Big City (Merle Haggard song)
|Single by Merle Haggard|
|from the album Big City|
|B-side||"I Think I'm Gonna Live Forever"|
|Released||January 11, 1982|
|Writer(s)||Merle Haggard and Dean Holloway|
|Merle Haggard singles chronology|
"Big City" is a song recorded by American country music singer Merle Haggard. Co-written by Haggard and Dean Holloway, the song was released in January 1982 as the second single and title track from his album Big City. In April, the song was his 27th number-one single on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
The song was inspired by a remark by Dean Holloway, Haggard's lifelong friend and tour bus driver. At the end of a packed two-day recording session at Britannia Studios in Los Angeles, Haggard went to the bus to check on Holloway, who had been minding the bus, and asked him how he was doing. Holloway responded, "I hate this place. I'm tired of this dirty old city." Haggard immediately saw inspiration, and began writing the song, based on Holloway's remark, on a nearby pad of paper. "I'm tired of this dirty old city" became the song's first line. Haggard decided that the chorus should include the narrator talking about moving elsewhere, and asked Holloway where he would rather be, to which Holloway responded, "If it were up to me, it'd be somewhere in the middle of damn Montana." "Somewhere in the middle of Montana" became part of the chorus. Haggard rushed back into the studio, where the band was packing up, and told them to unpack their instruments in order to record one last song; the band recorded the song in one take, with no rehearsal.
Haggard credited Holloway as a co-writer, entitling him to half the royalties for the song, which amounted to around half a million dollars for Holloway.
Haggard's 1981 album Big City was described by Allmusic critic, Thom Jurek, as "a collection of songs focused on the themes of freedom from urban life." The album's title track was the centerpiece of the album's recurring theme. The song, wrote Jurek, "revisits the seemingly eternal themes in Haggard's best work — the plight of the honest, decent working man amid the squalor, complication, and contradiction of urban life."
"Big City" is playing in the background at a bar during the opening scene to the 1996 film Fargo.
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||1|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||1|
- Jurek, Thom, Big City, album review at Allmusic.
- Roland, Tom, "The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits." (Billboard Books, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1991 (ISBN 0-82-307553-2)).
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 148.
- Myers, Marc (January 23, 2014). "The Fit That Led to a Country Hit for Merle Haggard". The Wall Street Journal.
by The Oak Ridge Boys
|Billboard Hot Country Singles
April 10, 1982
by Conway Twitty
|RPM Country Tracks
April 17, 1982
"Another Sleepless Night"
by Anne Murray