Okie From Muskogee

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Did Merle Haggard really mean it when he lambasted the Woodstock generation while upholding small-town Southern values? In 1971, he claimed the song’s reactionary stance started out as a joke: While he and his band were driving through the Oklahoma town of the song’s title, he sang out what would become the song’s opening line – “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee.” However, in 2009, Haggard told Rolling Stone, “The reason I wrote it is was because I was dumb as a rock.” Then, in further contradiction, he added, “Another reason is it needed to be written.”