Posted by Kane on May 8, 2022 3:08 pm


Mickey Gilley, the country music star whose Texas nightclub served as the inspiration for the 1980 film Urban Cowboy, died on Saturday in Branson, Mo.

“Gilley was 86 and had just come off of the road, his favorite place, having played ten shows in April. He passed peacefully with his family and close friends by his side.”

No cause of death was given.

Across his career as a singer, Gilley garnered 17 No. 1 singles between the late 1960s and 1980s, including his 1974 cover of “Room Full of Roses.” His soulful renditions of early rock and roll hits and soul songs cemented him as a country artist who was able to cross genres.

Born in Mississippi and raised in Louisiana, Gilley’s family included artist Jerry Lee Lewis and televangelist Jimmy Swaggart as cousins. He learned to play piano as a child and began his professional music career in the 1950s when he recorded his first single, “Ooh Wee Baby.”

In addition to his singing career, he was also famous for being the face of the country music honky-tonk Gilley’s, which pushed Texas cowboy culture into a global spotlight. The nightclub opened as Gilley’s in Pasadena, Texas, in the early 1970s after previously being named Shelly’s by proprietor Sherwood Cryer. Cryer had hired Gilley, then a local country music singer, to be in-house talent.

“It was halfway decent,” Gilley said of the club’s opening in a 1999 Austin Chronicle article. “It was a little bit better than a joint, but as time moved on, after we did the film [Urban Cowboy] it turned into a joint.”

You Might Like
Learn more about RevenueStripe...