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Merle Haggard Gets Tumor Removed From Lung, Remains An Outlaw

November 5, 2008 3:45 PM ET

Country music rebel Merle Haggard is recovering in California after having a malignant tumor removed from his lung. The 71-year-old Haggard remains in stable condition following the successful surgery. A "spot" was found in Haggard's lung back in May. Even though doctors recommended Haggard get it removed immediately, Haggard's pretty badass and instead opted for no surgery. In fact, Haggard even toured from June until August with the tumor lodged in his chest. Friends and family finally convinced the Hag to undergo the surgery, and the tumor was removed Monday in his hometown of Bakersfield. Among achievements like 38 #1 country hits and plenty of Academy of Country Music awards, Haggard was also given the Grammy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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