Merle Haggard

Conway Twitty and George Strait are the only two artists with more #1 singles than Merle Haggard. Unlike Conway and George, Merle wrote most of his biggest hits for himself.

Beginning as little more than a Marty Robbins impersonator, Merle found his own voice after a few years and it became the biggest in country music for quite some time. Merle pops up all over the first season of Cocaine & Rhinestones. Learn more about him in the below episodes, including CR 005, a full episode dedicated to unpacking just one of Merle’s songs, “Okie from Muskogee.”

Merle Haggard

CR005 Breaking Down Merle Haggard’s Okie from Muskogee

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The song was just what so many Americans needed at the time, in 1969. Conservatives needed someone to stand up and defend small town, traditional values. Politicians needed someone to justify America’s continuing involvement in the Vietnam War. Oklahomans needed someone to redeem the meaning of the word “okie,” a hateful slur that arose from The Great Depression.

The only thing is, Merle Haggard wasn’t doing any of those things when he wrote the song.

Then what the exact hell was he doing, you ask?

Maybe things will become a little bit more clear once you know what Merle Haggard knew about Herbert Hoover, The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl, okies and satire. Maybe.

This episode is also recommended if you like: Gram Parsons, Ray Wylie Hubbard and the Revisionist History podcast.

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Loretta Lynn

CR002 The Pill: Why Was Loretta Lynn Banned?

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Maybe you already know Loretta Lynn’s 1975 song about birth control, “The Pill,” was banned from radio upon release.

But do you know why?

The real answer is not what many would assume. 

Recommended if you like: Kitty Wells, Webb Pierce, Jimmie Rodgers, Dixie Chicks, Conway Twitty, KT Oslin, Garth Brooks, Sunday Sharpe, Lorene Mann, Jeannie C. Riley, Hank Thompson and feminism.

Also recommended if you don’t like: Barbra Streisand.

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