steThere’s four gifted country singers out there with Merle Haggard’s genes. Longtime fans already know about Marty and Noel, two sons from the Hag’s marriage to Leona Hobbs (1956-1964). Lately, attention received by their young half-brother Ben has kept the family business on fans’ minds beyond Merle’s April 6, 2016 passing. All three still play their dad’s songs, as does a lesser-known sibling named Scott.
Here’s a very brief look at the second generation of singing Haggards.
Marty Haggard (Born June 18, 1958)
Merle’s oldest son had the most prominent solo career, charting five singles on the Hot Country Songs chart between 1981-’87. Among these was a recording of “Trains Make Me Lonesome“ that pre-dates George Strait’s better-known version.
Marty survived near tragedy multiple times, getting shot by a hitchhiker years before a 1988 car wreck interrupted his singing career. Upon recovery, he focused on Christian-themed songs, eventually forming his own music ministry.
Read More: 12 Rare Gems from Merle Haggard
Noel Haggard (Born September 4, 1963)
In the late ’90s, Noel had a brief major label run with Atlantic Records, notable for a version of his dad’s “Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa” that predates George Strait’s cover. Nowadays, he provides comic relief for Ben whenever they tour together.
Scott Haggard (Born in December 1968)
A product of a relationship outside of his father’s six marriages, Scott was raised in Alabama and didn’t meet Merle until around 2005. The blue-collar truck driver and country singer is the less obvious singing son, although he looks the most like Dad and certainly sounds the part.
Ben Haggard (Born December 14, 1992)
The youngest Haggard boy took Merle’s songs, bus and band on the road following his legendary dad’s 2016 passing. That backstory alone makes Ben the most visible Haggard heir. Plus, he’s the best singer of the bunch. Expect him to start adding original material into his set, which currently consists of his dad’s songs and a handful of classic country covers.