Keith Urban’s on a mission to give Merle Haggard his first #1 since the 80’s: "It’s just about time, I say!"

ABC/Randy HolmesEven though Keith Urban grew up in Australia, Merle Haggard’s music was such a part of his formative years that it inspired his latest hit, “Coming Home” -- the song kicks off with a sample of Merle’s classic “Mama Tried.”

And as the second single from Graffiti U nears the top of the chart, the Aussie is particularly excited that it could give the late Country Music Hall of Famer his first trip to the top of the chart since 1987.

“I grew up with so much of his music in our house. And that particular song, 'Mama Tried,' that this guitar lick is taken from, is just so deep in my DNA. So the idea that Hag may get another number one song -- his first since the eighties -- is just about time, I say!”

For his contribution to “Coming Home,” Merle Haggard is listed as one of the composers of the song.

“He's the writer of writers, right there,” Keith says. “Every writer I know in Nashville loves Merle. And I'm especially grateful to [his widow] Theresa Haggard and [son] Ben Haggard, who both gave the blessing for this lick being used in this song, and Merle being a writer on 'Coming Home.'”

Pop star Julia Michaels also co-wrote and sings on “Coming Home.”

Merle Haggard took 34 songs to the top of the country chart through the years, with the final one being 1987’s “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star.” He passed away in 2016, on his 79th birthday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Check Also

Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock You can tune in to watch for Rascal Flatts' performance on the 49th Annual GMA Dove Awards Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on TBN. Billy Ray Cyrus is set to play Saturday's Party at the Polls concert at Ascend Amphithe...