The Story Behind The Song: “Natural High” – Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard

When “Natural High” swung into the top position of Billboard’s country singles chart on June 8, 1985, it represented Merle Haggard ’s 52nd week at the summit during his career – the equivalent of a full year of number ones!

The singer/songwriter didn’t write his own hit in this instance. Instead, it came from his friend Freddy Powers. Visiting Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Ranch in Texas, Powers started writing “Natural High” after a simple phone call to his girlfriend.

Freddy’s girlfriend, a jazz vocalist named Debbie DeFazio, was an “upbeat” type of person and he commented about that as he talked to her on the phone. He said, “You’re always on a natural high.” Well, the description triggered an idea for a song and Powers wrote it down on a piece of paper.

He composed the tune during his flight to Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where he was meeting Haggard. When Merle heard “Natural High” for the first time, he told Freddy, “That’s a number one song right there.”

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