- Category : Entertain-Music-Instrumentalist
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (20,39,49)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 1
- Birth Year: 1937
- Birthday: 06. April
- Birthplace: Sacramento, USA - California
- Category: Entertain-Music-Instrumentalist
- Profile: 2-4
- Type: Emotional Manifesting Generator
- Inc.Cross: Penetration 1
- Definition: Double Split - Small (20,39,49)
- Variables: BLL-MRL
- 4764 Abstraction
- 0360 Mutation
- 2750 Preservation
- 3457 Power
- 1156 Curiosity
- 1222 Openness
American musician, country-western singer and songwriter. Haggard's rough-hewn down-home style reached its peak on the country music charts in the 1960s and 1970s. Once a regular on the local country stations, today it is difficult to find his songs on mainstream country radio stations. Haggard's baritone world-weary voice conveyed songs of heartache, depression, and hardships. His famous song "Okie From Muskogee" in 1969 was an anti-hippie, anti-counterculture song. "Hungry Eyes" in 1969 expressed the social realism of being poor in America. He was second to Conway Twitty in garnering 38 No. 1 country hits.
Haggard was the son of Dust Bowl migrants living in Bakersfield, CA. His father died when Haggard was a nine-year-old boy. While his father had always been proud to be an "Okie" (a poor farmer from Oklahoma), his mother wanted to play down the family's poor roots. At eleven, he owned his first guitar. Where his mother and sister listened to the popular tunes of Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters, young Merle preferred to listen to the instrumental guitar style of Lefty Frizzell. He did not do well in school and spent much of his time in and out of reform schools. Aware of his family's financial hardships, Haggard left home in his teens to do migrant farm labor and work in the oil fields. He hitchhiked and rode on freight trains around the country. In 1957, he ended up in the San Quentin prison for attempted burglary. Paroled in February 1960, Haggard turned his life around by pursuing his love of music and playing for country music clubs in Bakersfield, CA. In 1963, he broke into the country music charts, starting his slow rise to the top of the field.
By 1985, Haggard ran into career difficulties with tax troubles, missed concert dates, and lawsuits. He discovered that he was in debt of $3 million from bad investments and overspending. In the 1990s, Haggard continued to tour the country delivering performances on stage, known to be long on expert musicianship and intense singing but nearly silent on crowd pleasing conversation and banter. He refuses to court the Nashville scene or embrace the Country Music Association but played personal songs about dead-end jobs and going through his male menopause.
Haggard was married to his first wife, Leona Hobbs, who was mother of his four children, while he was doing his time in San Quentin prison. His son Marty was born in 1958 and would later become a country singer and musician with his father. Haggard was involved in domestic fights where his first wife would whip his butt in front of the frightened children. He married his third wife, Leona Williams, a singer and songwriter in 1977 and divorced in 1984. At the age of 48, he married his fourth wife, Debbie, 15 years his junior. Haggard married his fifth wife, Theresa Ann Lane, 33, his companion of the past seven years on 9/11/1993 at his 500-acre ranch in Redding, CA. They produced a daughter, Janessa and a son, Ben.
Haggard maintains his spindly frame by eating a mostly vegetarian diet, keeping his weight the same as it was when he was 21 years old. He smokes infrequently and drinks rarely. In 1975, Haggard developed a serious addiction to gambling. By 1984, he was able to get the gambling demon under control and stop. Haggard's introspective personality has helped him create what critics call "the thinking man's blues." Quiet and thoughtful, he shies away from press interviews and prefers to spend time in isolation with the reputation of being a loner.
Of marriage Haggard remarked, "Easy for people to get bored with each other. Things change and probably will. I don't understand how people stay together for 50 years. I get on my wife's nerves pretty well after four to five years."
Haggard has been an early organizer and supporter of FarmAid, a program to help the American family farmer out of debt program since the 1980s.
In 1969, he broke his back when he was thrown by a horse.
He underwent heart surgery 7/04/1997 and recuperated completely. On November 3, 2008 a malignant tumor on his lung was removed in Bakersfield, CA.