Mickey Gilley, a country music star and owner of the famous Texas honky tonka of the same name that inspired the film “Urban Cowboy,” passed away on Saturday at the age of 86.
Gilley “passed peacefully with his family and close friends by his side” in Branson, Missouri, according to a statement from Mickey Gilley Associates.
The “Window Up Above” singer and pianist, who was a cousin of rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis, only performed last month, but has been in declining health for the past week.
He opened Gilley’s, “the world’s largest honky tonk,” in the early 1970s in Pasadena, Texas. A few years later, he reached the top of the charts with “Room Full of Roses” and enjoyed continued success with a series of hits such as “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time” and “She’s Pulling Me Back Again”.
Gilley had 39 Top 10 country hits during his career, including 17 no. 1 record. In addition, he was known for his acting roles in series such as “Murder, She Wrote” and “Dukes of Hazzard”.
An article in the Esquire about Gilley’s nightlife inspired John Travolta’s 1980 film “Urban Cowboy,” which was shot at a bar and led to a national trend of pearl shirts, long-necked beer, and mechanical bulls.
The club was shut down in the late 1980s and later destroyed in a fire. The top version of the honky-ton opened in Dallas in 2003.
Natchez, Mississippi, was born and raised in poverty and learned boogie woogie piano by sneaking into Louisiana’s rhythm and blues clubs with Lewis and cousin Jimmy Swaggart, a future Pentecostal televangelist.
“If I had one wish in life, I would wish for more time,” Gilley told the Associated Press in March 2001 as he celebrated his 65th birthday. Not to do anything different, the singer said.
“I do exactly what I want. I play golf, fly my plane and perform at my theater in Branson, Missouri, ”he said. “I love doing my own show for people.”
With post wires