Some top songs recorded by country music legend Merle Haggard include "Okie from Muskogee," "Mamma Tried," "The Running Kind" and "If We Make It through December." This is a small sampling of songs from a stellar recording career that included a slew of number-one country hits.
"Okie from Muskogee" may be Haggard's best-known song. Haggard claimed he originally wrote the song as a satirical song about rural folk. However, Haggard?s fans interpreted the song as a critique of Vietnam War protestors and the hippie movement. Haggard later defended the song on these grounds. "Mamma Tried" is a tribute to Haggard's widowed mother, including references to Haggard's experiences in prison as a young man.
"The Running Kind" is one of the songwriter's many hits that poetically reveal his free-ranging spirit and his many rough-and-tumble experiences. David Cantwell used the title of the song as the subtitle of a biography of the artist, presumably because it so aptly expresses the essence of the singer-songwriter. "If We Make It through December" has become one of Haggard's classic songs partly because it turns the notion of the joyous Christmas carol on its head, dealing with a family going through hard times and hoping they can make it through the holiday season.