Entertainment

Mickey Gilley, country music hitmaker and inspiration behind Urban Cowboy, dead at 86


Mickey Gilley, the country music singer with a string of hits in the 1970s and 1980s, has died aged 86.

Pasadena, Texas Mayor Jeff Wagner announced the singer died Saturday while “surrounded by his loved ones.”

Gilley helped put the town near Houston on the map when he opened the football-stadium-sized honky tonk Gilley’s Club there, which inspired John Travolta’s hit 1980 film Urban Cowboy.

Music legend: Mickey Gilley, the country music singer with a string of hits in the 1970s and 1980s, has died at 86; seen in 2015

Gilley died in Branson, Missouri, where his Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theater was located.

Although best known for his country music, the singer was a cousin of rock and roll royalty Jerry Lee Lewis.

In 1970 he opened Gilley’s Club in Pasadena, which included both a small club and a larger rodeo arena. The enormous venue eventually became known as “the world’s largest honky tonk”.

Namesake: In 1970, he opened Gilley's Club in Pasadena, which included both a small club and a larger rodeo arena.  The enormous venue eventually became known as

Namesake: In 1970, he opened Gilley’s Club in Pasadena, which included both a small club and a larger rodeo arena. The enormous venue eventually became known as “the world’s largest honky tonk”; seen around 1970

Real life: The club inspired an Esquire article about a couple who spent time honky tonk, which in turn inspired the popular 1980 film Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta and Debra Winger (pictured)

Real life: The club inspired an Esquire article about a couple who spent time honky tonk, which in turn inspired the popular 1980 film Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta and Debra Winger (pictured)

The club inspired an Esquire article about a couple who spent time honky tonk, which in turn inspired the popular 1980 film Urban Cowboy, which starred John Travolta and Debra Winger.

The film, which was a box office and critical success, was compared favorably to Travolta’s previous film Saturday Night Fever, although this time it focused on country music rather than disco.

The exact circumstances of the Mississippi native’s death have not been revealed.

Announced by the Mayor: Mayor of Pasadena, Texas, Jeff Wagner announced that the singer died on Saturday while he was

Announced by Mayor: Pasadena, Texas Mayor Jeff Wagner announced that the singer died Saturday while “surrounded by loved ones” via a Facebook post

Real talent:

True talent: “Mickey was a true musical talent who ranked 42 Top 40 Country Chart singles over a span of two decades,” he wrote in the caption

The announcement comes after Gilley’s recent cancellations of tour dates on May 1, due to ‘health issues’ and ‘energy levels’ which prevented him from being ‘100 per cent’ on his tours. shows.

At the time, the music legend announced he was getting medical help: “I’ve been looking for doctors to get me back on track,” he wrote on Facebook, adding, ” I hope to be invigorated, healthy and back to full fitness.” See you soon in our salons!’

Wagner broke the news via a Facebook post that featured photos of the star, writing, “Pasadena has lost a true legend.” Mickey Gilley passed away today, surrounded by his loved ones. It was a great honor to know this man for most of my life.

“Mickey was a true musical talent who ranked 42 Top 40 Country Chart singles over a span of two decades,” he continued.

Top of the list: He's won numerous awards, including six ACM Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  He was also inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame;  Photographed in 1980

Top of the list: He’s won numerous awards, including six ACM Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was also inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame; Photographed in 1980

“His talent and larger-than-life personality helped spark a new interest in country music as he introduced Pasadena to the world through his dance hall and ‘Urban Cowboy’ in 1980.”

“We were so honored to have Mickey perform at our State of the City in February 2020. Our prayers for comfort and peace are with Mickey’s family, loved ones and fans.”

Gilley made her chart-topping debut with Is It Wrong For Loving You and had a total of 39 Top 10 hits, 17 of which reached No. 1.

He has won numerous awards and accolades, including six ACM Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was also inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

Mickey is survived by his wife, Cindy Loeb Gilley, and four children.

Health concerns: The announcement comes after Gilley's recent cancellations of tour dates on May 1, due to

Health concerns: Announcement comes after Gilley’s recent cancellations of May 1 tour dates due to ‘health concerns’ and ‘energy levels’; Photographed June 12, 2015 in Nashville

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