Few songs are more heart wrenching, and downright sad than "Sing Me Back Home". It's no secret that Merle Haggard had a troubled life previous to becoming one of the biggest stars in country music. By the time Merle was thirteen years of age, he was put away in Juvenile Detention Centers where he would escape just to be picked up, and locked up again.
By the time Merle was 18, he was sent to the maximum security prison San Quentin to serve 15 years. He was not allowed out of his cell in the evening due to his reputation as an escapist. They were right because Merle was already on to a plot some inmates had to break out of the prison.
But his cell mate talked him out of it. He said Merle shouldn't jeopardize his future. He believed in Merle's talent. He sat the attempt out, but his cellmate James "Rabbit" Kendrick,
did not. Rabbit ended up killing a police officer, and was captured, and a year after Merle's release, he was executed.
While at San Quentin, Merle also met Caryl Chessman "The Red Light Bandit". Caryl was not your ordinary convict. His IQ was rumored to be over 130. Chessman, one could say was a celebrity.
He had penned a total of three books, which in turn helped to fund his defense. Famous artists were vocal about the unfairness of Chessman's trial. Pope John, Shirley MacLaine, and even Marlon Brando publicly supported Chessman. His story is very interesting.
Caryl Chessman | Mar. 21, 1960