Country Throwback: Merle Haggard Brings Out Dwight Yoakam for ‘Swinging Doors’ in 1999

by Joe Rutland

Country music legend Merle Haggard took to the stage at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1999 and invited Dwight Yoakam out to perform “Swinging Doors.”

“Swinging Doors” is the title track and first cut released from Haggard’s 1966 album, “Swinging Doors and The Bottle Let Me Down.”

His band, The Strangers, backs him up on the recording.

The song’s lyrics, written by Haggard himself, tell a tale about a man whose found a home inside the cozy confines of a bar.

Take a few minutes and listen to these country music balladeers share the spotlight.

On December 10, 1966, Haggard achieved his first No. 1 on the Billboard country album chart — before he ever appeared on the pop listings — with the Capitol release Swinging Doors and the Bottle Let Me Down.

Biopic Is In The Works About Merle Haggard And His Life

Haggard’s life and legacy will soon be immortalized in film. According to Deadline, Amazon Studios is making a biopic on the country legend. The movie is based on Haggard’s memoir Sing Me Back Home.

He became known for his classics like “Mama Tried” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me.”

Also, Robin Bissell will direct and write the film. He’s working closely with Haggard’s widow, Theresa Haggard, on the script.

Haggard is widely considered as one of the most important singer-songwriters in country music. During a career that lasted from the 1960s until his death in 2016, he recorded more than 70 albums and had more than 30 No. 1 singles. He is known as “the Poet of the Common Man.”

Obviously, many of Haggard’s songs come from his own hardscrabble life. He was born during the Great Depression near Bakersfield, Calif., where his family was living.

The family moved from Oklahoma after a fire destroyed their farm and were considered “Okies.”

After his father died when Merle was nine, his mother encouraged his interest in music, hoping it would keep him out of trouble. It didn’t.

When he was 20 years old, his crimes landed him in San Quentin for 2 1/2 years.