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After a series of recent health struggles the legendary Merle Haggard passed away 6th April which was also his 79th birthday. He had cancelled tour dates in December of 2015 after he checked into a hospital and learned he had double pneumonia. He cancelled shows scheduled for 30th January 30th and 31st after his double pneumonia returned. Then at the end of March he announced he was cancelling all of his scheduled shows for April on doctor’s orders. His long time manager, Frank Mull revealed that the star died of pneumonia at 9:20am in Palo Cedro, California.
Merle Haggard began to take music seriously whilst in prison at San Quentin where he was on hand for the Johnny Cash performance that was captured for the iconic live album At San Quentin. He began to make a name for himself in the club scene around Bakersfield after his release, developing a hardened approach to Country music that prominently featured twangy electric guitars. He released his first single Sing A Sad Song in 1964, but it was his own compositions that launched him as one of the most important and influential Country hitmakers of his generation.
He will be remembered for ths songs, The Bottle Let Me Down, Branded Man, Sing Me Back Home, Mama Tried, If We Make It Through December, Ramblin’ Fever, I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink and That’s the Way Love Goes.
He was honoured as BMI Icon in 1996 and recognised at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010. He won a string of ACM, CMA and Grammy awards and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1977. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994.
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