Merle Haggard ~ Okie from Muskogee (1977)

It’s all about the lyrics here: “…I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee, a place where even squares can have a ball.”

I first heard this tune performed at an outdoor concert by an all-Native American band. Since that concert, I had always wondered (and I know I’m not alone) whether Merle Haggard meant for us to take the lyrics literally or with a bit of tongue-in-cheek.

Well, according to this article:

  • The song took on something of a life of its own beyond the airwaves, records, and concert performances.
  • Haggard himself (who died in 2016) had some conflicted thoughts about it as time went on.

In this clip from a 2009 concert, Willie Nelson does a cameo with Haggard and his band.