Yesterday we were all shocked and saddened after hearing the news of Merle Haggard’s passing. As you can see in that link, tributes and goodbyes have been pouring in over the last 24 hours. There’s one post that’s being shared around that really caught my eye. W Earl Brown shared the story about how Toby Keith saved one of the Hag’s final shows
“Toby Keith was in town with his wife to watch some football and have some fun. Toby got word that Merle was in Vegas, so he went to see him… Merle was in bad shape. He needed to be in a hospital – not on a stage; but The Show Must Go On. Merle would not take charity from anyone, but he did turn to Toby and say, ‘How many songs of mine do you know?’
‘All of ’em’ answered T.
‘All of ’em?’
‘Yep. And I won’t need a teleprompter.’
‘Well, stay nearby.’ After four or five songs, Merle’s infected lungs were spent. He couldn’t draw enough air to sing any longer. ‘We’ve, uh, we’ve got a special guest here tonight…’ Toby came out and sang the rest of the show. Merle gave his last concert. The Strangers got paid. And the audience, while not realizing it at the time, saw something special.”