“I turned 21 in prison, doing life without parole.
No one could steer me right, but Mama tried, Mama tried,
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied.
That leaves only me to blame, ’cause Mama tried.”
Merle Haggard has died, on his birthday, at the age of 79. His difficult early life included petty crime, and an eventual arrest for burglary, which earned him a lengthy prison sentence at San Quentin. Notably, one of the most profound influences upon Haggard in changing his life was when he saw Johnny Cash perform at San Quentin on January 1, 1958. Haggard would go on to become one of the greatest musicians of his time – and he was widely known as a gracious and kind gentleman. Rolling Stone’s piece is here.
Requiescat in pace.