Country icon Merle Haggardwould’ve been 85 years old today (he also passed away six years ago today as well)..
Of course, he was a pioneer in the country outlaw movement, and is one of the most recognizable and legendary voices the genre has ever, and will ever, see.
From the first time he saw Johnny Cash in the San Quentin prison, to becoming a cornerstone of that iconic Bakersfield sound, he lived a life full of incredible accomplishments, after coming from nothing, that you typically only read about in books.
And in honor of the day, I wanted to look back at some of the best covers of his signature song, “Mama Tried”.
Written and recorded by Merle and his band, The Strangers, the song became his fifth #1 single in 1968, when it peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
His friend, Johnny Cash, covered it before:
Reba crushed it, too:
How about Grateful Dead’s kickass version?
David Allan Coe killin’ it:
The King stealin’ hearts live at a Merle Haggard tribute show: