Top 20 Merle Haggard Songs: Mama Tried (#7)

@FourWalls (16258)
United States
April 13, 2016 3:16pm CST
Listing my top ten favorite Merle Haggard songs in a particular order (save for #1 and #2) is pretty hard. Most of these songs can be moved around depending on the day and the mood. This one is probably in most fans' top five. #7: Mama Tried I turned 21 in prison doing life without parole. As with "Okie From Muskogee," that opening line to the chorus of "Mama Tried" is so well known that it transcends the song and the artist. You don't have to like Merle Haggard to know that line. Semi-autobiographical in nature (Haggard did turn 21 in San Quentin, but he wasn't "doing life without parole" for attempted robbery!), Haggard put the blame squarely on himself for his criminal career (that ended when a 1959 Johnny Cash concert at the prison made Haggard decide to focus on music instead of crime, resulting in an eventual full and complete pardon in 1972 from California governor Ronald Reagan). As with the song, Haggard's father did die ("dear old Daddy, rest his soul, left my mom a heavy load") when Hag was young (in 1945...Haggard was eight). This song is in the Grammy Hall of Fame as one of the songs deemed significant and important in the lexicon of recorded music. It's one of the songs that comes to mind immediately when people think of Merle Haggard. Not everyone has to live the experiences they sing about to sound sincere. Even if you didn't know Hag was writing from personal experience you'd believe him. Mama Tried Written by Merle Haggard From Mama Tried, 1968
Music video by Merle Haggard performing Mama Tried (Live).
3 people like this
3 responses
@JohnRoberts (67098)
• Los Angeles, California
13 Apr 16
This is for sure the second most iconic Haggard song. You are familiar with the lines even if not knowing the source.
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (42474)
• Denver, Colorado
13 Apr 16
It's a classic. I have definitely played this on the radio.
1 person likes this
@amadeo (78384)
• United States
13 Apr 16
I liked this one.I am not a fan of his.But do appreciated his music.The more I hear and things will bet better.
1 person likes this