Mickey Gilley, Legendary Country Music Artist, Dead at 86

by Jonathan Howard
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One of country music‘s most legendary figures, Mickey Gilley is dead at 86. The singer-songwriter was a honky tonk icon. Outside of his own music, which included 20 No. 1 hits, Gilley was most known for his own honky tonk, Gilley’s Dallas. The venue was enshrined in country music and film history with the movie Urban Cowboy. A true loss for the genre.

Over the years, the singer was able to impact many lives. Not just through his music but through so much more. He was a cultural force and icon in the music industry for so long. He also left an impact on communities like Pasadena, California. The mayor, Jeff Wagner honored Gilley in a post.

“Pasadena has lost a true legend. Mickey Gilley passed away today surrounded by his loved one. It was my great honor to know this man most of my life,” Wagner said. “Mickey was a true musical talent who charted 42 singles in the Top 40 Country Charts over a span of two decades.”

That’s a bit of an understatement, too. Gilley was massively important in making country music the pop culture phenomenon it was in the 1970s and 80s. With his huge club in Dallas, he was hosting the hottest names in music almost every night. While the hype went down eventually, the impact was done. With Urban Cowboy, Gilley and his club were firmly in the pop culture lexicon.

It’s hard to believe Mickey Gilley is dead after all he gave to country music.

Of course, he started out cranking out hit tunes that topped the charts. Songs like Room Full of Roses and Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time, Gilley won over tons of fans. His runs in the mid-1970s and early 1980s were legendary.

Mickey Gilley Dead at 86, Transformed Country Music

There are a lot of artists that go through their careers and don’t get a single No. 1 single. There are very very few that ever get double-digit singles to top the chart. 20 No. 1 singles are no joke, and the way that Mickey Gilley advanced his career before it could be considered dead is a testament to his talent.

Gilley had seven No. 1 singles during the 1970s. However, it was clear that by 1978, his sound was not as popular. He was still charting in the top-15 and the top-10, but it was different for sure. With Urban Cowboy and a readjustment, Gilley opened up the 1980s with a bang. Between 1980 and 1983, he put out another nine No. 1 singles. It was a return to the top of the genre that was rarely seen.

Mickey Gilley is dead, but his legacy is going to live on for years to come. Legends never die.

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