Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Merle Haggard, “Someday When Things are Good”

“Someday When Things are Good”

Merle Haggard

Written by Merle Haggard and Leona Williams


#1 (1 week)

June 9, 1984

The tail end of Merle Haggard’s marriage to Leona Williams leads to another No. 1 hit.

“Someday When Things are Good” is bitter on the page, though Haggard’s heartfelt vocal tempers it on the record.  This is a man promising to leave his wife once things get better.

A cynical reading suggests he’s biding his time until he doesn’t need her anymore. A warmer view suggests that he loves her so much that he’ll set her free once circumstances are better, because she’s the one trapped by the bad times.

It must have been an incredibly intense writing session for husband and wife, and Haggard is especially vulnerable on this one.  The way his voice trembles on the final line lingers in the memory.

Another highlight from his remarkable eighties run.

“Someday When Things are Good” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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1 Comment

  1. A brilliant song that is so raw and honest it is uncomfortable to listen to. All the overwhelming and painful instrumental embellishments scurrying around behind Hag’s exhausted vocals are unsettling. The entire song is tired and distraught. Merle sounds like he may break into tears at any point as he realizes the outcome of a hoped for good day is…leaving. He nearly chokes on the word and the weight of what it means.

    I recently read an article about Montreal Canadians hockey player Maurice Richard in which it was said Richard wasn’t just the Pope of French-Canadian hockey, he was God.

    Leave the earthbound matters of kingdom and country music royalty to George Strait.

    Merle Haggard is country deity above them all.

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