Most Westporters knew Merle Haggard — if they knew him at all — as the singer-songwriter of the proud-to-be-a-hippie-hater “Okie From Muskogee.”
But Miggs Burroughs knew Haggard — who died Wednesday, on his 79th birthday — in a different way.
More than 40 years ago — in June of 1973 — Time Magazine asked the 27-year-old artist to create the cover for a story on the country music “outlaw hero.”
“I wasn’t a fan at the time,” Miggs recalls.
“I painted it on real barn siding to make it look as haggard as possible. I liked it, they liked it, and proofs were printed.”
But Merle complained, and the editors swapped Miggs’ artwork out for a photographic cover.
He sighs. “Then it was me who looked haggard.”
PS: 14 months later, Miggs painted another Time cover — the one announcing Richard Nixon’s resignation. The disgraced president didn’t like hippies either.