Remember When Keith Whitley Scored a Posthumous No. 1 Hit?
Keith Whitley died on May 9, 1989, after suffering alcohol poisoning, but his musical legacy carried on even after his death. Whitley scored his fourth No. 1 hit with "I Wonder Do You Think of Me" on Sept. 9, 1989, four months after his tragic death.
The song was the title track and lead single from Whitley's third studio album, which RCA released in August of 1989. The song preceded the album in June, just a month after Whitley's untimely death at the age of 33.
Written by Sanger D. "Whitey" Schafer, "I Wonder Do You Think of Me" is a poignant ballad made even more effective by the fact of Whitley's death.
"If you drive around back in our old hometown / I wonder, do you think of me / When you drive by a school, do you remember two fools / I wonder, do you think of me," he sings to open the reflective track.
Whitley was on a hot career streak at the time of his death, having landed three back-to-back No. 1 hit with "Don't Close Your Eyes," "When You Say Nothing at All" and "I'm No Stranger to the Rain." "I Wonder Do You Think of Me" turned that streak into four, and Whitley's second posthumous single, "It Ain't Nothin,'" gave him his fifth and final No. 1 hit. I Wonder Do You Think of Me gave Whitley another posthumous hit with "I'm Over You," which reached No. 3.
Whitley's longtime struggle with alcoholism was known through much of the country music community, and after he married Lorrie Morgan in 1986, she tried to help the singer overcome his addiction. The news of Whitley's death shook the country music industry, especially when the cause of death was discovered to be his alcohol dependency. He had reportedly spent the weekend partying and was found at home fully clothed and face down, dead from alcohol poisoning, bringing a tragic end to one of the most promising careers of his generation.
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