Merle shared a close relationship with both artists that goes back for years. Marty credits Merle’s music, and particularly his tribute albums to Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills, for being a great influence on his own career.
“That inspired me to live an entire life like I’ve lived it,” Marty said. “I still think it was one of the boldest, most unselfish moves he could have made.“
Connie knew Merle for over four decades, and he was the one who placed the medallion around her neck when she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
When Connie learned that Merle wanted her to sing at his funeral, she felt incredibly honored to pay tribute to her dear friend in such a way. “It’s a privilege,” she said. “He was a real friend, and we loved him dearly.“
As Merle’s close friends, both Connie and Marty performed with him over the years. You can watch each of them sing with “The Hag” in the two videos below.
We’ll be keeping all of Merle’s family and friends in our prayers.