“MERLE HAGGARD” – By Des Kelly

“MERLE HAGGARD” – By Des Kelly


  In addition to the great “post” of my good friend Joe Van Langenberg, who certainly knows his business as both a writer and reviewer of our Show Business personalities World-wide, I do feel that many thousands of eLanka members and readers (World-wide, as well), absolutely love this Country Icon, who died suddenly and sadly  on his 79th birthday.

          As far as I am concerned, everyone knows that while I am a Fanatic for good Music of all kinds, my forte’ however, was, and always will be, Country Music, and again, Music of certain eras only. Country Music or Hill-Billy Music, as it was first known, was passable, I suppose, but only because it produced some superb, special instrumentalists who could make their favourite instruments “talk”. The only Vocalist/Songwriter of the 30’s & 40’s who was outstanding in my opinion, was Hank Williams Senior. I preferred him, not only for the songs he wrote, but when he sang them, it was as if he was telling you the story of his life, which also sadly ended just before he reached 30 years of age. Hank Williams started my love affair with Country Music, which I call (truly), the Music of life. 

          There were many great Country Stars, far too many to list, in this introduction, but only to name half a dozen I personally prefer, both for their undoubted talent and charisma, would be Hank Williams Snr., Ray Price, Gene Watson, George Jones, Jim Reeves, & Merle Haggard. Because this story is about “The Hag”, I am sticking to the “boys” involved. There were also some lovely “girls” in Country, but they are another story, yet to come, for eLanka.

Please stay tuned.

Desmond Kelly


         Desmond Kelly.
(Editor-in-Chief)  eLanka.    

SAD DAY FOR COUNTRY MUSIC: The music industry has lost yet another one of its most enduring & successful performers ever. – by Joe Van Langenberg

Artiste Merle Haggard’s unexpected passing at the age of 79, has saddened millions of die-hard fans, in addition to casting a pall of gloom over the Mecca of country music, Nashville. Initially developing a passion for country music, after listening to Johnny Cash warbling his vocals at the San Quentin Prison, which Haggard had been an inmate of, he was subsequently pardoned by then Governor of California Ronald Reagan, who himself had been a country music tragic.Born on April 06th 1937 as Merle Ronald Haggard, in Bakersfield California USA, he coincidentally died on April 06th 2016, in Redding California.

His songs included ”Okie from Muskogee”, ”Today I started loving you”, ”Mama tried”, ”Swinging doors”, ”If we make it through”, ”I’m a lonesome fugitive”, ”The legend of Bonnie & Clyde”, ”Hungry eyes” & ”Twinkle twinkle lucky star”, among many others.

Merle Haggard cliched 38 Number One hits on Billboard magazines county singles charts from 1967-1988. The performer who thrilled a plethora of dyed-in-the-wool music enthusiasts the world over, with his deep, raspy, yet soothing & rich voice, was plagued with his fair share of physical & emotional setbacks. Despite battling personal demons, Haggard extricated himself from the virtual point of no return, regaining control of his life, which at one stage threatened to spiral out of control.

Besides being married to Theresa Ann Lane, whom he lived with till the end, Haggard also wed Debbie Parret, Leona Williams, Bonnie Owens & Leona Hobbs, all of whom he eventually divorced. He is survived by his current wife Theresa, two sons Marty& Noel & three daughters Jenessa, Dana & Kelli.

His awards included ”Kennedy Center Honors” (2010) & ”Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance” (1985), to name just two. Merle Haggard was an exceptional singer who mentored many wannabes. Performers of his calibre, aren’t born very often. May he rest in peace!!

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