In 1988, Dwight Yoakam released “I Sang Dixie” as the second single from his album Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room.
The song became Yoakam’s second No. 1 hit as it ranked atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Meanwhile, Rolling Stone listed the country classic as one of the 40 Saddest Country Songs of All Time – where it sits at No. 26.
An Unashamed Heartstring Tugger
Written by Dwight Yoakam himself, “I Sang Dixie” tells the story of a Southern man who met a stranger in his last moment of life on the streets of Los Angeles. The Southern man stopped by and cried as he held the old man’s hand while others just simply walked by. He then sang him “Dixie” – a song about the Southern United States that was first heard in 1859 – to comfort him as he breathed his last breath.
The stranger, who happened to be a rebel during the Civil War, used his remaining strength to give the Southern man a piece of advice. “Listen to me, son, while you still can. Run back home to that Southern land,” the dying man said, adding that his life in Los Angeles should serve as a lesson to avoid the same fate.
Interestingly, Yoakam first recorded the sorrowful ballad in 1981 as a demo version. It can be found on his boxed set Reprise Please, Baby, which was released in 2002.
Truly, Dwight Yoakam songs are sure-enough to hit you in the feels. You can listen to “I Sang Dixie” by Dwight Yoakam by playing the video below.