Country Music

Merle Haggard’s Revised Rendition of “That’s The Way Love Goes”

Merle Haggard, known for his exceptional covers of classic songs, once again demonstrated his prowess with “That’s the Way Love Goes.” Originally penned in 1973 by Lefty Frizzell and Sanger D. Shafer, the song was first brought to life by Johnny Rodriguez in the same year. Rodriguez’s rendition quickly soared to the top of the US charts and found its way onto the Canadian charts as well. This hit single was a standout track on Rodriguez’s album “All I Ever Meant to Do was Sing,” cementing its place in country music history.

A decade later, Merle Haggard brought his unique touch to “That’s the Way Love Goes” for his thirty-eighth album, aptly titled after the song itself. Haggard’s version achieved remarkable success, climbing to number one on both the US and Canadian charts. The album itself also made an impressive impact, reaching number eight on the US Billboard chart. Beyond chart success, Haggard’s rendition earned him the prestigious Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1984, a testament to his exceptional talent and the song’s enduring appeal.

The song’s journey didn’t end with Haggard. “That’s the Way Love Goes” has been covered by various artists over the years. In 1974, Connie Smith included it in her album of the same name, and even Lefty Frizzell, one of the original songwriters, made his own cover. In a remarkable twist, Haggard revisited the song in 1999, this time partnering with Jewel. Their collaborative version was released as a single, achieving notable success by reaching number fifty-six on the Billboard country chart, further showcasing the song’s versatility and timeless charm.

The partnership between Jewel and Merle Haggard extended beyond a single song. They worked together on Haggard’s album “Merle Haggard: For the Record,” a comprehensive collection of forty-three tracks. This album featured Haggard revisiting some of his greatest hits in collaboration with various artists, including Willie Nelson, Brooks and Dunn, and Alabama. Among these collaborations, Jewel and Haggard recorded two tracks: “Silver Wings” and “That’s the Way Love Goes.” Their partnership was highlighted in a memorable live performance during the 1999 CMA Awards show, a moment that encapsulated the enduring legacy of Haggard’s music and his ability to bring new life to classic songs.

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