Sixty-four-year-old Dwight Yoakam has released a stunning forty-six singles in his prolific career. Since his debut in 1985, the singer-songwriter has consistently created excellent country music and toured throughout five decades. Dwight is well known for pioneering his own style of country music, and his song Crazy Little Thing Called Love is a part of popular culture history. A lot has changed in almost fifty years, but great classic music is forever. Here are the top ten Dwight Yoakam songs of all time.
10. What Do You Know About Love
What Do You Know About Love is the second single from Yoakam’s 2000 album Tomorrow’s Sounds Today. This song peaked at number twenty-six on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks. The singer seems to be questioning a potential lover to see if they understand where his heart is at when it comes to love.
9. Suspicious Minds
Suspicious Minds is probably one of Dwight’s most often played songs, coming second only to Crazy Little Thing Called Love. The song is from his 1992 Honeymoon in Vegas album, and it made the top fifty on the Billboard charts in December of that year. We’ve included it on the list even though the original singer, Elvis, popularized a different version of this incredible tune sixteen years before Yoakam covered it. The Young Cannibals also did a well-known cover of this song in 1985.
8. Nothing’s Changed Here
Losing a lover is never easy. Whether it’s a breakup or a more tragic event, it can feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Nothing’s Changed Here is about falling into that loop. The singer remembers how it felt to sleep next to someone he loves, and every day he wakes up to the same sad reality without them.
7. Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose
Forgetting about an ex is a common thread among many of Dwight’s songs. In Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose, he is headed to his favorite honky-tonk bar to do a little drinking and find some comfort in the music there. The familiar surroundings and loud music are meant to help, but he worries that it won’t be enough, and he may break down in tears and call another woman by ‘her’ name while they dance.
6. Always Late With Your Kisses
There’s more than one type of torment in love. You can yearn for someone you lost or who broke your heart, long for anyone when you’re alone, be miserable but afraid to leave, or you can be in a relationship that always feels like you’re waiting on a partner you want to be with. The last of these is the subject of Always Late With Your Kisses. He laments, “How long do you think that I can wait when you know you’re always late. Always late with your kisses. Why, oh why do you want to do me this way?”
5. You’re The One
Respecting yourself and your own needs after a breakup can be difficult. It feels like a loss even when the relationship was terrible when you let go of the love and connection. In You’re The One, Dwight sings about the one who wants to come back, but he doesn’t want to get back together.
4. Guitars Cadillacs
You can sum up Guitars Cadillacs in one word; jaded. This is an angry anthem for a former lover and dreamer who is still furious and heartbroken over the cruelty of a woman. He finds no real joy in life except for guitars and Cadillacs, but it’s not the same as when he was naive.
3. I Ain’t That Lonely Yet
Dealing with a broken heart is rough at the best of times. However, when your ex calls and tells you that they’re all alone, it’s easy to slip right back into an unhealthy pattern. In I Ain’t That Lonely Yet, Dwight sings about holding on to his self-worth and pride by refusing to give in to heartbreak, and he does not go back to the one who caused him pain. According to The Tennessean, “Songwriter Kostas Lazarides — known professionally as Kostas — says it was a “direct shadow” of events in his own life. He brought the idea to his frequent collaborator James House, and he says it didn’t take long for them to complete the song, a future Grammy and CMA award winner.”
2. I Sang Dixie
I Sang Dixie is more than a number one hit from 1988. This unusual song is about the Civil War. The singer is talking about watching a vagabond die on the streets of Los Angeles. He is singing to comfort him as other people pass by, oblivious and uncaring. Although the Civil War was long before Yoakam was born, the west coast cowpunk is very familiar with LA and clearly feels connected to the city’s history.
1. Honky Tonk Man
Honky Tonk Man was Dwight Yoakam’s debut single back in 1985. The original song that began his long and storied career as a singer, actor, and songwriter deserves a special place on our list, so we’re putting it first. Moreover, according to A Taste of Country, the video for Honky Tonk Man was the first-ever country music video to air on MTV. That was a huge deal back when Music Television played music all day, and it was about the only way to see music videos other than buying them on VHS tapes.
With nine platinum albums (one of those even reached triple platinum status), there is a lot of excellent Dwight Yoakam music to enjoy. Narrowing down this list to just the ten best seems almost unfair, considering thirty of his hits charted on the billboards and a full five of his albums were number one. If you’re going to listen to country, you need to add Dwight Yoakam to your playlist. Not only did he create a new style of music, but he’s one of the most prolific voices in country music over the last five decades.