HomeNewsCountry Music Legend Mickey Gilley who Inspired "Urban Cowboy" Dies at 86

Country Music Legend Mickey Gilley who Inspired “Urban Cowboy” Dies at 86

Mickey Leroy Gilley, the country music hitmaker and piano player, whose Texas club inspired the movie “Urban Cowboy” took his last breath yesterday. The “Room Full of Roses” star passed away at 86 on Saturday at a hospital in Branson, Mo.

The World has Lost a Gem…

Mickey Gilley’s publicist, Zach Farnum, announced his death but did not cite a cause. The Mayor of Pasadena, Texas, Jeff Wagner also released a statement saying that Mickey Leroy Gilley had died on Saturday while “surrounded by his loved ones”. Gilley was the first cousin of both rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis and television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart.

Mickey’s management at 117 Entertainment Group confirmed his death stating that the musician had recently completed a road tour, performing in ten shows through April. Gilley was the man behind the football stadium-sized honky tonk Gilley’s Club, which inspired the hit John Travolta film Urban Cowboy in 1980.

About Mickey Lorey Gilley

Mickey Leroy Gilley was born in Natchez, Mississippi. For many years, Gilley lived in the shadow of his famous cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis, a successful rock and roll singer and musician in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Growing up in Louisiana across the Mississippi River, Lewis taught Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart his piano style. Lewis and Jimmy sang Boogie-Woogie and gospel music but Gilley did not become a professional singer until Lewis hit the top of the charts in the 50s.

Gilley started with a few singles and played sessions in New Orleans. His record “Call me Shorty” sold well in 1958 and the 60s Gilley was playing at many clubs and bars. Paula Records released his first album “Down the Line: in 1967.

In 1970, Gilley opened his first nightclub in Pasadena, Texas, called Gilley’s Club. This club later came to be known as the “world’s biggest honky-tonk. Gilley’s Club and its mechanical bull were portrayed in the 1980 film, Urban Cowboy, which became a major hit.

Mickey Gilley is considered one of the most successful country music artists of all time. His biggest hits include “Room Full of Roses”. “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time” and a remake of the Soul hit “Stand by Me”.

Gilley placed around 39 records in the Country Top Ten during his two decades on the Billboard Country Music charts. In 2017, Gilley was awarded the Key to the City of Winchester, Virginia, by the Hon. David Smith at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music’s Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre at Bonnie Blue’s Roadhouse Classic Concert.

Gilley’s Personal Life

Gilley married Geraldine Garrett in 1953 when he was 17 years old and divorced her in 1961. They shared three children of his four children (Keith Ray, Michael and Kathy). Gilley’s second wife was Vivian McDonald. They have a son Gregory.

Gilley’s ex-wife Geraldine died in 2010 while Vivian died in 2019. His children Kathy and Keith are also musicians. Mickey married his longtime friend Cindy Loeb in 2020 in Branon. He died yesterday surrounded by his children and his wife Cindy.

In 2020, Pasadena, Texas, renamed a road in honour of Mickey Gilley: Mickey Gilley Boulevard. The country music legend passed away yesterday leaving behind a rich legacy for his fans. You will always be missed, Mickey!

I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.


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