In a new interview, Dwight Yoakam reveals the surprising connection between him and two of rock and roll’s most legendary artists.
During a recent chat with the Orange County Register, Yoakam recalled a conversation he had with David Bowie, who passed away after a secret battle with cancer on Jan. 10. The rock icon explained to Yoakam that he had called up Elvis Presley six months before his death in 1977 and discussed producing his next album.
“That was based on Elvis having heard Bowie’s Golden Years, and I thought ‘Oh my God, it’s a tragedy that he was never able to make that,’” Yoakam explained. “I couldn’t even imagine 1977 David Bowie producing Elvis. It would have been fantastic. It has to be one of the greatest tragedies in pop music history that it didn’t happen, one of the biggest missed opportunities.”
During this time period, Bowie transitioned out of performing as his controversial character “the Thin White Duke”, and began an era known as the “Berlin years”. During this time, he explored a more electronic and reflective sound that still inspires artists today.
Although many people probably wouldn’t expect Yoakam to cite Bowie as a big influence, the country crooner says he was taken by the English artist’s ability to constantly craft something completely original and innovative.
“He was an artist all the way until the end, purely and truly in every sense of the word. He should be an inspiration for all musical artists,” the 59-year-old singer-songwriter said. “He showed a lot of respect to the audience and was grateful for the gift that the artists are given in being able to make music and continue to have the opportunity to express themselves, of course in David’s case, to a massive and wide audience. It’s a lesson in just remembering to be grateful.”