This Top 10 Dwight Yoakam Songs list presents the best Dwight Yoakam Songs such as “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” “I Sang Dixie” and more. Born in Pikeville, Kentucky on October 23, 1956, Dwight Yoakam was mostly raised in Columbus, Ohio, graduating from high school in 1974. While in school, he participated in drama and music programs. In school, he led roles for different plays while outside of school he sang and played guitar with local musical groups out of the garage. When he officially began his career, it was laid out as a pop-meets-cowboy, urban-style brand of music.
At the time, it was deemed in Nashville that honky-tonk music simply wasn’t marketable. When Yoakam realized he wasn’t getting anywhere in Nashville, he relocated to Los Angeles with the intent to prove that honky-tonk music isn’t only marketable, but has more going for it than the limited mindset of industry gurus assumed. During the 1980s, Yoakam primarily performed his own written music outside traditional country music channels.
Many of his shows were featured inside various rock clubs throughout Los Angeles, which helped him diversify his audience beyond the boundaries of typical country music fans. His honky-tonk style was authentic and brought about a revival that bridged the gap between country music fans and rock music fans. Even the legend himself, Johnny Cash, cited Dwight Yoakam as his favorite country singer.
Dwight Yoakam’s pioneering contribution to the country music genre gained popularity during the mid-1980s, the era he realized his greatest success as a recording artist. His debut album, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc., was released through an independent label, Oak Records, on October 12m 1986, and earned gold certification with the Australia Recording Industry Association (ARIA). This album was later released a second time, via Reprise Records, on October 17, 2006, which added several new tracks to it.
The original release came at a time when the audience had grown tired of the urban country music, the very thing Nashville promoted, in favor of neotraditional music that was based on classic, honky-tonk styles. Yoakam’s timing was perfect, if not somewhat prophetic. Overall, Dwight Yoakam has recorded and released seventeen studio albums that have seen the first five become certified platinum at least once by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The sixth, Gone, was an October 31, 1995 release that became certified gold by the RIAA, as well as by Music Canada. He also has nine compilation albums and two live albums to his credit where he earned six more certifications, namely four from the RIAA and two from ARIA. His best-selling album was This Time, a 1993 release that earned him triple platinum with the RIAA and double platinum with Music Canada.
Top 10 Dwight Yoakam Songs
#10 – Same Old Train (featuring Dwight Yoakam, Clint Black, Joe Diffie, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless, Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs, Marty Stuart, Pam Tillis, Randy Travis, and Travis Tritt)
The collaborative performance of “Same Old Train” earned Dwight Yoakam a 1999 Grammy Award win for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. The 1998 album, Tribute to Tradition, was an album that featured many artists that each paid homage by covering some great country song classics. This was, and still is, one of the greatest tributes to good old-fashioned country music that seemed to be lovingly shared between artists as they each contributed their vocal talent to a song that has proven to be a classic in the making.
#9 – Fast as You
“Fast As You” was the third single released from Dwight Yoakam’s This Time album in 1993. It was the third time in a row one of his songs from this album peaked as high as number two on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. In Canada, it peaked as high as number five on its Country Singles chart. This served as his final top-ten single, so far, on any of the US Billboard charts.
It was, however, the second occasion Yoakam saw a hit single appear on the US Billboard Hot 100 as it charted as high as number seventy. Rockabilly at its finest, this fast-paced, toe-tapping, dance favorite of the country music scene continues to serve as one of those all-time favorites honky-tonk bars still can’t get enough of.
#8 – A Thousand Miles from Nowhere
In 1993, “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere” became the second hit single from Dwight Yoakam’s album, This Time. In addition to peaking as high as number two on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and at number three on Canada’s Country Singles chart, it also was featured in the films of Red Rock West and Chasers.
In classic, honky-tonk style, the aftermath of a broken-up relationship caused the narrator to feel a combination of apathy, sadness, loneliness, and loss. “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere” was, and still is, a favorite honky-tonk reflection on how different people deal with tricky situations in their own way.
