On this day, Dec. 24, in 1957, a young Merle Haggard landed in a Bakersfield, Calif., jail for an attempted robbery of a tavern.
Haggard, 20, was sent to San Quentin State Prison, where he saw Johnny Cash perform. The concert had a profound effect on Haggard.
After Haggard's release three years later, he started recording. He soon was scoring on the country music charts with the "Bakersfield sound" that he and others developed.
Haggard classics include "Okie From Muskogee," "The Fightin' Side of Me," "If We Make It Through December" and "Mama Tried."
In 2010, the Kennedy Center honored Haggard with its award for lifetime achievement and "outstanding contribution to American culture."