Country Music

Merle Haggard’s Contemporary Twist on “That’s The Way Love Goes”

Merle Haggard, a master of covering classic songs, showcased his talent with “That’s the Way Love Goes,” a track originally penned in 1973 by Lefty Frizzell and Sanger D. Shafer. Johnny Rodriguez was the first to record it in the same year, including it in his album “All I Ever Meant to Do was Sing.” Rodriguez’s rendition was a hit, topping the US charts and making its way onto the Canadian chart. Haggard’s take on this song, however, added another layer of acclaim to its history.

A decade later, in the 1980s, Merle Haggard chose to cover “That’s the Way Love Goes” for his thirty-eighth album, also named after the song. Haggard’s version triumphed, clinching the number one spot on both US and Canadian charts. Additionally, his album secured the eighth position on the US Billboard chart. Haggard’s rendition was not just a chart success; it earned him the prestigious Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1984, highlighting the enduring appeal of the song and his unique interpretation.

The influence of “That’s the Way Love Goes” extended beyond Haggard’s version. Various artists, including Connie Smith in 1974 and even Lefty Frizzell himself, covered the song. In a remarkable turn in 1999, Haggard revisited the song, this time collaborating with singer-songwriter Jewel. Their duet version was released as a single, reaching number fifty-six on the Billboard country chart, demonstrating the song’s continued resonance with audiences.

The collaboration between Jewel and Merle Haggard was a notable event, with the duo recording two songs for Haggard’s album “Merle Haggard: For the Record.” This anthology featured forty-three tracks, where Haggard re-recorded some of his past hits with various artists, including Willie Nelson, Brooks and Dunn, Alabama, and others. Among these collaborations were the singles “Silver Wings” and “That’s the Way Love Goes.” A highlight of this partnership was their live performance at the 1999 CMA Awards show, showcasing the timeless appeal and cross-generational impact of “That’s the Way Love Goes.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *