There are legendary singers.  And there are legendary songwriters.  And of course, there is one step above that, the legendary singer/songwriters.

But then, even above that, on the highest plateau in music, there are the iconic singer/songwriters.

And that's where you'll find Merle Haggard.

If country music is about real life, about the trials and tribulations, the victories and losses in my life and yours, then a spokesman for those emotions (real and imagined) is Merle Haggard.

And more than that, Merle laid his life out right in front of us.  Not just the best of times, but also the worst.  He is considered a country music icon because he spared nothing.  What you hear is what you get...and what he is.

It was in July of 1968 that one of the most recognizable guitar openings was first heard across the nation.  And one of the most famous opening lines in country music.

'The first thing I remember knowin' is a lonesome whistle blowin' and a young'un's dream of growin' up to ride...'

Focusing on the pain and suffering he caused his Mother when he was locked up in San Quentin prison in 1957, 'Mama Tried' (while not literally biographical) is 100% Merle haggard, laid out bare and magnificent.

The song was Merle's 5th number one and spent 4 weeks atop the Country Music chart.  The song has been covered by many artist's ranging from The Grateful Dead to David Allan Coe to Joan Baez.

But make no mistake....this is a Merle Haggard song...and treasure.