Merle Haggard: 30 Essential Songs

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

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"Things Aren't Funny Anymore" (1974)

In addition to being Haggard's 17th Number One on the country charts, "Things Aren't Funny Anymore," released in February 1974, showcased the rough-hewn singer's softer side. Using his unraveling second marriage to Bonnie Owens as source material, Haggard really lets the hurt come through when he belts: "Seems we've lost the way to find all the good times we found before/Yeah, we used to laugh a lot/Things aren't funny anymore." Twin fiddles play the instrumental break like a broken heart pining over love's uncertainties in a tale as old as time — one that appealed to fans beyond Haggard's blue-collar country audience. E.M. 

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