Mickey Gilley Biography, Wiki, Age, Career, Death, Cause of Death | Who was Mickey Gilley? Bio, Wiki

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Who was Mickey Gilley?

Mickey Leroy Gilley (March 9, 1936 – May 7, 2022) was an American country music singer and songwriter. Although he started out singing straight-up country and western material in the 1970s, he moved towards a more pop-friendly sound in the 1980s, bringing him further success on not just the country charts, but the pop charts as well.

Country singer Mickey Gilley dies at age 86

Country singer Mickey Gilley dies at age 86
Country singer Mickey Gilley dies at age 86

Country singer Mickey Gilley, best known as the pioneer of the “urban cowboy” style, died Saturday in Branson, Missouri, his publicist Zach Farnum said. He was 86.

The Natchez, Mississippi native “passed peacefully” surrounded by family and close friends, according to a statement issued by Farnum. He had recently returned home from the road after playing 10 shows in April, according to the statement.

Gilley had 17 number one country records, starting with “Room Full of Roses” in 1974. Gilley also had major crossover success in 1980 with a country-flavored cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” going to number one on the Billboard Hot Country listings and number three on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Gilley’s musical career got a new life with the film “Urban Cowboy,” which starred John Travolta and was set at Gilley’s own honky tonk club in Pasadena, Texas. The movie helped to popularize country-western culture in urban environments, including mechanical bull riding, which was the focus of the film’s action.

Mickey Gilley Biography, Wiki

Country western star Mickey Gilley was born on March 9, 1936 in Natchez, Mississippi, the cousin of future rockabilly legend Jerry Lee Lewis and disgraced televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, and raised in Ferriday, Louisiana.

In their childhood, all three would play the piano when they got together and sing gospel and boogie-woogie songs. After Lewis became a chart-topper in the 1950s, Mickey turned professional himself and cut some singles before becoming a session player in the Big Easy.

First married at age 17, Gilley had a minor hit, “Call Me Shorty”, in 1958, but it would be years before he came out from under Jerry lee’s shadow and established himself as a star. He didn’t release his first album, “Down the Line”, until 1967. The album yielded a minor hit, “Now I Can Live Again”.

Three years later, he became a nightclub owner when he opened Gilley’s Club in Pasadena, Texas in 1971. The club, billed as the “world’s biggest honky tonk”, became famous when it was used as the setting for Urban Cowboy (1980), which boosted Gilley’s national exposure.

By the 1980s, Gilley was experiencing crossover success when he mellowed his C+W with a more pop orientation. He managed to put songs on the charts in each of 15 years, enjoying 17 #1 country hits.

Mickey Gilley Biography Wikipedia
Mickey Gilley
Birth nameMickey Leroy Gilley
BornMarch 9, 1936
Natchez, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedMay 7, 2022 (aged 86)
Branson, Missouri, U.S.
GenresCountry, pop, country, politan, urban cowboy
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, piano
Years active1957–2022
LabelsDot, Paula, Playboy, Epic, Branson, Varèse Sarabande
Associated actsJerry Lee Lewis, Carl McVoy, Charly McClain

Mickey Gilley Career

During his teen years, Gilley became very good at playing the piano. He didn’t really depend on music for a career, so he married and moved to Houston, Texas. After he heard a song of cousin Jerry Lee’s, he decided to take up music as well. He managed to get some session work in recording studios near Houston playing the piano and began playing in local clubs.

Eventually, he became popular enough to play around the United States working through small labels before being signed a contract with Dot Records.  From his debut in 1974 of George Morgan’s “Room Full of Roses,” until the mid-eighties, Gilley sang seventeen number one hits. (Vinopal).

He continues to produce albums.  In all, he has fifteen albums. Around the early seventies Gilley and Sherwood Cryer, an old friend of Gilley’s, opened up a club called Gilley’s in Pasadena, Texas, which seated 5,000. (Cox). It was called the world’s largest honky-tonk.

Gilley regularly performed here. In 1980, the club was chosen for a setting in the movie Urban Cowboy. This movie made Gilley’s a popular attraction for tourists. (Wenning). Gilley played the piano and steel guitar at the night club, which he partly owned,   called Gilley’s, in Pasadena, Texas, until it burned down in 1990.  Today he performs primarily in Branson, Missouri.

Gilley has a biography, which aired on TNN called The Life and Times of Mickey Gilley. He has a theatre in Branson, Missouri, which seats 950 people that he plays in nine months out of the year. He also wants to open up a new real classy Gilley’s in Houston, Texas.

In Branson, he does six shows a week, but he says concerts aren’t work and he will never retire. (Rogers). He owns two cafes called Gilley’s Texas Café. One is in Branson, Missouri, and one is in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

At Gilley’s Texas Café, folks can eat barbeque ribs or steak or have the best in frozen drinks, along with appetizers like Texas Bullets and heaping platters of barbeque with beans, potato salad and coleslaw or Texas fries.

In conclusion, Gilley now lives and performs in Branson, Missouri. There he has a theatre and cafe, and he plays six shows a week.  He plans to play and sing as long as he is healthy.

Mickey Gilley Wife

Gilley’s first wife was Geraldine Garrett, whom he married in 1953 (when he was 17 years old); they divorced in 1961. She was the mother of three of his four children (Keith Ray, Michael, and Kathy).

Geraldine Garrett died on March 6, 2010. Gilley’s second wife, whom he married in 1962, was Vivian McDonald. Together they have a son, Gregory. Vivian Gilley died in 2019. His children, Kathy and Keith, are also in the music business.

Mickey and Cindy Loeb, his longtime friend, and business associate, were married in June 2020, in a small private ceremony in Branson. They met when Gilley was a passenger on a flight Cindy was working.

In July 2009, Gilley was helping a neighbor move some furniture when he fell with the love seat falling on top of him, crushing four vertebrae.

The incident left him temporarily paralyzed from the neck down, but after intense physical therapy, he was able to walk again and return to the stage a year later. However, he still lacked the hand-eye coordination necessary to play the piano.

His death was announced on May 7, 2022, by Jeff Wagner, mayor of Pasadena, Texas.

Mickey Gilley FAQ’s

Who was Mickey Gilley?

Mickey Leroy Gilley (March 9, 1936 – May 7, 2022) was an American country music singer and songwriter. Although he started out singing straight-up country and western material in the 1970s, he moved towards a more pop-friendly sound in the 1980s, bringing him further success on not just the country charts, but the pop charts as well.

How did Mickey Gilley die?

Country singer Mickey Gilley, best known as the pioneer of the “urban cowboy” style, died Saturday in Branson, Missouri, his publicist Zach Farnum said.

How old was Mickey Gilley?

Mickey Gilley died at 86.

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