Country Throwback: Watch George Strait Sing Merle Haggard’s ‘Are the Good Times Really Over’ in 2013

by Emily Morgan

Many iconic names come to mind when country music fans think back on legends who’ve shaped their lives. Nelson, Parton, Jones, and Cash are just a few examples of those who’ve made a name for themselves in the country music world. However, two names that should undoubtedly make your list include George Strait and Merle Haggard.

Both known as country music legends from different generations, Haggard was a personal hero to Strait before he kicked off his career. 

During a Las Vegas performance, Strait paid tribute to one of his country music heroes, when he performed Haggard’s iconic “Are The Good Times Really Over.”

George Strait Pays Tribute To Haggard During The Cowboy Rides Away Tour

In 2013, country legend George Strait performed two nights of shows in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena. 

That year The King of Country announced his retirement from touring and embarked on a farewell tour appropriately titled The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.

However, fans would be thrilled years later when Strait announced that he would perform a few shows in Las Vegas instead of touring.

“I’m not retiring, just not going to tour anymore,” he has famously remarked. 

During one of his Las Vegas shows, Strait sent his fans into a tizzy when he sang his classic, iconic songs. However, he wouldn’t stop there. He also paid tribute to the fellow legendary country singer. 

Strait’s rendition of “Are The Good Times Really Over,” stunned the crowd in amazement. 

After hearing Strait sing the first few lyrics, the crowd cheered, knowing that he was singing one of Haggard’s most beloved songs.

Released in May 1982, “Are The Good Times Really Over” was the third single from Haggard’s album Big City. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard country chart and has become known as one of the late singer’s signature songs.

 In 2016, George Strait described his admiration for Haggard in an interview with The Daily Beast.

“I listen to all kinds of music, but Merle was the man and he passed away this year. I make it a point to do a short tribute to him during the shows and make sure that nobody forgets about Merle’s legacy.”