After Merle Haggard passed away on April 6, 2016, tribute performances came pouring in from other country stars. The song that many chose to sang in his honor was “Silver Wings,” and it’s a song that people still sing for him today.
Although “Silver Wings” is now one of Haggard’s most well-known songs, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, it was never even released as a single. It was included as a track on Haggard’s chart-topping album Okie from Muskogee, and generated attention due to its inclusion on such a popular album.
The simple song tells the tale of a man who is heartbroken to see his lover leave him. He looks up at the sky at the airplane that is carrying her, and begs her not to go away. Obviously his cries go unheard, and he’s left to reflect on the sight of the “silver wings shining in the sunlight.”
Dwight Yoakam was lucky enough to develop a frienship with Haggard over the years. After Haggard’s passing, Yoakam was left to mourn and reflect on the legacy he left behind.
“To say Merle Haggard was one of the very greatest would be an inadequate understatement,” Yoakam wrote in a guest article for Rolling Stone the day after Haggard’s death. “The word ‘genius’ is used too often to describe people. But I would put Merle Haggard’s artistic genius up against anybody in history, in terms of pop culture and chronicling human experience, love and loss, and the gamut of human emotion.“
Now, over a year after Haggard’s death, Yoakam is continuing to honor his friend by playing “Silver Wings” at his shows. A fan filmed a video of Yoakam’s cover at his concert on Saturday night (July 22), and we have it here to share with you.
Yoakam’s peaceful performance placed a hush over the crowd, who listened with complete dedication. You’ll find yourself similarly swept away once you watch Yoakam sing “Silver Wings” in the video below.
Hats off to Yoakam for doing his small part to keep Haggard’s legacy alive.