Friday, April 8, 2016

Merle Haggard, legendary bad boy of country – The World

Le Monde | • Updated | By

The country singer Merle Haggard in January 2014, in Los Angeles.

Heroes of country music in the US, the singer, guitarist, violinist and songwriter Merle Haggard died , Wednesday, April 6, the anniversary of his 79 years, at his home in Palo Cedro (California) following a double pneumonia. Pulmonary infection was diagnosed in December 2015, forcing Haggard to cancel a tour and to be hospitalized.

He leaves to posterity the interpretation of forty songs that were number 1 in sales, mainly in the country rankings, fifty albums under his name and numerous professional awards, again especially in the middle of the country.

a difficult adolescence

Born April 6, 1937 in Bakersfield (California), where his parents, farmers from Oklahoma, had settled in 1934 Merle Ronald Haggard had a difficult adolescence after the death of his father. Then 9 years old, he commits theft, running away regularly, is sent to reform school.

Between stays longer and longer in institutions increasingly rigorous and odd jobs for maneuver , he taught himself the guitar, an instrument he later completed by practicing the violin. He began singing around the age of 15, directory of country classics in the bar circuit.

  • “Sing Me Back Home” by Merle Haggard and.

in 1956, he married for the first time – the couple divorced in 1964 and remarried Merle Haggard four times. Arrested in 1957 after a robbery at a truck stop, he was sent in February 1958 in San Quentin prison near San Francisco. Paroled in 1960, three years before the end of his sentence, and determined not to fall into delinquency, he returned to his hometown. Thanks to one of his brothers, Merle Haggard finds a regular job of navvy. There are also meeting several musicians attached to present music without effects, close sources.

Among them, Wynn Stewart (1934-1985) and Buck Owens (1929-2006), with whom Haggard debuts professionals. He then records his first records between 1962 and early 1965 the little company Tally Records, the largest of the half dozen installed in Bakersfield and its surroundings.

In this period, we note Skid Row ( “lowlands”), Sing a Sad Song (a cover of Wynn Stewart) Just Between the Two of Us (co-written duet interpreted with Bonnie Owens, his second wife soon) and (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers, Liz Anderson (1927-2011). It is this song that attracted the attention of Capitol Records, which will support the growth and success of Merle Haggard (twenty four studio albums until 1976, several public records and compilations) for ten years to come.

  • “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers,” Liz Anderson, Merle Haggard.

the public appreciates her expressive voice, his lyrics that resonate with the everyday, simple stories about his weaknesses and hopes of ordinary men, some of which may evoke his own experiences (the jail, alcohol, drugs).

Musically, Haggard offers country rather authentic, generally impervious to fashions and arrangements. He recorded several albums in tribute to historical personalities of the country, as the singer Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933) or the violinist Bob Wills (1905-1975). It will also address several times traditional repertoire of gospel.

  • “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” Liz and Casey Anderson, Merle Haggard.

a conservative reputation

It’s late 1966, Haggard will undergo its first major national success, I’m a Lonesome fugitive , Liz Anderson and husband Casey. It precedes the release of the album of the same name, in March 1967, involving in particular guitarists James Burton and Glen Campbell (who will, him, one of the most famous smugglers reconciliation of the country with the pop variety) and pianist Glen D. Hardin.

in the space of a year, Merle Haggard up four head compositions of country rankings, Branded Man, Sing me Back Home, the Legend of Bonnie & amp; Clyde (written with Bonnie Owens) and Mama Tried – it will become a classic of Grateful group’s concert repertoire Dead – all giving their title to blockbuster albums

  • “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard and

the year 1969 was one of its most active with four albums, other successes, such Hungry Eyes and Workin ‘Man Blues , both from the album A Portrait of Merle Haggard, often considered as one of its peaks, and above Okie from Muskogee, fancy published in September, which mocks the hippies, their clothes and pacifist slogans.

This involved, especially given Europe, a musician conservative reputation, amplified by the Fightin ‘Side of me (number 1 in 1970), clearly directed against demonstrators opposed to US involvement in Vietnam.

Haggard explains himself by his patriotism and commitment to the founding values ​​of the US Constitution. He saves his most disk marked by social themes, Hag (April 1971) and the song Irma Jackson , about the difficulty of living a history of love between a white man and a black woman.

  • “the Fightin’Side of me,” Merle Haggard, performed with Toby Keith.

After Capitol Records is among MCA and Epic Merle Haggard will pursue a successful career until the mid-1980s (the duo Bar Room Buddies Clint Eastwood I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink, Big City , the album Pancho and Lefty with Willie Nelson, That’s the Way Love Goes, Natural High …). In 1994, he entered the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the pantheon of the genre, had devoted his status institution.


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