Music

Merle Haggard's prison lament

"Mama Tried" by Merle Haggard was number one on the Billboard Country chart 50 years ago today. The song reflects on the pain and suffering Haggard caused his mother when he was sent to San Quentin Prison after trying to rob a roadhouse in his hometown of Bakersfield, California. Haggard says he was inspired to join the prison country band after seeing Johnny Cash perform at San Quentin on New Years Day, 1959. Haggard turned his life around after his release from prison in 1960.