While picking Dwight Yoakam songs for this list, we made sure to include a fair share of tunes that showcased his devotion for the past, at the same time presenting an artist who never holds back from showing his edge.
Born in Kentucky but raised in Ohio, Yoakam moved to Nashville during the time the town was leaning toward pop-urban-cowboy music and had no interest in his brand of hip honky tonk music. Yet, the singer worked towards bringing his brand forward, which he calls “hillbilly.” He continued penning his own songs and never stopped performing beyond the traditional country music channels.
To say that Dwight Yoakam had a pretty impressive career is truly an understatement. So, without further ado, let’s take a look back at some of his best hits.
1. “Guitars, Cadillacs”
Released as the partial title track off his debut album, the song set Yoakam’s path to stardom. “Guitars, Cadillacs” landed at No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart – courtesy of its vintage sounds, blending honky-tonk guitar and incredible fiddle.
2. “Ain’t That Lonely Yet”
“Ain’t That Lonely Yet” is a story of a woman desperately trying to win back her former lover with phone calls and notes she leaves on his door helped Yoakam earn his first Grammy Award, taking home Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
It’s written by the famous songwriter Kostas, who revealed that the song is a “direct shadow” of events in his own life.
3. “Streets of Bakersfield”
In 1988, Yoakam teamed up with Buck Owens to sing about a man’s journey to Bakersfield. “Streets of Bakersfield” became Yoakam’s first No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, while it’s Owen’s first chart-topping song in sixteen years.
4. “Honky-Tonk Man”
Released as Yoakam’s debut single, “Honky-Tonk Man,” finds the singer detailing his lifestyle filled with drinking and prancing with young women in honky-tonk bars. It charted for 24 weeks on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, peaking at No. 3.
5. “I Sang Dixie”
Yoakam once made a clever commentary on how society often ignores the most defenseless populations as he described meeting a man in “I Sang Dixie,” who is sadly dying on the street in Los Angeles. He sings the Southern classic “Dixie” to soothe him as he dies.
6. “Fast as You”
Yoakam also made early attempts in the punk rock scene through “Fast as You” – which peaked No. 2 in Billboard’s Hot Country chart, making his last top 10 on the said chart.
7. “Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose”
Isn’t it crazy how a former lover’s memory seems to get stuck in our head for the rest of our lives? Yoakam finds the solution to such a dilemma by heading to his favorite honky tonk, requesting that the music be turned on with the volume up as it’s the only way to forget his old flame.
8. “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere”
Yoakam definitely knows the aftermath of a failed relationship like the back of his hand. And he sings about it in this poignant song about a man who feels miserable, lonesome, and lost after a breakup.
9. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
Yoakam included a cover of this love ballad on his 1999 album. In addition to peaking at No. 12 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, his version of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was also used in a TV commercial for the clothing retailer Gap.
10. “You’re the One”
“You’re the One” is another country hit for Yoakam, which he wrote and recorded in 1991. It tells the tale of a man who was once poorly treated by his woman. Unfortunately, the tables have turned for her.
11. “Nothing’s Changed Here”
Yoakam co-wrote the song with country songwriter Kostas. Though it only peaked at No. 15 in the United States, it became Yoakam’s biggest hit in Canada – reaching No. 2 on the RPM country singles chart.
12. “Second Hand Heart”
Three decades after his debut song, “Second Hand Heart” still rings Yoakam’s instantly recognizable twang, which was combined with infectious guitar riffs and a swaggering beat.
13. “Things Change”
Yoakam detailed how his perspective on a former relationship has changed over time as the pain started to heal a bit – and he pulled it off beautifully.
14. “Baby Don’t Go”
Yoakam also cut Sonny & Cher’s “Baby Don’t Go” as a duet with Sheryl Crow, and the 1964 hit gained some renewed visibility three decades later.
15. “Suspicious Minds”
Originally recorded by Elvis Presley, “Suspicious Minds” became one of Dwight Yoakam’s greatest hits – whose version was included in the soundtrack of the romantic comedy film Honeymoon in Vegas.
Check Out Some More of Dwight Yoakam Songs That Show He’s Truly One of A Kind
Yoakam’s country hits definitely stood the test of time. Here are some more of our favorites.
The singer had indeed covered a wide variety of music, making it difficult to choose the best Dwight Yoakam songs among the rest.