Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"If We Make It Through December" (Released October 1973)

"If we make it through December
 Everything's gonna be all right, I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the falling snow
If we make it through December
Got plans to be in a warmer town come summertime
Maybe even California
If we make it through December, we'll be fine

Got laid off down at the factory
And their timing's not the greatest in the world
Heaven knows I been working hard
Wanted Christmas to be right for daddy's girl
I don't mean to hate December
It's meant to be the happy time of year
And my little girl don't understand
Why daddy can't afford no Christmas here

If we make it through December
 Everything's gonna be all right, I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the falling snow
If we make it through December
Got plans to be in a warmer town come summertime
Maybe even California
If we make it through December, we'll be fine"

Songwriters
MERLE HAGGARD

Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

We lost the “Hag” April 6th 2016 on his 79th birthday. Legend says that a man who is born and dies on the same date is of a special kind and will have many blessings in the afterlife. The country music legend left behind a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten by any foreseeable generations. As I dissected this song line by line I was inspired by the message of hope it gives, like many of the songs Merle is known for. This is what some other folks had to say about the song back when it came out 42 years ago.

Rollingstone Magazine:
Released in October 1973, "If We Make It Through December" tells the tale of a factory worker who gets laid off shortly before the holidays and then becomes wracked with guilt over his inability to buy his daughter some "Christmas cheer." With unemployment and inflation at a record high in 1973, and both oil and steel in short supply, America was in the middle of one of its worst recessions to date. But while headlines screamed of "bear markets" and "economic indexes," Haggard's song got right to the heart of the issue: the people behind those headlines. More importantly, it mirrored the optimism that shone through the struggles: "If we make it through December, we'll be fine." All of this gave the song — which hit Number One on the country charts that December — a shelf-life that lasted well beyond the holidays.

Billboard magazine:
In the review published October 13, 1973, they wrote, "Another change of pace by Haggard, who keeps surprising with his various styles, and does so well with all. He is a complete artist. "The song spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in December 1973 and January 1974, and cracked the Top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100. "If We Make It Through December" was the No. 2 song of the year on Billboard's Hot Country Singles 1974 year-end chart.
As I researched this song I found one common thread among all of the interviews of Merle where he talked about this song; and it was this, He was a common man with a past that he wasn’t proud of, but he never gave up and when someone (Johnny Cash) saw something special in him, it turned his life around. He never became too big to admit he couldn’t have done it without some help, and through the hard times he kept holding on…. I think he would want us all to keep that same attitude, Let’s just make it through December. We’ll miss you, Merle.

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