How has country music evolved into what it is today? Did it just happen?
Nope. It’s influenced by the many artists adding their own spin to the genre. One of those artists is Dwight Yoakam — and he turned 60 years old today!
After releasing more than 21 albums, country experts consider him one of the most prolific country artists in history. Thirty of his singles have reached the Billboard Hot Country charts, he’s had five number-one albums, nine platinum albums, and one triple-platinum album.
Success he has had.
To celebrate this icon’s day of birth, here are five things you may not (but need to) know about Dwight Yoakam:
He quit college
Back in 1974, Yoakam earned a high school degree from Northland High School in Columbus, Ohio. He went on to Ohio State University where he studied philosophy for just a few years before dropping out. That’s when he moved to Nashville, Tn., to go after a life and career in music.
It was a good decision.
Nashville wasn’t welcoming, L.A. was
After moving to Nashville, Yoakam struggled to make things work. So he decided to move to Los Angeles. There, he dabbled in other genres, like rock and punk, in order to make himself more marketable and reach a wider audience. Even after he started doing really well, he continued to play rock-inspired music.
Yoakam the actor
Most people know he’s an accomplished musician, but not many people know he did alright as an actor. He’s appeared in well-known movies and TV shows. Here’s a short list:
- Wedding Crashers
- Panic Room
- King of the Hill
- Under the Dome
He caught the acting bug way back in high school at the Northland Drama Club.
He could juggle life activities
An example of Yoakam’s ability to multi-task, in 1998, he was writing the songs for his album “A Long Way Home” while at the same time filming “The Newton Boys.”
Oh, and that album is considered one of his best records. He knows how to pursue two dreams at once.
“Since the start of his music career, Dwight Yoakam has proven he’s more than just another guy with a guitar and a hat,” says IMDB. “He has risen from hot country star to being one of country music’s biggest influences. While doing that, he has also become a critically acclaimed actor.”
That famous cowboy hat
IMDB states that he’s been wearing the same cowboy hat since 1979. He bought the thing for less than $50.
He knows how to find a bargain and look good.
Bonus: he was Johnny Cash’s favorite young country artist
Here’s a conversation between Larry King and Johnny Cash.
JOHNNY CASH: My favorite male artist would be Dwight Yoakam.
KING: Good actor, too.
JOHNNY CASH: Isn’t he great?
KING: Can be a scary guy.
JOHNNY CASH: Yes.
KING: He can sing, though.
JOHNNY CASH: Oh, he’s terrific, yes.
KING: And he’s a real cowboy, you know?
JOHNNY CASH: I know he is. He is.
KING: Are you friends?
JOHNNY CASH: Yes. We’re friends.