Merle Haggard Mama Tried Top Performances (Videos)

Merle Haggard Mama Tried

photo: YouTube

Enjoy watching the top Merle Haggard "Mama Tried" performances over the years including his performance singing to his mother . . .

The Merle Haggard Mama Tried song was released July 1, 1968 as the first single and title track from the album of the same name.  “Mama Tried” is a song written and recorded by American country music artist Merle Haggard and The Strangers. The song became one of the top songs of his career. It won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999, and was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry due to its “cultural, historic, or artistic significance” on March 23, 2016.

In “Mama Tried”, Haggard focused on the pain and suffering he caused his own mother by being incarcerated in 1957 in San Quentin prison in California.  Haggard ultimately served three years on a robbery conviction and is one of the leading artists associated with the Outlaw Country genre of music. “Mama Tried” was Merle’s fifth No. 1 song on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart in August of 1968.  The song spent four weeks at No. 1, and was his biggest hit at that time.

He was released from San Quentin on parole in 1960. After years of working to make a name for himself on the country music scene and making an honest living, then-California Governor and future President Ronald Reagan pardoned Haggard on March 14, 1972.

Enjoy watching three different performances of “Mama Tried” and see the written lyrics below.

Merle Haggard Mama Tried Live Performance (early Career)

Merle Haggard Mama Tried (Later Career Live from Austin, Texas)

Merle Haggard Mama Tried (with his mom in attendance)

A magic moment in California. Merle Haggard sings the classic “Mama tried” to his Mom.

This classic country song was written by Merle Haggard.

Merle Haggard Mama Tried Lyrics

The first thing I remember knowing
Was a lonesome whistle blowing
And a young’un’s dream of growing up to ride
On a freight train leaving town
Not knowing where I’m bound
And no one could change my mind, but Mama tried
One and only rebel child
From a family meek and mild
My mama seemed to know what lay in store
Despite all my Sunday learning
Towards the bad I kept on turning
Till Mama couldn’t hold me anymore
And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole
No one could steer me right, but Mama tried, Mama tried
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied
That leaves only me to blame ’cause Mama tried
Dear old Daddy, rest his soul
Left my mom a heavy load
She tried so very hard to fill his shoes
Working hours without rest
Wanted me to have the best
She tried to raise me right, but I refused
And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole
No one could steer me right, but Mama tried, Mama tried
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied
That leaves only me to blame ’cause Mama tried
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