Merle Haggard’s “The Fightin’ Side of Me” Turns 50

Merle Haggard introduced “The Fightin’ Side of Me” to the world right after making waves with “Okie From Muskogee.” Recorded in December 1969, “The Fightin’ Side of Me” appeared on the country chart just two months later, ultimately rising to No. 1.

Fifty years on, the lyrics are still relevant, as phrases such as “And if you don’t love it, leave it” still get tossed around in the modern era.

“If I had to take my choice I’d rather write a song that people may not agree with than one that they never hear at all,” Haggard said then, according to the 1996 box set, Down Every Road. “You’ve got to make people turn their heads and listen closer to you and maybe say to themselves, ’What did he say?’”

Take a look at this live performance of “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” filmed on The Porter Wagoner Show in 1970.

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