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Originally a troubled youngster who served time in San Quentin prison, Merle Haggard grew to become a country music legend.
Merle Haggard tells the public about his criminal past on Johnny Cash's TV show.
Watch a short video about Johnny Cash and find out the highlights and low lights of the career of this rock, gospel and country legend.
George Jones talks about his fight against addiction.
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In addition to an impressive title track, Pancho & Lefty featured the touching ballads "It's My Lazy Day," "Half a Man," "Reason To Quit" and "All the Soft Places to Fall."
Haggard was elected to the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1977. In 1994, his wealth of artistic achievements, including 38 No. 1 hits, earned him induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In 2008, Haggard was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had surgery to remove the tumor and reflected on the situation as "the greatest test of my fortitude." After a speedy recovery, Haggard toured and wrote songs one of which was inspired by what President Barack Obama called "Hopes Are High," which he wrote two days before the inauguration.
Haggard was married to Leona Hobbs from 1956 to 1965, and to Buck Owens's ex-wife and fellow country singer Bonnie Owens from 1965 to 1975. Two more failed marriages followed—to backup singer Leona Williams and to Debbie Parrett. Haggard is currently married to Theresa Lane, whom he wed in 1993. He has three children from his first marriage to Hobbs and two children with Lane.
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When it comes to singing about struggle and emotion, there are few genres that match the intensity of country music. Country music was born from musicians that were brave enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves from happiness to heartache. Because of country icons like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jimmie Rodgers, this southern, soulful genre has grown to become loved by many. Browse through the legends that established country music as the popular genre that it is today.
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