PLATINUM PARTNERS

Flashback: Aug. 31, 1984

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard proved their reputations as fast workers when they recorded their duet album, Pancho & Lefty, in 1983. The two legends completed the album in a mere five days, mainly by working when the rest of Music Row was sleeping. They were certainly no strangers to nights that stretched into mornings -- and Merle remembers recording the title track a bit bleary-eyed and sleep deprived.

"Willie had this song and it seemed like it was a half-mile long. It had more words than any song I'd seen in my life," recalls Merle with a grin.

"It was about 4 in the morning -- I'd been asleep about an hour and was completely bushed. I figured I'd learn my part in the morning," Merle continues. "But Willie said, 'No, let's do it now,' and I remember thinking that we'd have to do it over because I couldn't get my bearings. But we never had to."

Burning the post-midnight oil definitely paid off. Pancho & Lefty was released in early 1983, and on Aug. 31, 1984, the album was certified platinum, marking sales of one million copies. Twenty years later, it remains one of country's most famous and best-loved collaborations.

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