The Life And Legacy Of Country Star Mickey Gilley:

Written By BlabberBuzz | Wednesday, 11 May 2022 16:45
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Country music legend and "Urban Cowboy" star Mickey Gilley has passed away at the age of 86, according to Jeff Wagner, the mayor of Pasadena, Texas, where the singer's famous nightclub, Gilley's, is located.

His publicist confirmed in a statement, Gilley died in Branson, Missouri, and Wagner wrote in a Facebook post that "Pasadena has lost a true legend," "Mickey Gilley passed away today, surrounded by his loved ones. It was my great honor to know this man most of my life," Wagner noted. In addition to owning Gilley's, which he launced in 1971 after moving to Pasadena, Gilley had 42 singles in the Top 40 country charts over two decades, Wagner noted.

"His talent and larger-than-life personality helped ignite a new interest in country music as he introduced the world to Pasadena through his dance hall and 'Urban Cowboy' in 1980," the mayor said. "We were so honored to have Mickey perform at our State of the City in February 2020. Our prayers for comfort and peace are with Mickey’s family, his loved ones, and his fans."

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Gilley, who grew up in Mississippi, kicked off his musical career in 1957, grew up making music, and became famous like his two cousins, rockabilly star Jerry Lee Lewis, who is now 86 years old, and televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, who is 87 years old, notes ABC-7 in Chicago.

Gilley was born March 9, 1936, in Natchez, Mississippi, and achieved his first No. 1 single in 1974 with "Room Full of Roses," the publication pointed out. His other chart-topping songs include, among many many others, "Window Up Above," "Don't the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time," "True Love Ways," and "You Don't Know Me."

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His accolades as a country star include six Academy of Country Music Awards, and he has been inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Even before the release of "Urban Cowboy" was filmed at his namesake Texas nightclub Gilley was already a star. The movie, starring John Travolta and Debra Winger as star-crossed lovers, brought country music clubs (and mechanical bulls) to a nationwide audience after its release in 1980.

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The movie's soundtrack was a crossover hit, and Gilley's cover of "Stand by Me" hit the Top 40 charts.

Later after the completion of the movie, Gilley appeared on a number of television programs, including the likes of "Dukes of Hazzard," "Murder She Wrote," "Fantasy Island," and "The Fall Guy."

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After the 1980s, Gilley continued performing at his Branson theater until 2009, when he was temporarily paralyzed after taking a hard fall while helping a friend who was moving furniture, but eventually returned to performing. Gilley's Pasadena club made famous in "Urban Cowboy" was shut down in March 1989 due to a loss of profits, along with legal issues and a feud between Gilley and his partner, Sherwood Cryer, the club's original owner, according to a UPI report from the time. Roughly one year later, Gilley's main building was destroyed July 5, 1990, in an arson fire.

In addition to Lewis and Swaggart, Gilley is survived by his wife Cindy Loeb Gilley; children Kathy, Michael, Gregory, and Keith Ray; four grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren, according to Taste of Country.

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