Saturday, May 7, 2022
– Mickey Gilley, who had numerous country chart toppers and was the inspiration for the film "Urban Cowboy," died today a 86 in Branson, Mo. from complications due to a recent hospitalization.
Gilley had just come off of the road, having played 10 shows in April in Branson, Mo.. He passed peacefully with his family and close friends by his side.
During his career, Gilley scored 17 number one hits including "Room Full Of Roses," "City Lights," "Window Up Above," "Don't The Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time," "Bring It On Home To Me," "Stand By Me" and "Lonely Nights"
Born in Natchez, Miss. on March 9 1936, Gilley was exposed to music at an early age and chased a career in music following in the footsteps of his older cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis. Gilley, Lewis, and their cousin, Jimmy Swaggart, played together as children. After deciding to pursue music full time, Gilley cut his first single in New Orleans under producer Huey Meaux.
Gilley's "Call Me Shorty" on the Dot label sold well in 1958. Paula Records released Gilley's first album, "Down the Line," in 1967 with the single "Now I Can Live Again" reaching 68 on the Billboard chart.
In 1970, he opened Gilley's, his first nightclub in Pasadena, Texas. Later, in 1980, Gilley's was featured in the movie "Urban Cowboy" starring John Travolta and Debra Winger. He went on to star in numerous popular television series including "Murder She Wrote," "The Fall Guy," "Fantasy Island" and "Dukes of Hazzard."
In 1974, Gilley would score his first number one with "Room Full of Roses," the first of four consecutive number one country songs.
From 1974-86, only three of 35 songs released as singles by Gilley did not make the top 10. He played a mixture of honky-tonk and countrypolitan.
Around the time of "Urban Cowboy," the country sound was changing to more of a pop direction, and Gilley followed suit.
But his success declined. His last Top 40 country hit, "She Reminded Me of You," came in 1988, reaching 23.
In 1989, Gilley was one of the first major country singers to open his own theater in Branson, which eventually became a country music mecca.
Gilley earned six ACM Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011. He was one of only a handful of artists to receive the Academy of Country Music's Triple Crown Awards.