Country Music Memories: Yoakam Earns Hollywood Walk of Fame Star


Eighteen years ago today, on June 5, 2003, Dwight Yoakam was honored for his extraordinary music and acting careers with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Yoakam first moved to Los Angeles, Calif., in the late 1970s, as much for the musical influences of artists such as Clarence White, the Byrds and Gram Parsons as for the TV and film opportunities. It was while in the City of Angels that Yoakam found his signature honky-tonk sound, blending the country music he loved with the rock ‘n’ roll sounds that were permeating the airwaves.

Buck Owens and Earl Scruggs, both of whom already had stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, joined Yoakam for his star presentation ceremony.

“It’s a long way from Pikeville, Ky., huh?” Yoakam said from behind the podium, addressing his mother, before thanking Owens, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Merle Haggard and the Monkees, among others. He then personally addressed his good friend, Emmylou Harris, who “in an immediate sense drew me … to the West Coast.”

In addition to his numerous chart-topping albums and dozens of industry awards, including two Grammys, Yoakam had already started in several blockbuster films by the time he earned his place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The tunesmith had appeared in Sling Blade, The Newton Boys and Panic Room, along with the TV movies Roswell and When Trumpets Fade, among others. Still, it’s his iconic music career that Yoakam remained the most focused on during his speech.

“I’ve been really fortunate,” Yoakam said. “Even to have had the opportunity to have a record deal was something monumental, and obviously to have finally been signed to a recording contract by a major label, and then to actually have records become hits and sell millions and millions of records, that in and of itself is enough success to hold me for the rest of my life.”

This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.

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