Merle Haggard celebrated the 25th anniversary of his first appearance in Billboard during the last week of 1988. Earlier in the year, “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star” became his 38th and final number one single in that lengthy period of time.
At the time of that record’s release, the Strangers’ steel player Norm Hamlet noted: “Early on, Merle’s voice was higher and he sang songs in a higher key. I think now that he’s mellowed, he’s actually better. We’ve lowered the keys, some of them, and he seems to have more body, more quality. He’s always had that, but it just seems to come out better now.”
Haggard tested his range in “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star,” displaying a bit of doo-wop influence in a record that contained a rather unusual trumpet solo. Merle wrote the song on his houseboat at a time when his frequent co-writer, Freddy Powers, was convalescing from a cold on his own houseboat on Lake Shasta.