#7 – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Queen’s mega-hit single, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” received a rockabilly twist when Dwight Yoakam covered this on his 1999 album, Last Chance for a Thousand Years: Dwight Yoakam’s Greatest Hits from the 90’s. This was also the same version that showed up in the 2006 movie, The Break-Up, which starred Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn.
The popularity of Yoakam’s version also appeared in Gap television commercials at the time the album was released. On the Canadian Country Singles chart, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” peaked at number one. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it climbed as high as number twelve and was a number sixty-four hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. Also, this single became Dwight Yoakam’s first hit in the UK as it peaked as high as number thirty-five on its official singles chart.
#6 – Guitars, Cadillacs
In 1986, his debut EP, “Guitars, Cadillacs,” positioned Dwight Yoakam for the second time on the music charts and in a big way. On the Canadian Country Singles chart, it peaked as high as number two and was a number-four hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The honky-tonk mix of bass, fiddle, and twangy guitar made this a hillbilly favorite that won over both country music fans and a series of rock fans that soaked up what they saw was a stellar introduction to rockabilly. According to many fans, “Guitars, Cadillacs” is one of Yoakam’s many signature songs that earns its rank as an all-time country classic.
#5 – Honky Tonk Man
This remake of Johnny Horton’s 1956 “Honky Tonk Man” not only served as one of the first of two hit singles for Dwight Yoakam in 1986 but as the first country music video to appear on MTV. This began a new trend that bridged a wide gap between country music fans and rock music fans, thus creating a rockabilly movement that swept over the urban country music that seemed to have overstayed its welcome at this time.
This first-person lyrical tale described the life of dancing and drinking with young women in honky-tonk establishments, seeming to suggest compulsive, if not addictive, qualities of the narrator’s lifestyle choice. Yoakam’s version saw this single become a number one hit on the Canadian Country Singles Chart and a number three hit on the US Hot Country Songs chart. It also served as a key element to Yoakam’s 1986 win as Academy of Country Music Awards’ Top New Male Vocalist.
#4 – Readin’, Rightin’, Route 23
“Readin’, Rightin’, Route 23” was Dwight Yoakam’s musical homage to his childhood move from Kentucky as this is a local expression that described the route rural Kentuckians took to find work outside of the coal mines. U.S. Route 23 runs north from Kentucky, through Ohio’s Columbus and Toledo, then through to the automotive centers in Michigan. As opposed to the school standard of the three-Rs of “Readin’, Ritin’, and “Rithmetic,” it’s “Readin’, Rightin’, Route 23.”
#3 – I Sang Dixie
“I Sang Dixie” was Dwight Yoakam’s second number one hit in his career, which came from his album, Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room. Just like the first single that came from this same album, “I Sang Dixie” topped the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and the Canadian Country Singles chart in 1988. The subject of this song revolved around the description of a man that came from the American south dying on one of the streets of Los Angeles.
In the tale, the dying words of the man to the narrator is to return to the south before the life of a cruel California city has done to him. In this song, Yoakam stood by the man and sang “Dixie” while the rest of the people merely walked by and ignored what was going on.
#2 – Streets of Bakersfield (featuring Buck Owens)
For Dwight Yoakam, the opportunity to perform a duet with his idol, Buck Owens, served as more than just a dream come true. “Streets of Bakersfield,” a Buck Owens 1973 original, peaked at number one, the first in Yoakam’s career, on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It also peaked as high as number one on the Canadian Country Singles chart.
This came from his third studio album, Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room, which was released in 1988. For Buck Owens, this collaboration with Yoakam surged the popularity of his song even further than his original release, which also brought him a new breed of fans he didn’t have before. The inspiration for this song came to Owens while walking around the town of Bakersfield, California, which resulted in him getting blisters on his feet.
#1 – Ain’t That Lonely Yet
In 1994, Dwight Yoakam’s “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” earned him a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, the single peaked as high as number two and was a number one hit on Canada’s Country Singles chart. Yoakam’s honky-tonk tale featured him leaving his lover due to the drama she put him through, making it clear to her he’s not lonely enough yet to go back to her. This single came from his album, This Time, which contributed to its overall success as a multi-platinum seller, as well as a Grammy Award winner.
Photo: SD Dirk, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Dwight Yoakam Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at end of article.