The 15 Best Merle Haggard Quotes

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Merle Haggard. What a freaking name!

Is there any more country-sounding name on earth? If the artist didn’t become a country musician, what else could he have become? It was fated from the very beginning.

Well, thank goodness for us, Haggard did become the Country Outlaw we know and love today through songs like “Mama Tried,” “Okie from Muskogee” and “Pancho and Lefty.”

But what did the prolific player have to say about life and the world outside of his songs and expert lyrics? What did he think about love, the craft of music, and his sense of happiness? That’s exactly what we’ll dive into here through this inquiry.

So, let’s do just that, shall we? Here are the best 15 Merle Haggard Quotes.

1. “It sounds like something from a Woody Guthrie song, but it’s true; I was raised in a freight car.”

2. “In 1960, when I came out of prison as an ex-convict, I had more freedom under parolee supervision than there’s available… in America right now.”

3. “The only thing that I miss lately in all music is somebody that will put out a melody that you can whistle. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything happening like that.”

4. “There’s been periods of broadcasts in the past where you could see all ages of entertainers, ranging from George Burns to Shirley Temple. That’s not the condition now.”

5. “There’s a rumor that there may be an attempt at organizing a possible script for a series on my life, which, when you look at my police record, you’d have to have more than one hour to tell the story.”

6. “It makes my wife mad, you know, she wants me to stay home all the time. But its what I’ve done all my life and I think when I quit doing it I’ll probably go away pretty quick.”

7. “At my age, I don’t buy but half a loaf of bread, you know?”

8. “I’m just writin’ about my little ol’ love affair.”

9. “My second wife Bonnie Owens and I worked together after we divorced for a period of maybe 20 years. And I managed to stay friends with another wife. And then there’s one that I don’t mess with. Everybody’s got one of those.”

10. “They shaved a little piece of bone off my small toe. You see, you balance yourself a certain way and this toe had grown under the other ones. So he cut it loose, where I could balance myself and it makes me walk straight.”

11. “Sometimes if you get ’em too drunk they don’t pay no attention to what you’re doin’ anyways, so you might as well just do old songs. But if you get one that’s paying attention, sometimes we’ll do some new material.”

12. “It’s easier to force-feed people than it is to give ’em what they want. It makes more money.”

13. “When I grew up there wasn’t air-conditioning or anything of that nature, and this old car had a wall thickness of about ten inches. So we had a little warmer house in the winter and a little cooler in the summer.”

14. “When you get to readin’ about where the music and John Steinbeck and all those people like that come from, the further you go the more interesting it becomes.”

15. “Well, I’m kinda like George Carlin. I think that there ought to be a time where everybody should have all the drugs they want and there’d be nobody in charge, sort of like… now!”

Photo by Beth Gwinn/Getty Images

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