From the Vault...


Merle Haggard
"40 #1 Hits"

© Capitol Nashville Records

Year of Release: 2004

track listing
Disc One:
  • Branded Man
  • The Fugitive
  • Mama Tried
  • Sing Me Back Home
  • The Legend Of
    Bonnie And Clyde
  • Hungry Eyes
  • Okie From Muskogee
  • Workin' Man Blues
  • The Fightin' Side Of Me
  • Daddy Frank
    (The Guitar Man)
  • Carolyn
  • Grandma Harp
  • It's Not Love
    (But It's Not Bad)
  • Everybody's Had
    The Blues
  • I Wonder If They
    Think Of Me
  • If We Make It
    Through December
  • Old Man From
    The Mountain
  • Things Aren't
    Funny Anymore
  • Always Wanting You
  • It's All In The Movies
    Disc Two:
  • Kentucky Gambler
  • Movin' On
  • Cherokee Maiden
  • The Roots Of My Raising
  • I Think I'll
    Just Stay Here
    And Drink
  • I'm Always On
    A Mountain
    When I Fall
  • If We're Not Back
    In Love By Monday
  • Bar Room Buddies
  • My Favorite Memory
  • Big City
  • Yesterday's Wine
  • Going Where The
    Lonely Go
  • Pancho And Lefty
  • You Take Me For Granted
  • Let's Chase Each Other
    Around The Room
  • Someday When
    Things Are Good
  • That's The Way
    Love Goes
  • A Place To Fall Apart
  • Natural High
  • Twinkle Twinkle
    Lucky Star

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    Merle Haggard related sites:
    Merle Haggard Website
    Previous Review: #1406
    The Searchers--Sweets For My Sweet
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    Merle Haggard
    "40 #1 Hits"

    Country Legend Merle Haggard marks his debut as our Album Pick of the Week, as his 40 #1 Hits is a great introduction to his music. Other best of/greatest hits of his are worth having (especially having songs that were not #1 hits). [Wow, I can't believe I actually said that!] But after researching his history, and finding out he had penned songs for other artists (like "Today I Started Loving You Again," which has been recorded by many artists). I can easily say that "Merle Haggard is not only a Country Legend, he is a Country Genius." His great storytelling of songs, and you have to admit, his voice is definitely worth listening to.

    His childhood was something commonly heard in early Country music lyrics - A "hell raising life," numerous arrests, including being jailed at San Quentin. One of his inspirations in Country music was seeing Johnny Cash in concert at San Quentin. Another Country legend, Lefty Frizzell, gave him the break to sing during his shows. After decades living in his life, Haggard admitted that his early life was "hell, and the scariest experience of his life."

    By the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s decades, Merle Haggard had made his claim to fame in Country, accomplishing a total of 38 #1 Country songs, according to Billboard Magazine.

    CountSong TitleDateWeeks @ #1
    1"I'm A Lonesome Fugitive"March 4, 19671
    2"Branded Man"September 2, 19671
    3"Sing Me Back Home"January 20, 19682
    4"The Legend Of Bonnie And Clyde"April 27, 19682
    5"Mama Tried"August 31, 19684
    6"Hungry Eyes"May 10, 19691
    7"Workin' Man Blues"August 16, 19691
    8"Okie From Muskogee"November 15, 19694
    9"The Fightin' Side Of Me"March 14, 19703
    10"Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)"November 20, 19712
    11"Carolyn"January 15, 19723
    12"Grandma Harp"May 17, 19722
    13"It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)"November 4, 19721
    14"I Wonder If They Ever Think Of Me"February 17, 19731
    15"Everybody's Had The Blues"August 25, 19732
    16"If We Make It Through December"December 22, 19734
    17"Things Aren't Funny Anymore"May 4, 19741
    18"Old Man From The Mountain"August 24, 19741
    19"Kentucky Gambler"January 18, 19751
    20"Always Wanting You"April 12, 19752
    21"Movin' On"July 12, 19751
    22"It's All In The Movies"November 29, 19751
    23"The Roots Of My Raising"March 13, 19761
    24"Cherokee Maiden"November 6, 19761
    25"Bar Room Buddies"
    (with Clint Eastwood)
    July 26, 19801
    26"I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink"January 10, 19811
    27"My Favorite Memory"November 28, 19811
    28"Big City"April 10, 19821
    29"Yesterday's Wine"
    (with George Jones)
    October 9, 19821
    30"Going Where The Lonely Go"January 15, 19831
    31"You Take Me For Granted"May 28, 19831
    32"Pancho And Lefty"
    (with Willie Nelson)
    July 23, 19831
    33"That's The Way Love Goes"February 11, 19841
    34"Someday When Things Are Good"June 9, 19841
    35"Let's Chase Each Other Around The Room"September 22, 19841
    36"A Place To Fall Apart"
    (with Janie Fricke)
    February 2, 19851
    37"Natural High"June 8, 19851
    38"Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Star"February 20, 19881

