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Flashback: Dwight Yoakam Channels Elvis on ‘The Tonight Show’

Watch the country star perform “Little Sister,” backed by Eddy Shaver on guitar

Happy birthday to Dwight Yoakam! The singer-actor turns 58 years old today, and he’ll celebrate the occasion by playing to more than 11,000 fans in Manchester, New Hampshire, the latest stop for Yoakam, Brandy Clark and the rest of the crew that’s been crisscrossing the country as part of Eric Church’s Outsiders World Tour. (And you thought your last birthday party was cool.)

Twenty seven years ago, Yoakam was touring America for a different purpose: the promotion of his second album, 1987’s Hillbilly Deluxe. One of those tour stops brought him through Burbank, California, where Yoakam visited NBC Studios to make one of his six total appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He brought along some extra firepower for the gig, too, in the form of lead guitarist Eddy Shaver. Backed by the rest of his road band, Yoakam sang and strutted his way through Hillbilly Deluxe‘s “Little Sister,” originally a Top 5 hit for Elvis Presley in 1961.

Missing from the performance is Yoakam’s longtime producer and right-hand man, Pete Anderson, who played lead guitar on the album. With Shaver firing twin barrels of Telecaster twang and roots-rock riffage, though, it’s hard to think Yoakam’s performance as lacking anything. “Little Sister” wound up climbing to Number 7 on the Billboard charts that year, missing Elvis’ original placement by two slots, and Yoakam made many more Tonight Show appearances during Carson’s reign and beyond, becoming one of the show’s most frequent musical guests.

In This Article: Dwight Yoakam

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