For a songwriter who works primarily from inspiration, Merle Haggard faced one of the greatest challenges of his career in creating his 21st number one country hit “Movin’ On.” NBC had an idea for a new television series about a couple of over-the road truckers who get into all sorts of adventures while traveling the country hauling their freight. It was to be called “Movin’ On.” The show’s producers commissioned Merle to write a theme song for it, which would force him to adapt his songwriting skills to someone else’s work.
Haggard accepted the deal knowing that he would be facing a different kind of pressure than he was used to. The television show’s executives had paid him half the money up front. The other half would come if Merle was able to deliver the song. All composers have their own way of doing things and Haggard’s method of writing was to take an original idea that either he thought of, or a comment that he would hear someone say, and build a set of lyrics around it. With the television project, Merle would be taken out of his usual songwriting element.