Real family inspired song, but it wasn’t Haggard’s
This week in 1971: A snowmobile record was set in Utah at 140.6 mph; Japan agreed to curb the flow of textiles into the U.S.; a federal comparative study showed that Hispanic families earned more than blacks; and a singer from Bakersfield, Calif., had his 26th hit record.
Contrary to popular belief, Merle Haggard’s 1971 No. 1 “Daddy Frank” was not a true story, at least according to one of Merle’s band members.
Norm Hamlet commented, “A lot of fans thought that the song was Hag’s life story, but that’s not true. The idea for that song came from The Maddox Brothers and Rose, who were a real traveling family band, consisting of Rose Maddox and her brothers. Merle changed the idea around, gave the daddy the name Frank and in the song he was a blind man. His wife, called “Momma,” was deaf and she drove the family truck.”
“Daddy Frank” was also one of Haggard’s first recordings to feature his road band without extra session musicians, although the record did feature Merle’s and his manager Fuzzy Owens’ children.
The session was recorded in Buck Owens’ Bakersfield studio and entered the country music charts Oct. 16, 1971, and was in the No. 1 spot on Nov. 20th—where it stuck for two weeks.
It was Haggard’s 10th No. 1, and was on the charts for 14 weeks.
Haggard placed 102 songs on the country music charts between 1963 and 2005— including duets with Clint Eastwood, Johnny Paycheck, Leona Williams, Janie Fricke, Willie Nelson and Gretchen Wilson.
He was inducted into The Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1994.
Merle Haggard died April 6, 2016, at age 79.
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Doug Davis & The Good Ole Boys will perform today at 10 a.m. at Bunch Woodview