Merle Haggard is one of music's most prolific songwriters. His ability to connect through his simple yet powerful lyrics earned him the distinction of "the poet of the common man." His contributions to country music have entertained fans and often provided a running social commentary. He has inspired almost every country music artist to have followed him, both as a vocalist and as a writer.
Haggard's list of hits is an impressive collection of hard-core honky tonk anthems and honest reflections of every day life. In the '60s, he released "Swinging Doors," "The Bottle Let Me Down," "The Fugitive" (later retitled "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive"), "I Threw Away the Rose," "Branded Man," "Sing Me Back Home," "The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde," "Mama Tried," "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am," "Hungry Eyes," "Workin' Man Blues," and "Okie from Muskogee."
The 1970s delivered "The Fightin' Side of Me," "Soldier's Last Letter," "Someday We'll Look Back," "Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)," "Carolyn," "Grandma Harp," "It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)," "I Wonder If They Ever Think of Me," "If We Make It Through December," "If We're Not Back in Love by Monday," "Ramblin' Fever," "I'm Always on a Mountain When I Fall," and "It's Been a Great Afternoon."
The following decade continued his success and his legendary stamp on country music with the hits "The Way I Am," "Misery and Gin," "Bar Room Buddies" (a duet with Clint Eastwood), "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink," "Leonard," "My Favorite Memory," "Big City," "Yesterday's Wine," "C.C. Waterback," "Pancho and Lefty," "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star" and "In My Next Life."
His six Country Music Association Awards are 1983's Vocal Duo of the Year (with Willie Nelson); 1972's Album of the Year (Let Me Tell You about a Song); 1970's Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Album and Single of the Year (Okie from Muskogee). He has won 22 Academy of Country Music Awards, including the Pioneer Award in 1995 and 2008's Poet Award. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994.
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