Miggs Burroughs: Time For Merle Haggard

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.”

The Time cover readers never saw.

The Time cover readers never saw.

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.

6 responses to “Miggs Burroughs: Time For Merle Haggard

  1. It’s amazing he complained about it. This artwork is great.

  2. The art work is terrific, but as one who grew up in the old south the KKK south the ole Merle good ole boy will pass as he has. Those times take a long time to die.

    • There are conflicting stories as to whether Merle and his song-writing partner wrote “Okie” as a spoof or not. There’s also one story out there that they were actually stoned when they wrote it.


  4. Linda Gramatky Smith

    What a fabulous cover. Yes, Time lost on this one.

  5. Merle had to be half in the bag not to have embraced this potential cover!