Leona Williams / Merle Haggard

Genres: Country & Bluegrass
Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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Leona Belle Helton, 7 January 1943, Vienna, Missouri, USA. One of the 12 children of musical parents (all played instruments), Leona worked with the family group as a child. In 1958, she had her own show on KWOS Jefferson City. She married drummer Ron Williams in 1959 and with Leona playing bass, both worked with Loretta Lynn. In 1968, she signed for Hickory with whom she achieved three minor hits, including ‘Once More’, before moving to MCA. In 1975, she joined Merle Haggard’s show, initially as a backing vocalist. However, when Haggard divorced Bonnie Owens, she not only became the featured vocalist but on 7 October 1978, she also became the third Mrs Haggard. They combined to write several songs and recorded an album together but the marriage soon proved turbulent. In 1978, they had a number 8 US country hit with ‘The Bull And The Beaver’ but in 1983, when the marriage ended, they appeared in the charts with the appropriately named...

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