Country music has successfully popularized many country singers. These days, many names are listed as the greatest country singers in the United States and Merle Haggerd that is also known as The Hag is among the list. Merle Haggerd whose first single is Sing a Sad Song is a song writer, singer, and instrumentalist. He is now known as one of the most important country singers in 1960s due to the facts that he has a strong influence to the development of country music in 1960s. He is even considered as the leading performer of the Bakersfield Sound. Thirty eight songs become number one hits in the United States and more than ten awards have been received by Merle Haggerd, including Grammy Awards: Best Country Vocal Performance, Male in 1984. Today, people can easily find his name in Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum where he was inducted in 1994.
Born in Oildale, California, in 1937, Merle Haggerd’s early life has big influences to his future career because in his early life, he actually had been exposed to music. His father played fiddle in honky tonk bars in their local area and his brother gave him a guitar. Since the death of his father when he was nine years old, Merle Haggerd became a rebellious teenager. He committed several petty crimes in which this condition forced his mother to send him into detention centers several times. However, even though Merle Haggerd was a rebellious teenager and he had been put into prison several times, he then found his passion in country music. He turned his life around after he had serious conversations with a member of death row.
His musical career started when he took the second place in a local music contest. He received some good opportunities in music including an opportunity to become a bassist in Wynn Stewart’s band. This opportunity then became the key of his future success because while he was playing with Stewart’s band, he had a chance to listen to Wynn’s song entitled Sing a Sad Song. After receiving permission to record Sing a Sad Song, Merle Haggerd soon became popular. This happened because Sing a Sad Song became number 19 in the country chart in early 1964.
Then, after his first single, he recorded many country songs. The Bakersfield Sound that influenced the way he sang made him became a leading singer of the Bakersfield Sound. These days, songs entitled I’m a Lonesome Fugitive, Branded Man, Singing Me Back Home, Mama Tried, Hungry Eyes, Grandma Harp, Big City, and Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star are known as the number one hits in the country chart. Collaboration with many popular singers has made his existence widely known. Even though many new country singers have taken his part, he is still known as The Hag who won Grammy Awards for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1984. When people want to listen to the leading singer of the Bakersfield Sound, they know that The Hag is the right choice.