    Again, that's a total of 38 #1 songs in his historic Country music career. The other two songs, "I'm Always On A Mountain When I Fall" and "If We're Not Back In Love By Monday" were not #1 in the U.S., my guess they were #1 elsewhere. Of course, there are many other songs of his that could have easily reached #1, this is best to collect on various Best Of/Greatest Hits compilations.

    But... read on...

    Not only did Merle Haggard achieve greatness on the #1 Country singles chart, he also accomplished reaching the summit with his albums. 15 of his albums reached #1 on the Billboard Country albums chart: Swinging Doors (1966; 2 weeks), Branded Man (1967; 1 week), Sing Me Back Home (1968; 1 week), Same Train Different Time (1969; 2 weeks), Okie From Muskogee (1970; 5 weeks), The Fightin' Side Of Me (1970; 7 weeks), Hag (1971; 4 weeks), The Best Of The Best Of Merle Haggard (1972; 7 weeks), It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad), (1973; 3 weeks), I Love Dixie Blues (1973; 2 weeks), Presents His 30th Album (1974; 2 weeks), Keep Movin' On (1975; 4 weeks), It's All In The Movies (1976; 1 week), Pancho And Lefty (with Willie Nelson) (1983; 8 weeks), and It's All In The Game (1984; 1 week).

    40 #1 Hits is only a collection of his #1 songs in his career. Yes, it is a Best Of/Greatest Hits compilation. Every track is superb. There are some songs better than others, but all in all, it's a great collection (in this case, #1 Hits) of a Country Legend's music. Merle Haggard has continued recording and making music. His music has influenced many, his songs covered by other well-known artists. He has made comebacks, in the 2000 decade. The latest news, is he maybe a replacement for either Waylon Jennings or Johnny Cash in the Country supergroup, The Highwaymen, with Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. (Both Jennings and Cash passed away.) This rumour developed when he performed at the 2014 56th Annual Grammy Awards show, singing "OKie From Muskogee," with Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Blake Shelton. (That superstar lineup would be a great future Highwaymen lineup.)

    Like many artists, a Best Of/Greatest Hits collection is just not enough. In Merle Haggard's case, these collections are worth having. But even better, with his songwriting skills, and great stories to tell and sing, his original albums would also be an asset in anyone's musical collection. Yes, there will be more Merle Haggard albums to review: Best Of/Greatest Hits and original albums. Merle Haggard is a Country music Legend; any of his albums are worth the price. After researching his music and his life, it's a must to collect as much Merle as you can find. He even recorded a tribute album to Elvis Presley - My Farewell To Elvis, released in 1977, after Elvis' death. He also recorded a Bluegrass album, in 2007.

    Merle Haggard is a Country Legend. These are his stories...

    UPDATE: On his birthday, April 6, 2016, Country legend Merle Haggard passed away of pneumonia. He was 79. His last album was a collaboration with Willie Nelson (their second), entitled Django & Jimmie. It would be be their second #1 album together, just as their first did in 1983, Pancho & Lefty.

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    Previous Review: #1406
    The Searchers--Sweets For My Sweet
    Next Review: #1408
    Harry Connick Jr.--We Are In Love