Merle Haggard’s Encore Performance of “That’s The Way Love Goes”

Merle Haggard was renowned for his exceptional ability to cover classic songs, and “That’s the Way Love Goes” is a prime example. Originally written in 1973 by the iconic Lefty Frizzell and Sanger D. Shafer, it was first brought to life by Johnny Rodriguez in the same year. Featured on Rodriguez’s album “All I Ever Meant to Do was Sing,” the song achieved notable success, climbing to the top of the US charts and making an impression on the Canadian chart as well.

A decade later, Merle Haggard lent his unique style to the song, featuring it on his thirty-eighth album, also titled “That’s the Way Love Goes.” Haggard’s rendition resonated with audiences, propelling the song to the number one spot on both the US and Canadian charts. The album itself also gained significant acclaim, reaching number eight on the US Billboard chart. Haggard’s interpretation was not just commercially successful; it also earned him the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1984.

The song’s allure didn’t end with Haggard’s version. Other artists, including Connie Smith in 1974 and even the songwriter Lefty Frizzell, have put their spin on it. In 1999, Haggard revisited the song, recording a duet with singer Jewel. This collaboration led to the release of a single that secured a position at number fifty-six on the Billboard country chart, showcasing the song’s enduring appeal.

Jewel’s collaboration with Merle Haggard extended beyond a single song. They recorded two tracks for Haggard’s compilation album, “Merle Haggard: For the Record,” which featured a total of forty-three songs. This album was special as it included re-recordings of Haggard’s previous hits with various artists like Willie Nelson, Brooks and Dunn, Alabama, and others. Among these collaborations, Jewel and Haggard’s renditions of “Silver Wings” and “That’s the Way Love Goes” were particularly noteworthy. Their performance of these songs was memorably showcased during the 1999 CMA Awards show, highlighting the unique chemistry between the two artists.

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