Merle Haggard: 30 Essential Songs

From the defiance of "The Fightin' Side of Me" to the melancholy of "If We Make It Through December"

Load Previous

"The Fightin' Side of Me" (1970)

Just four months after "Okie From Muskogee" established Haggard as spokesman for small-town conservative America, he doubled down with this love-it-or-leave-it challenge to those who were "harpin' on the wars we fight an' gripin' bout the way things ought to be." And just like "Okie," "The Fightin' Side of Me" shot straight to Number One on the country charts. The chuckle in his tone suggests Haggard is a man who enjoys a barroom tussle every now and then. But even in the midst of a call to arms this blatant, Haggard is smart enough to see the dissenting viewpoint: "An' I don't mind 'em switchin' sides/An' standin' up for things they believe in." Just don't go, as he warns, runnin' down his country, man. D.M.

Back to Top