The Story Behind The Song: “You Take Me For Granted” – Merle Haggard & Leona Williams

Initially, Leona thought this career move would help expand her audience, but it led to even more. Her marriage to Haggard was a rocky one, and she wrote “You Take Me For Granted” during one of her many periods of frustration. Williams insisted that every line in the song was true. They had two buses when on tour. Merle and Leona were supposed to be on one bus and the band in the other, but Merle spent most of his time on the band’s bus playing video games. Leona spent most of her time alone, called upon now and then to get something for the band (sandwiches or whatever). She was basically serving as an “assistant” and wrote the tune during her long hours of boredom on the bus by herself.

Haggard never heard the song, though, until a recording session at the Woodland Sound Studio in Nashville. Between takes, Merle was trying to make a decision about what tune to record next, and Williams began playing “You Take Me For Granted.” He decided on the spot to cut it. It’s unclear if Merle ever realized the song was written about his and Leona’s situation, or if he just felt it was a good song.

“You Take Me For Granted” was one of two tracks from the Woodland session included on the “Going Where The Lonely Go” album, and it followed the title track to number one on Billboard’s country singles chart May 28, 1983.


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