On This Day: Merle Haggard’s ‘I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink’ Tops Charts 40 Years Ago

by Katie Maloney

What better anthem can there be during stay-at-home orders than Merle Haggard’s “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.”

Forty-one years ago today Haggard’s “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink,” as the second single from his album, Back To The Barrooms topped chartsThe song spent 12 weeks on the country charts making it Haggard’s 26th number-one hit song.

Merle Haggard And Willie Nelson Were Lifelong Friends

Haggard and Nelson became friends and immediately bonded over weed and rebellion. They even recorded several albums together, the most recent of which is Django and Jimmie. One of the most popular songs from the album, “The Only Man Wilder Than Me,” is a song that Haggard and Nelson co-wrote about each other. During an interview, Haggard talked about the collaboration.

“He and I both wrote that thing, on the phone,” said Haggard. “I wrote one line and he’d write the other, back and forth…It just kind of came up. Maybe I said it first, I think: ‘You’re the only man wilder than me.’ And we went from there. We had it written in a very short time,” he says.

Behind the scenes of Merle Haggard’s and Willie Nelson’s “The Only Man Wilder Than Me”

In the same interview, Haggard said that it’s Nelson’s “disposition” that the country stars admires most. Haggard also says that the two musicians get along so well because they share the same attitude about life.

“Well, his disposition. He caters to no one, except the people he wants to. He’s just his own man, always has been. And so am I,” said Haggard.

Additionally, Haggard said that they were able to efficiently choose songs to record for their album because both look for the same qualities in a song.

“I think we probably think a lot the same way when it comes to music. You know, we both look for the unusual. Something in the song that makes it remarkable. There’s a million songs we could have recorded, and to bring it down to the fourteen that we did, it takes a bit of genius I think, to accomplish such a thing,” said Haggard.