Country music star Merle Haggard died Wednesday on his 79th birthday, his manager confirmed to the Associated Press. Haggard, who had nearly 40 No. 1 hits during his lifetime, was recently described by GQ as "country's remaining black-hat rebel, the last man singing for the underdog."
Born in 1937 in California, where he died, Haggard was credited with creating the Bakersfield Sound genre of the 1950s and '60s after seeing Johnny Cash perform while he was in prison for burglary. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994, the Tenneseean reported.
News of his death triggered an outpouring of sympathy and memorial tweets from artists like Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley and TG Sheppard. If you're looking for a way to remember Haggard, put on one of his tunes and read some of his most famous quotes and lyrics, collected from RockWisdom, BrainyQuote and various media interviews:
"It's easier to force feed people than it is to give 'em what they want. It makes more money."
“Faith is the only way we're going to make it. None of us are smart enough to do it on our own.”
"Read about some squirrelly guy who claims that he just don't believe in fighting, and I wonder how long the rest of us can count on being free."
"It's hard to sing, anyway. It's hard for me. It requires you to go there in your mind, to get there — and to be part of what you're singing about is somewhat painful. You've got to climb inside it all."
"Staring at the world through the bottom of a glass, all I see is a man who's fading fast."
"We've got to regain control — the people. "For the people, of the people," all that — that's not the current situation. We are under control, and if people don't realize that, they haven't looked around. And if they're not paranoid, they haven't thought about it."
"No, it's not love, but it's not bad."
"There's a rumor that there may be an attempt at organizing a possible script for a series on my life, which, when you look at my police record, you'd have to have more than one hour to tell the story."
"I'm just writin' about my little ol' love affair."
"Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."