Merle Haggard was a bad kid. “Incorrigible”, to be precise: that’s how his mother described him, when she turned him over to the cops, beginning his first jail stint at the tender age of 11(!). He’d bounce in and out of jail, (including one escape), but wasn’t fully rehabilitated until, while an inmate at San Quentin, he heard Johnny Cash play his famous concert on January 1, 1958.
Haggard credited Cash’s performance with inspiring his own career, and when he died today, on his 79th birthday, that career had encompassed a half century and produced a staggering 38 #1 hits. Including this one, about a mother who tried to her best to raise her wild child right. RIP Merle Haggard.