Keith Whitley’s Widow Lorrie Morgan Delivers Emotional Tribute at His Country Music Hall of Fame Induction

by Blake Ells
(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum)

Keith Whitley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday. His widow, Lorrie Morgan, paid tribute to the late singer.

“I’ve thought about this all day today and there are no words,” she said. “I was on my way to sing at the Saturday night Opry and I heard this song come on the radio and I heard the voice said ‘Miami, My Amy.’ And I pulled my car off of Briley Parkway and I sat there and thought, ‘I’m in love with that man.’ I didn’t know who it was at the time, and right when he was done singing, Keith Bilbrey said, ‘That is the great Keith Whitley with number 15 in the nation this week with ‘Miami, My Amy’ and he’s coming up on the 8:30 spot on the Grand Ole Opry. And I floored my car. I said, ‘I am gonna get a chance to meet this man tonight.’ And he did and he asked me out that night and of course the rest is history.”

Keith Whitley was scheduled to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry three weeks after his death. He didn’t know that. Nor would he know about the Country Music Hall of Fame induction. She says that is an honor he would have “never suspected.”

Lorrie Morgan Pays Tribute to Keith Whitley at Hall of Fame Induction

Lorrie Morgan accepted the plaque in Keith Whitley’s memory.

“This is the greatest honor for me to accept this, along with my children Jessie Keith Whitley and Morgan Whitley,” she said. “We have been through a lot together in remembering Keith and loving Keith and missing Keith. My whole family, we’ve all missed him together.”

Garth Brooks performed a version of Keith Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and spoke about his memory.

“This is long overdue,” said Brooks. “If you ever heard ‘I Never Go Around Mirrors’ – I’m in love with my wife (Trisha Yearwood) and my wife has me convinced that she loves me. But when Whiley does that ‘ca-use’ When he drops that whole octave, that woman cannot remember my name.”

He invited Lorrie Morgan to the stage to honor Keith Whitley. He shared some thoughts with her.

“A woman has to do 1,000 times more than a man (in this business),” he said. “I watched this woman work hard every day, and I can tell you this. We will be celebrating the day that you come in here as well. But for now, if you wouldn’t mind, would you come welcome the newest member to the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

Jerry Lee Lewis was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday. So was Joe Galante.