At the beginning of the 1980s, Merle Haggard was in a bit of a slump as a songwriter. Two different occurrences helped break that block. One was a challenge that Leona Williams unconsciously issued during their marriage. The other came from a rekindled friendship with Freddy Powers.
Haggard and Powers first became acquainted around 1961. Merle was playing music in Las Vegas at the Nashville Nevada Club as a guitarist for Wynn Stewart, while Powers was working down the street at the Showboat, opening for comedian Spike Jones. That was a few years before Haggard broke as a recording artist and they lost contact with each other until about 1980.
Another friend of Powers was Willie Nelson and one night, Freddy stopped by Willie’s house for a visit and Merle happened to be there. They visited about the old times back in Las Vegas and renewed their friendship. After that, the two began writing songs frequently. “I Always Get Lucky With You” was their first composition to see the light of day, appearing on Merle’s “Big City” album in 1981 (George Jones logged a number one hit with this song two years later). Haggard’s first Powers-written single came in 1984 with “Let’s Chase Each Other Around The Room.”
Powers was working concert dates with Haggard and they were on the bus coming down from Canada heading for the CMA show in Nashville. Freddy’s girlfriend, Sherill Rodgers, was travelling with them (she sang in the band). Rodgers said to Freddy, “When we get to Nashville, I’m gonna chase you around the room.” Well, Haggard was known to pick up on little comments like that and write a song about it and that’s just what happened this time. Merle and Freddy went to work on the tune and Sherill received one-third songwriting credit for her off-the-cuff remark.
Haggard inserted “Let’s Chase Each Other Around The Room” onto the “It’s All In The Game” album, recorded entirely at Nashville’s Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio. The session players included members of Merle’s touring band, The Strangers, augmented by Powers on rhythm guitar, Bobby Wood on keyboards and Mike Leech on bass. Both the album and the single settled into the number one position of their respective Billboard charts ten weeks after they debuted. The single landed at the top on September 22, 1984.