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Country Icon Merle Haggard Dead At 79

Country icon Merle Haggard died today, Wednesday April 6, 2016. It was his 79th birthday. He is pictured here, performing at Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival in 2010. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Country icon Merle Haggard died today, Wednesday April 6, 2016. It was his 79th birthday. He is pictured here, performing at Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival in 2010. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Country giant Merle Haggard, who celebrated outlaws, underdogs and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as “Okie From Muskogee” and “Sing Me Back Home,” died Wednesday at 79, on his birthday.

Haggard’s manager, Frank Mull, said the country icon died in Palo Cedro, California, of pneumonia.

A masterful guitarist, fiddler and songwriter as well as singer, the Country Music Hall of Famer recorded for more than 40 years, releasing dozens of albums and No. 1 hits.

Don Cusic, a music historian and professor of music business at Belmont University, joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss Haggard’s legacy.

Songs from the Segment

“Okie from Muskogee” by Merle Haggard (1969) [Youtube]   “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard (1968) [Youtube]   “Branded Man” by Merle Haggard (1967) [Youtube]   “Sing Me Back Home” by Merle Haggard (1967) [Youtube]

Guest

  • Don Cusic, a professor of music business at Belmont University.

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