Merle Haggard Dead at 79

Country legend Merle Haggard reportedly passed away Wednesday—the day of his 79th birthday. The pioneer of both outlaw country and the Bakersfield sound was best known for his 1969 hit “Okie From Muskogee,” which satirized small-town America’s reaction to the counterculture and anti-Vietnam War movement while also giving voice to those who felt the military was inadequately supported. Haggard was one of the most popular and prolific performers of his era, having recorded and released more than 50 top-10 country hits. Several months ago, Haggard experienced a health scare when he was hospitalized for 11 days for double pneumonia.