MAY 7, 2022: Mickey Gilley Dead at 86

According to a statement from his publicist, Gilley died "peacefully" on Saturday (May 7, 2022) in Branson, Mo., "with his family and close friends by his side." The country legend had just returned from the road, where he played 10 dates in April. He was 86 years old. KEEP READING

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Country Music history has had some world-class piano players (yes, I said piano players not 'pianists', somehow it just seems more comfortable).  One of the legends, Floyd Cramer, has a deserving spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

When I got started in radio at the tender age of 18 back in the early 1970s, there were some beautiful piano pieces sprinkled through the country charts.  One of my favorites was Ronnie Milsap.  And there was another new guy, at least new to me.

In 1974 Mickey Gilley topped the Country singles chart 3 times with 'Room Full Of Roses', 'I Overlooked An Orchid' and 'City Lights'.

Whoever this guy was, he was here to stay!

More #1 hits and Top Ten smashes followed, including one that I consider one of the best country 'piano pounders' of all time, 'Don't The Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time'.

Coming out of Ferriday, Louisiana, to say Mickey came from a musical family would be an understatement.  Mickey grew up in something of a shadow of his famous cousin Jerry Lee Lewis  Did 'The Killer' influence Mickey?  I'm not sure, but it was fun when these two phenomenal entertainers got on stage together!

In 1980 the movie 'Urban Cowboy' gave an incredible boost to Country Music.  Filmed largely at Gilley's in Texas, it propelled Mickey (and many others) onto yet another level of success.

Mickey's last #1 hit came in the 1980s.  And when you look at this man's career, don't you think he may well be deserving of induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame?

So whatever happened to Mickey Gilley?

Well, you may have seen Mickey a few years ago on the hit TV series 'American Pickers' as Mike and Frank made a trip down to Texas!  It was in 2009, while helping move furniture, that Mickey fell and damaged several vertebrae.

Gilley and his son, Michael, were involved in a car wreck in Texas, in January 2018. The country star was left with multiple injuries, including a cracked rib and sternum and a fractured ankle and shoulder.

"Had I not been wearing my seatbelt, I’m sure I would’ve been ejected," Gilley acknowledges. "My car rolled about three times over. I want to share my story with Tennesseans to encourage everyone in the south to take pride in wearing seatbelts, because seatbelts do save lives.”

Oh, and if you want to hear all those great Mickey Gillet Classics, just tune in to KXRB.  We love Mickey Gilley!

MORE: MIckey Gilley Remembers His Dinner With John Travolta During 'Urban Cowboy' Filming

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