Mickey Gilley, Country Music Star whose Club Inspired the ‘Urban Cowboy’

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Mickey Leroy Gilley was born on March 9, 1936, in Natchez, Miss. to Irene (Lewis) and Arthur Gilley. Raised in nearby Ferriday, La., he grew up singing gospel harmonies with his cousins, Mr. Swaggart and Mr. Lewis, and sneaking into local music joints with them to hear blues and honky-tonk music.

Mr Gilley’s mother bought him a piano when he was 10 years old, shortly before he came under the boogie-woogie-inspired tutelage of his cousin Jerry. Mr Gilley wouldn’t start playing professionally until his 20s, a few years after he moved to Houston to work in the construction industry.

She released her first single “Ooh Wee Baby” in 1957, but waited 55 years to find an audience: in 2012 she appeared in a television commercial for Yoplait yogurt. The first record to reach the charts was ‚ÄúThis? Wrong (For Loving You),” featuring future star Kenny Rogers on bass guitar in 1959.

Settling in Pasadena in the early ’60s, Mr. Gilley began performing regularly at the Nesadel Club, a vicious honky-tonk owned by his future business partner Mr. Cryer. However, his recording career didn’t gain attention until 1974 when Hugh Hefner’s Playboy label re-released his version of “Room Full of Roses”, which became the #2 pop hit in 1949 for singer Sammy Kaye. Gilley’s iteration became the #1 country single.

Mr Gilley then spent ten years at or near the top of the country charts. At the height of the Urban Cowboy boom, it reached number 1 for six consecutive hits.

While the movement Gilley spawned gave way to the back-to-basics neo-traditionalism of country music in the mid-’80s, Mr. Gilley turned his attention to Mr. He turned it into the nightclub where the long-standing feud with Cryer was before. caused the men to dissolve their partnerships. Mr Gilley shut down the honky-tonk in 1989, a year before a fire destroyed most of the building.

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