SiriusXM is sad to report that Mickey Gilley has passed away in Branson, Missouri, at the age of 86.
Born in Natchez, Mississippi, Gilley grew up playing gospel and boogie woogie piano alongside his cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.
He released a series of singles and albums in the 1960’s, before hitting his stride in the early ‘70s. His string of 39 Top 10 hits and 17 No. 1 songs included covers of country classics like “Room Full of Roses,” “City Lights,” “Window Up Above,” as well as the Sam Cooke standard “Bring It On Home to Me.”
Gilley also lent his name to the legendary honky tonk in Pasadena, Texas, that was featured in the 1980 film Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta and Debra Winger.
The success of the Urban Cowboy movie and soundtrack led to more hits, including “Stand by Me,” “The Power of Positive Drinking,” and “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time.”
Gilley later established a theater that helped create a country music boom in Branson, Missouri, and has received six Academy of Country Music Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Hear the Mickey Gilley & Johnny Lee Urban Cowboy 40th anniversary special with Anne Murray, Boz Skaggs and Brian Collins Sunday, May 8 at 8pm & 11pm ET at Willie’s Roadhouse.
“When they told me that John Travolta might do the film Urban Cowboy it dawned on me that at that time he was just coming off of Saturday Night Fever, and my first thought was this could be a Country Night Fever,” said Mickey Gilley during the special. “It was a really great ride that just keeps on going.”
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