Here’s Why Keith Whitley’s ‘Miami, My Amy’ is Trending on TikTok
In 1986, Keith Whitley earned his first Top 20 hit on country radio with "Miami, My Amy," a romantic tune about missing the one you love when you're apart. 36 years after the track's release, the song is finding a brand new audience on TikTok.
If you aren't familiar with TikTok, it's an app that allows users to share videos that range from teenagers dancing to their favorite pop song, to botanists explaining the best flowers to plant in your area. If you remember the "Cinnamon Challenge" video craze on YouTube from 2013, or the "planking" craze in 2010, you'll have a good idea of the kinds of trends that can sometimes pop up on TikTok. Unlike those previous internet fads, TikTok trends are mostly connected by a particular sound or song that goes viral and a specific theme tied to those videos.
Over the past week, Whitley's "Miami, My Amy" has been featured in thousands of videos that offer up a heartwarming, nostalgic slice of life, often connected by a friendly elderly person that you might encounter along the way. Let's check out a few of the most popular videos from this trend.
This video, which has racked up over 800,000 views, shows a woman reflecting on a corner store she used to go to as a child, and the kind man working behind the counter.
Or this one, which has over 600,000 views, about a former Cracker Barrel waitress and the jokes she'd hear from some of her elderly guests.
There's also some references to the generational differences between Southern folks, including our fashion choices.
And of course, a Southern lifestyle trend wouldn't be complete without a reference to everyone's favorite 24-hour eatery.
Over the past week, more than 10,000 videos featuring "Miami, My Amy" have been posted on TikTok. It's a great example of how songs can unexpectedly get new life through social media, allowing a new generation of music fans to connect with an artist they may not have been exposed to before.
Penned by Dean Dillon, Hank Cochran and Royce Porter, "Miami, My Amy" was the second single from Whitley's first full-length album L.A. to Miami. The tune elevated the Kentucky native to a new level of stardom and marked the beginning of a streak of success on country radio. In 1988, he earned three No. 1 hits with "Don't Close Your Eyes," "I'm No Stranger to the Rain" and "When You Say Nothing at All." That quickly led to a CMA Award and even a Grammy nomination, positioning Whitley as one of the most successful new artists in country music.
Sadly, Whitley died on May 9, 1989 from alcohol poisoning at the age of 34. To this day, many new country artists cite Whitley as a major influence, proving the timelessness of his music. Although this TikTok trend gives a nod to the nostaglia that the tune brings, it also reinforces the feelings of warmth and comfort that Whitley's vocals radiate. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why this trend took off so quickly, but I think we should welcome any reason to bring a Keith Whitley classic back into the spotlight.