If you are a fan of country music, you might have heard of the song “Okie from Muskogee” by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. This song was released in 1969 as a single and as the title track of the album Okie from Muskogee. It was one of the most famous songs of Haggard’s career and a controversial one as well.

The song is about the conservative values and lifestyle of the people from Muskogee, Oklahoma, a small city in the Midwest. The song contrasts them with the countercultural movements of the 1960s, such as hippies, drug users, draft dodgers, and protesters. The song expresses pride in being an “Okie from Muskogee”, a slang term for someone from Oklahoma, and in living “right and being free”.

The song was written by Haggard and his drummer Roy Edward Burris during the height of the Vietnam War. Haggard said that he wrote the song to support the troops and to criticize the anti-war activists who were disrespecting them. He also said that he wrote the song as a “character study” of his 1969 self, who was under the same assumptions as most of America at that time. He later changed his views on some of the issues he sang about and performed the song with a different attitude.

The song was a huge hit for Haggard and Nelson, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also won the Academy of Country Music award for Single of the Year and Album of the Year in 1970. The song has been covered by many other artists, including some who were opposed to its message, such as the Grateful Dead, Phil Ochs, and The Flaming Lips.

The song is considered a classic of country music and a cultural icon of its era. It has been featured in many movies, TV shows, books, and documentaries. It has also been analyzed by historians, sociologists, and music critics for its political and social implications. Some see it as a satire, some as a sincere statement, some as a provocation, and some as a reflection of the divided nation.

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