This week, Listening Lyrics takes a look back at the musical contributions of Merle Haggard, one of country music's most gifted and prolific songwriters. During the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Haggard had an amazing streak of 26 number-one country singles. Haggard's early hits – including "The Fugitive," "Mama Tried," and "Okie From Muskogee" – comprise what Rolling Stone executive editor Jason Fine, in a 2009 profile of Haggard, called "the backbone of one of the greatest repertoires in all of American music, plain-spoken songs populated by the kinds of working people Haggard grew up with: farmers, hobos, convicts, widows, musicians and drunks." Quoting Bob Dylan, "Merle Haggard has always been as deep as it gets...totally himself. Herculean. He definitely transcends the country genre."