Freddy Powers, a longtime songwriting partner of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, died Tuesday after a 12-year-long fight with Parkinson’s disease. He was 84 years old.

Musician Freddy Powers, seated, is surrounded by other musicians as he performs some of his original songs for the audience at the Poodie Locke Picnic at the Backyard. 2009 photo by Larry Kolvoord/American-Statesman

Powers co-wrote many of Haggard’s No. 1 hits, including “Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room” and “Natural High.” He also co-produced Willie Nelson’s platinum-selling 1981 album “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Here he is with both of them at Austin City Limits in 1984:


Powers was Haggard’s rhythm guitarist for more than 20 years. He even lived with Haggard for a time in California, where the two of them took up residence on houseboats on Lake Shasta, partying and writing songs. One of the results of this period was Haggard’s “A Friend in California.”

Powers was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004. After his diagnosis, he  started the Freddy Powers Parkinson Organization, which gives financial support to Texans who are also dealing with the disease.