QUESTION: Into which of the following Halls of Fame has Merle Haggard not yet been inducted?
A) California Music
B) Country Music
C) Oklahoma Music
D) Nashville Songwriters
This has been a tough year for music. Alongside the deaths of David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, and many others, a dominant spirit of country music also passed away just over a month ago: Merle Haggard. He died on his 79th birthday, April 6th. We would like to spend today to honor this highly accomplished musician, whose records adorn our "Record Wall" here in the American Treasure Tour's Music Room.
Only eight years old when his father died, Haggard was often left to himself while his mother worked to provide for the family. The good news was he taught himself guitar. The bad news was he got into a lot of trouble, which ended with time in jail, first for truancy, then for a botched robbery. He did time in San Quentin in California, where a performance by fellow bad boy Johnny Cash helped him realize that his life of crime was leading him nowhere. So he straightened up and focused on making music.
Upon his release from prison in 1962, Haggard worked some tough jobs while also recording music. It took a few years, but his songs gradually were heard and, by 1970, he'd become established as one of California's finest performers. The governor of California gave him a full pardon for his past crimes in the year 1972. The governor was a former actor named Ronald Reagan. That was the same year the album we have displayed was released, The Best of the Best of Merle Haggard. Included in the album are eleven tracks tracing his career up to that point: "Okie from Muskogee," "Hungry Eyes," "Working Man's Blues" and others. Fans of The Hag enjoy this recording because of his voice, which certainly changed over the four decades after it was recorded. Considered a great introduction to the beginning of Haggard's career, "The Best of the Best of" is a fine introduction to the 'Bakersfield Sound' of country music.
ANSWER: A) California Music Hall of Fame.