By Jessica Wheeler, AliveTampaBay Columnist
Country legend Merle Haggard died on April 6, 2016, following complications from pneumonia. He was 79. Known for hits like “Okie from Muskogee” and “Mama Tried,” Haggard began recording in 1963. Pioneering the “Bakersfield Sound,” a harder-edged alternative to the country music coming out of Nashville, he scored 38 No. 1 songs on the country charts from the 1960s through the 1980s. A highly respected songwriter, he garnered the respect of fans and fellow artists from Bob Dylan to Elvis Costello.
Jessica Wheeler is a columnist for AliveTampaBay.