Merle Haggard Made The Okie’s From Muskogee Oklahoma World Famous
The fall of 1969 was an interesting time in American History.
The war in Viet Nam was raging and protests were raging as well, back here at home. Everyone had an opinion about the war and sometimes those opinions turned violent.
One of Country Music’s emerging super stars wrote (along with Roy Burris) something of a musical anthem. It would become one of the most discussed, most played and, at the time, one of the most controversial songs of the decade.
‘Okie From Muskogee’ by Merle Haggard was released in September of 1969. The man we would call ‘The Hag’ already was a mainstay in country music, having had several number one hit’s including ‘I’m A Lonesome Fugitive’, ‘Branded Man’, ‘Mama Tried’, ‘Sing Me Back Home’ and others.
But it was ‘Okie From Muskogee’ that made Merle a household name. The song shot to the top of the Country chart and stayed there for 4 weeks. It nearly broke into the Top 40 rock chart as well. It was named the Country Music Association single of the year.
‘Okie From Muskogee’ has been featured in several movies, perhaps most notably in the Viet Nam war film ‘Platoon’.
And it was ‘Okie From Muskogee’ that sent Merle Haggard into the Country Music stratosphere.
Interestingly, the song has been covered by such diverse artist’s as The Grateful Dead and The Beach Boys.
And finally, on a personal note, I remember when that song came on the radio, my late dad would turn it up…and then turn it up a little bit more.