Music Friday: Dwight Yoakam Uses Gems to Illustrate the Magnitude of His Heartache

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you terrific tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Dwight Yoakam performs “If Teardrops Were Diamonds,” a song that uses precious gemstones to illustrate the magnitude of his heartache.

Written by Yoakam and sung as a duet with music-industry legend Willie Nelson, the song paints a vivid picture of highways paved with diamonds, mountains formed by rubies and the whole world colored by emeralds.

Yoakam’s diamond verse goes like this: “If teardrops were diamonds / And only mine were used / They could pave every highway / Coast to coast / And not be close to through / If teardrops were diamonds / Cold blue.”

In the second verse, Nelson sings about rubies: “If heartaches were rubies / Stacked up just like stones / There would be a mountain / Ten miles high / Built by mine alone/ If heartaches were rubies / Mine alone.”

Yoakam and Nelson share the third verse about emeralds: “If sad thoughts were emeralds / And with not counting / In between / Just half the ones / I’ve had today / Could turn / The whole world green.”

“If Teardrops Were Diamonds” appeared as the eighth track on Yoakam’s 13th studio album, Population Me. Although the song was never released as a single, the album did well, reaching #8 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

Born in Pikesville, Ky., in 1956, to a key-punch operator mom and a gas station owner dad, Dwight David Yoakam was raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he sang and played guitar with local garage bands. He attended Ohio State University, but dropped out to pursue a music career in Los Angeles.

Today, Yoakam can claim 16-time Grammy nominations, 12 gold albums, nine platinum albums and more than 25 million records sold. He also has the distinction of being the most frequent musical guest in the history of The Tonight Show.

Yoakam is touring this summer, with stops in California, Nevada, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Please check out the audio clip of Yoakam and Nelson performing “If Teardrops Were Diamonds.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“If Teardrops Were Diamonds”
Written by Dwight Yoakam. Performed by Dwight Yoakam, featuring Willie Nelson.

If teardrops were diamonds
And only mine were used
They could pave every highway
Coast to coast

And not be close to through
If teardrops were diamonds
Cold blue
If heartaches were rubies
Stacked up just like stones
There would be a mountain
Ten miles high
Built by mine alone
If heartaches were rubies
Mine alone
You might begin to understand
The price that love has to pay
For being wrong

If sad thoughts were emeralds
And with not counting
In between
Just half the ones
I’ve had today
Could turn
The whole world green
If sad thoughts were emeralds
And the world turned green

You might just
Get the message that
There’s more to loneliness
Than can be seen
If teardrops were diamonds
And only mine were used…

Credit: Image by dirkhansen [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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