Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Merle Haggard Recovering from Cancer Surgery

Time for me to put on my other blog hat for a few minutes, guys, the country music one. I've been a fan of real country music almost as long as I've been a book nut. That's a long, long time.

Two country singers have been very special to me for most of my life. I discovered George Jones when I was about 13 years old and Merle Haggard came along three or four years later. Those two singers have been constants in my life for more than 40 years now. These are men whose lifestyles are accurately reflected in their music: heavy drinking, heavy smoking, drugs, multiple marriages, run-ins with the law, etc. You name it, and they probably did it. And amazingly both mellowed soon enough to have now reached their early seventies.

They are as surprised about that as I am, I suspect.

But now comes news that doctors discovered a tumor in Merle's right lung sometime in May and that he refused to be treated for it. It seems that his family finally convinced him to allow doctors to remove the tumor and that he is recovering at home. God knows what that really means at this point.

According to the Dallas Observer,
A recent biopsy revealed that Haggard had non-small cell lung cancer (a form of the disease that has a much better cure rate), so surgery to remove the upper lobe of his right lung became mandatory. According to the surgeon, Haggard woke from the operation, yodeled and smiled. And his post-operative progress was so rapid that he was discharged on Saturday.

That’s good news for all involved as Haggard is still one of the preeminent country singer-songwriters in music--country or otherwise.
Merle is one of the great ones and I want to have him around for a long, long time. He still sounds great and I'm looking forward to some new Merle Haggard music - lots of it.

Merle singing one of the best country music songs ever written - written, of course, by him (along with his first wife, Bonnie Owens)


  1. I love his old stuff, and I'm impressed with how he isn't afraid to try new stuff -- like when he was doing that country/jazz fusion stuff back in the eighties. I noticed that in your clip here, he's singing a little behind the beat ala Billie Holiday.

  2. I'm glad his family was finally able to convince him to have the surgery. I've lost two uncles to lung cancer; they both refused any treatment.

  3. Bybee, I'm amazed that his voice has held up so well over the years, especially considering the man's lifestyle for many of his years.

  4. Same here, SFP. I just hope it wasn't a case of "too little, too late." He wasted some precious time, time that might have made all the difference. Here's hoping he didn't wait too long to see the light.