March 5, 2009
Today’s Say What? comes courtesy of country music legend Merle Haggard, who recalled a salty conversation with a label executive in the 1980s. The memory was prompted by Emmylou Harris performing “Kern River”, a Haggard classic that is also a highlight of her most recent album, All I Intended to Be.
Since the comment is definitely nsfw, it’s embedded after the jump:
As reported on CMT.com:
“I want to say that there was this other guy — I can’t remember his name — he was head of CBS, and he made fun of my song. He said, ‘Who in the hell knows where Kern River is at?’”
Someone in the audience shouted out the name Haggard had apparently forgotten — Rick Blackburn, who helmed CBS Records (of which Epic was a division) from 1980 to 1988.
On another occasion, Haggard recalled that Blackburn said, “I’d like to tell you one more time. I don’t like ‘Kern River.’” Haggard continued, “And I said, ‘That’s about the third time you’ve told me that.’ He said, ‘It’s more like five times.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m about five times short of telling you to go to hell.’”
By now, the crowd was roaring with laughter. But Haggard wasn’t through yet.
“I said, ‘Who do you think you are? You’re the son-of-a-bitch that sat at that desk over there and fired Johnny Cash. Let it go down in history that you’re the dumbest son-of-a-bitch I’ve ever met.’”
Somehow I knew that our readers would love this one!