The definitive biography of country legend Merle Haggard by the New York Times bestselling biographer of Clint Eastwood, Cary Grant, The Eagles, and more.
Merle Haggard was one of the most important country music musicians who ever lived. His astonishing musical career stretched across the second half of the 20th Century and into the first two decades of the next, during which he released an extraordinary 63 albums, 38 that made it on to Billboard's Country Top Ten, 13 that went to #1, and 37 #1 hit singles. With his ample songbook, unique singing voice and brilliant phrasing that illuminated his uncompromising commitment to individual freedom, cut with the monkey of personal despair on his back and a chip the size of Monument Valley on his shoulder, Merle's music and his extraordinary charisma helped change the look, the sound, and the fury of American music.
The Hag tells, without compromise, the extraordinary life of Merle Haggard, augmented by deep secondary research, sharp detail and ample anecdotal material that biographer Marc Eliot is known for, and enriched and deepened by over 100 new and far-ranging interviews. It explores the uniquely American life of an angry rebellious boy from the wrong side of the tracks bound for a life of crime and a permanent home in a penitentiary, who found redemption through the music of "the common man."
Merle Haggard's story is a great American saga of a man who lifted himself out of poverty, oppression, loss and wanderlust, to catapult himself into the pantheon of American artists admired around the world. Eliot has interviewed more than 100 people who knew Haggard, worked with him, were influenced by him, loved him or hated him. The book celebrates the accomplishments and explore the singer's infamous dark side: the self-created turmoil that expressed itself through drugs, women, booze, and betrayal. The Hag offers a richly anecdotal narrative that will elevate the life and work of Merle Haggard to where both properly belong, in the pantheon of American music and letters.
The Hag is the definitive account of this unique American original, and will speak to readers of country music and rock biographies alike.
Marc Eliot is the New York Times bestselling author of more than two dozen books on popular culture, including the highly acclaimed Cary Grant; the award-winning Hollywood's Dark Prince; American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood; The Eagles: The Untold Story. His books have been published in more than 25 countries. He is a frequent contributor to documentary films, TV shows, and podcasts, is the Resident Curator of film at the Riverfront Museum in Peoria, Illinois, and a Visiting Professor at UFM - The University of Guatemala, where he teaches graduate seminars in film. He received his MFA in non-fiction and film history from Columbia University, where he was mentored by Andrew Sarris. He attended the "Fame" school, the High School of Performing Arts. He currently lives in New York City, and upstate near Woodstock, New York.