About the song

If you are a fan of country music, you probably know the name Merle Haggard. He was one of the most influential and prolific singers and songwriters of the genre, with more than 40 number one hits and dozens of awards. One of his most popular and memorable songs is “Are the Good Times Really Over (I Wish a Buck Was Still Silver)”, which he wrote and recorded in 1981 for his album Big City.

The song is a nostalgic and pessimistic reflection on the state of America in the late 20th century, comparing it to the past when things were simpler, better, and more patriotic. Haggard mentions various cultural, political, and economic changes that he sees as signs of decline, such as the rise of rock and roll, the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, the popularity of microwave ovens, and the devaluation of the dollar. He also expresses his wish for a revival of American values, such as hard work, freedom, and respect for the flag.

The song resonated with many listeners who shared Haggard’s sentiments and felt disillusioned with the direction of the country. It reached number two on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and number one on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada. It also received critical acclaim and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1983.

“Are the Good Times Really Over” is not only a catchy and emotional tune, but also a historical document that captures the mood and mindset of a generation. It is a testament to Haggard’s skill as a storyteller and a commentator on social issues. It is also a reminder that nostalgia is a powerful force that can shape our perception of reality.

Video

Lyrics

I wish a buck was still silver
And it was back when country was strong
Back before Elvis and before Viet Nam war came along
Before the Beatles and “Yesterday”
When a man could still work and still would
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
And are the good times really over for good?
Are we rollin’ down hill like a snowball headed for hell
With no kind of chance for the flag or the Liberty Bell
I wish a Ford and a Chevy would still last ten years
Like they should
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
And are the good times really over for good?
I wish coke was still cola
And a joint was a bad place to be
And it was back before Nixon lied to us
All on TV
Before microwave ovens
When a girl could still cook
And still would
Is the best of the free life behind us now?
And are the good times really over for good?
Are we rollin’ down hill like a snowball headed for hell
With no kind of chance for the flag or the Liberty Bell
I wish a Ford and a Che