Country’s Best Country Drinking Songs, No. 18: Merle Haggard, ‘The Bottle Let Me Down’
Cheers-worthy lines: "I've always had a bottle I could turn to / And lately I've been turnin' every day."
Merle Haggard wrote and recorded "The Bottle Let Me Down" and it was released in August 1966 as the second single from Swinging Doors.
In the song, Haggard is singing about a former lover--one he misses fiercely, to the point that no amount of libations can numb the ever-increasing pain. "I've always had a bottle I could turn to / And lately I've been turnin' every day / But the wine don't take effect the way it used to / And I'm hurtin' in old familiar ways," he poignantly sings.
Personally, Haggard has experienced his share of troubles from turning to the bottle. The outlaw country singer, a troublemaker since he was a kid, was put behind bars for a drunken attempted robbery in the late '50s, and was busted for brewing his own beer in jail. After caught drunk in jail, he was sent to solitary confinement for a week. It wasn't until one of his inmates was executed that Haggard decided to turn his life around.
"The Bottle Let Me Down" goes to show that when you're experiencing heartache, even the strongest drink every single day can't affect the pain in your heart. Sometimes, it just takes good old-fashioned time.