Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Merle Haggard, “Natural High”

“Natural High”

Merle Haggard

Written by Freddy Powers  


#1 (1 week)

June 8, 1985

Merle Haggard has such a rich catalog that it’s easy for a song like “Natural High” to get lost in the shuffle.

But what a beautiful song this is, heightened by an absolutely gorgeous harmony track from Janie Fricke that deserved a billing credit.  Her warmth envelops Haggard’s lead vocal, and validates the sentiment of support that the lyric provides.

It’s hard to believe that after three No. 1 singles from It’s All in the Game, we won’t see Haggard again until 1988. The years in between include “Kern River,” one of his all-time greatest singles that we unfortunately won’t get to right about.

Still, forgotten gems like “Natural High” are a real pleasure to discover.  It’s every bit as good as his best work of the decade, and it was a damn good decade for him.

“Natural High” gets an A


Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

Previous:  Exile, “She’s a Miracle” |

Next: Lee Greenwood, “Dixie Road”

Open in Spotify


  1. I really enjoy this one. I would say it’s one of Haggard’s most soulful performances. Really enjoy the way Janie’s voice floats around Haggard’s. Merle was master of craft vocally.

  2. I swear this track was on a Janie Fricke album I had back in the day but I can’t remember which. But she certainly does sing on it enough for it to qualify as featuring, if not a duet (not that I’m really sure of the difference there most of the time). It is a beautiful song.

  3. If you were dealing country music poker, playing a hand of Haggard’s ’80’s hits alone would assure you a royal flush.

    This song is spectacular, tender, and gorgeous.

    I wish Haggard and Fricke had recorded more songs together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.