in country music.
His honky tonk anthems have included songs like “Swinging Doors,” “The Bottle Let Me Down,” “I Threw Away the Rose,” “Branded Man,” “Workin’ Man Blues,” “Sing Me Back Home” and “Mama Tried,” among many others. He has had nearly forty Number One hits throughout the decades, including many of those listed, “It’s Not Love (But It’s Not Bad),” “Everybody’s Had the Blues,” “Movin’ On,” “Cherokee Maiden,” “Big City,” “That’s the Way Love Goes,” “Natural High” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star.”
Over the years, he has also acquired numerous awards, including twenty-two Academy of Country Music Awards, five Country Music Association awards and three Grammy Awards. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 1994 and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1977. His list of awards includes Top New Male Vocalist, Entertainer of the Year and Top Male Vocalist.
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