Merle Haggard may no longer be here, but the country legend made sure that there was enough new music to last long after his passing. In a 2015 interview, Haggard revealed that he had intentionally built up a massive collection of songs just in case he were to become unable to sing or passed away.
“I’ve probably got 300 to 400 songs that I haven’t released that I collected over the years. We call it ‘The Archive.’ And we haven’t released anything from that. When I get unable to record or sing anymore, or get killed or something, well they’ll probably put it out,” Merle told Broadway’s Electric Barnyard.
Merle Haggard died on his 79th birthday (April 6) following a bout with pneumonia. Following his death, Haggard’s son Ben wrote “He loved everything about life, and he loved that every one of you gave him a chance with his music,” his son Ben wrote. “He wasn’t just a country singer … He was the best country singer that ever lived.”
That love for music and for his fans is perhaps one of the reasons Merle Haggard planned ahead and created his music vault. Haggard’s long-time fans are kept him on the road with the songs they grew up on, but a surge in younger fans is perhaps what kept Merle recording new music over the last few years. Haggard told Billboard last summer that he’s not quite sure why this new fan base was following him.
Perhaps the reason is the huge success of Django and Jimmie, the album Haggard recorded with close friend Willie Nelson. Regardless, we’re certain that Merle Haggard fans old and new are looking forward to hearing the wonderful surprises that Haggard tucked away in his vault…a special gift for the fans who made him a success.