Country Music

Merle Haggard’s Second Take on “That’s The Way Love Goes”

Merle Haggard, a master of covering classic songs, once again showcased his talent with “That’s the Way Love Goes.” The song, originally written in 1973 by Lefty Frizzell and Sanger D. Shafer, first found success with Johnny Rodriguez’s recording in the same year. Rodriguez’s rendition, featured on his album “All I Ever Meant to Do was Sing,” climbed to the top of the US charts and also made an impact on the Canadian chart. This initial success laid the foundation for the song’s enduring popularity.

A decade later, Merle Haggard brought his unique interpretation to “That’s the Way Love Goes” for his thirty-eighth album, named after the song. Haggard’s version not only achieved number one positions on both the US and Canadian charts, but it also helped the album reach number eight on the US Billboard chart. His rendition was so well-received that Haggard earned the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1984, underlining the song’s timeless appeal.

The single’s journey didn’t stop with Haggard. Connie Smith recorded it in 1974 for her album of the same name, and even Lefty Frizzell, one of the original songwriters, created his version. In a remarkable twist, Haggard revisited the song in 1999, recording a duet version with singer Jewel. This collaboration resulted in a single that reached number fifty-six on the Billboard country chart, proving the song’s adaptability across different musical styles and eras.

The collaboration between Jewel and Haggard extended beyond just this single. They joined forces for two tracks on Haggard’s album “Merle Haggard: For the Record,” a collection of forty-three songs. This album featured Haggard revisiting some of his earlier hits, now in duets with various artists, including Willie Nelson, Brooks and Dunn, Alabama, and more. Along with “That’s the Way Love Goes,” Jewel and Haggard also recorded “Silver Wings.” Their partnership was highlighted in a memorable live performance at the 1999 CMA Awards show, showcasing their shared musical chemistry and the enduring legacy of “That’s the Way Love Goes.”

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