Okie from Muskogee – Merle Haggard

THIS DAY IN MUSIC……………………………………………on July 17th of 1969 Merle Haggard records the studio version of “Okie From Muskogee” at the Capitol Recording Studios in Hollywood. Haggard and his band started writing this song ( Haggard wrote this song with Eddie Burris, who was the drummer in his band The Strangers) when their tour bus passed through Muskogee, Oklahoma. It started out as a joke making fun of small town rural folks, but took on new meaning when people took it seriously; the song was a #1 Country hit for four weeks, and it quickly became clear that many listeners really did despise the liberal, elite hippies in San Francisco and heard the song not as a commentary on the folly of intolerance, but as a song about southern pride.The Vietnam protests were an inspiration for this song – Haggard was protesting the protesters. Muskogee is a city in Oklahoma. In 1969, after this song was released and became a hit, Haggard went to Muskogee and recorded a live album called Okie From Muskogee. When Johnny Cash visited the White House in 1970, Richard Nixon – or one of his staff members – requested that he play this song as well as “A Boy Named Sue” and a song by Guy Drake called “Welfare Cadillac.” Cash said he couldn’t play “Okie” and “Cadillac,” but did play “Sue” as well as a few of his other songs. This was named CMA Single of the Year in 1970. The song was a minor crossover hit on Billboard’s Hot 100 Pop Chart peaking at #41.