I love old school country music; e.g. Hank Williams Sr., Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Charlie Pride, Loretta Lynn, John Anderson, and yes, Joe Diffie. I know their songs, and in a lot of cases, their stories.
But, I suppose even legitimate historians occasionally trip over an unknown fact now and again and scrape their knee.
Merle Haggard was in the hoosegow at the time of Johnny Cash’s 1958 prison concert at San Quentin. As a result of seeing the show, Merle was inspired to join the prison band.
Merle ended up in San Quentin after escaping from other jails 17 times and being deemed an escape risk. Duh. The Hag also popped pills with Johnny in a public restroom and washed them down with wine.
Eric Spitznagel did an outstanding interview with Merle for Vanity Fair back in 2010.
Click Here to watch the PBS special on The Hag’s life.