Fightin' Sides

Peter La Chapelle

in Proud to Be an Okie

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248885
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940000 | DOI:
Fightin' Sides

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Local country music was never entirely dominated by the politics of the Right, and indeed, by Merle Haggard's era, new strains of political thought had begun to influence performers and fans. In an attempt to highlight this complexity, this chapter examines the phenomenon surrounding a single hit song, Haggard's “Okie from Muskogee,” exploring its polarizing effect on country music politics and its contribution to reviving Okie identification and Okie pride in Southern California. The discussion focuses on the reactions of audiences, showing the competing ways listeners and musicians have interpreted and used this enigmatic Vietnam War-era song.

Keywords: Merle Haggard; country music; music politics; Okie from Muskogee; Vietnam War

Chapter.  11635 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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