It was just another day in Nashville, and the country music world, on May 9, 1989.

And then it wasn't.

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Local radio reported the startling announcement that one of the biggest stars in the country music world had died unexpectedly.

The official cause of death was alcohol poisoning. The Medical Examiner said that Keith's blood alcohol level was 0.47. Keith Whitley, one of country music's biggest stars was just 34 years old.

Three months after his death, his album I wonder Do You Think Of Me was released. It contained two more Keith Whitley Number One hits.

I've always admired the songwriter's. I remember reading an article once where the legendary Country Music Hall of Fame member Conway Twitty said 'It's the song. It's always the song'. He was talking about the fact that, no matter how great a singer is, if the song itself isn't great, it doesn't matter.

Keith Whitley may have been a tortured soul, he may have had demons that he couldn't beat down. But one thing for sure. In his way too short time on the planet, Keith gave us some of the greatest country music ever.

While the George Jones all-time classic 'He Stopped Loving Her Today' is generally considered the greatest country music song ever, for me it's 'Don't Close Your Eyes'.

I've often thought that if I met someone who had no idea what real country music is, I would simply play them 'Don't Close Your Eyes' by Keith Whitley. After hearing it, they would know what true country music is all about.

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