American Country Legend Merle Haggard was many things at many different times. Aside from being a country singer, he was a songwriter, guitar player, and skilled player of several other musical instruments. Merle was part of those that formed The Strangers music band that rebranded country music to what it is today especially after composing the Bakersfield sound which is said to be a combination of harmonies with the popular steel-made guitar.
Merle Haggard is credited with the release of several hit albums among his 70 albums released which had 600 songs in them including those he wrote himself that amounted to 250. He also had 38 songs that topped the U.S country chart at the number 1 spot and as his success spread, Merle Haggard got international recognition which included his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994 and a spot in the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 1997, among many other awards he received during his lifetime.
Some of the country legend’s popular albums among many others include Someday We’ll Look Back, If We Make It Through December, The Fighting Side of Me, and A Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today. His number one hit songs include I’m a Lonesome Fugitive, Branded Man, Sing Me Back Home, Bar Room Buddies, I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink, My Favorite Memory, Big City, Yesterday’s Wine, and Going Where the Lonely Go.
Merle Haggard’s Net Worth
It is of a fact that Merle Haggard had a very successful music career that gained him not only international recognition but also rewarded him financially for his success. At the time of his death, he had amassed a net worth that was pegged at $40 million.
Family – Spouse & Children
The popular country singer was notorious for having a series of failed marriages during his lifetime. His first marriage in 1956 was to Leona Hobbs, the mother of his 4 children; Dana who died on April 10th, 2018, Marty, Kelli, and Noel. The union eventually came to an end in 1964.
The next year, Merle Haggard was once again taking marriage vows with Bonnie Owens, who was a singer like him and he is said to have been very fond of her. Owens became so close to Merle that she assisted in caring for his children and he dedicated his hit song “Today I Started Loving You Again” to her. After their divorce in 1978, the pair did not part ways completely as Owen kept her job with Merle as his backup singer until she passed on in 2016.
Merle Haggard got married to his third wife Leona Williams in 1978 but ended up divorcing her in 1983. Two years later in 1985, he got married to Ann Lane, on September 11, 1993, with whom he stayed till the time of his death. They have two lovely children together named Jenessa and Ben.
Is Merle Haggard Dead Or Alive?
Merle Haggard who was born April 6th, 1937 in California, U.S.A passed away on April 6th, 2016 which was his 79th birthday. The country singer is known to have had lots of challenges with his health. In 1995, Merle Haggard was said to have done an angioplasty to open up his blocked arteries. In November 2008, word hit the public that the country singer had cancer of the lungs for which he underwent surgical procedures that resulted in a section of his lungs being extracted. The next year, barely a year after his cancer treatment, Merle Haggard performed two days in a row on 2nd and 3rd January 2009 and even went on a career tour during that period.
As his health deteriorated, Merle Haggard fell ill a lot and was treated for pneumonia in December 2015 and in March 2016, but it only aggravated and got so bad that he could not make it past his 79th birthday which was the 6th day of April. He died in his house in Palo Cedro located in Shasta County, California. His burial rites were performed on April 9, 2016, by Marty Stuart his close friend at his ranch.
The country singer was not one to be scared of death and the great beyond, rather, what concerned Merle Haggard was how he was going to be remembered. On his on legacy, though he has been included in the Gunness Book of World Records alongside many other encyclopedias for his music expertise with captions like a country singer, balladeer, composer of “Okie from Muskogee” and “the poet of the common man”, Merle said he would love to be remembered as “the greatest jazz guitar player in the world that loved to play country”.