Merle Haggard is one of country music's most gifted and prolific songwriters. During the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, Haggard had an amazing streak of 26 Number One country singles. Haggard's early hits – including "The Fugitive," "Mama Tried," and "Okie From Muskogee" – comprise what Rolling Stone executive editor Jason Fine, in a 2009 profile of Haggard, called "the backbone of one of the greatest repertoires in all of American music, plain-spoken songs populated by the kinds of working people Haggard grew up with: farmers, hobos, convicts, widows, musicians and drunks." "Merle Haggard has always been as deep as it gets," said Bob Dylan. "Totally himself. Herculean. He definitely transcends the country genre."
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