Mickey Gilley passed away on May 7 at the age of 86, and with him went his country-western legacy. He was a pioneer in the genre, finding success on both the country and the pop charts. Now, fans have a chance to join Gilley’s family in saying goodbye to him; his memorial service will be live-streamed online. After his death, fans came together on social media to mourn and show their love for the legend.
On May 27, friends, family, and selected guests will gather at the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre in Branson, Missouri to honor and celebrate the late country music star. The service begins at 1pm central. More information on the livestream will be available on Mickey Gilley’s Facebook page as the date draws closer.
Mickey Gilley’s Memorial Service To Be Held in Missouri, Plus the Country Music Legend’s Life and Career
Mickey Gilley began as a staunch country western singer, with a handful of chart toppers through the 1970s. He recorded his first big hit, “Room Full of Roses,” for fun in 1974. That song put Gilley on the map. Before that, in 1970, Gilley owned part of Gilley’s Club, a honky-tonk in Pasadena, Texas, known as “the world’s biggest honky-tonk.” Although his fame started to fade after the 1970s, in the 80s it picked up again when he began delving into crossover country, which dipped its toe into pop music.
When the film “Urban Cowboy” featured his country remake of the song “Stand By Me”–and his club, Gilley’s, where most of the movie took place–Mickey Gilley regained his fading fame. The song hit the top of the country charts in 1980, plus the Top 5 Adult Contemporary charts, plus the Pop Top 40. Mickey Gilley was a household name again, and all through the 80s he had 17 number 1 country hits. After the 80s, a new breed of country music star was moving into Nashville; first it was the crossovers, then the traditionalists who were inspired by George Strait.
Later in his life, Gilley built a theater in Branson, Missouri, where he spent his late career performing. He and his two also famous cousins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggert, joined the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2017 he returned to the studio and released “Kickin’ It Down the Road,” an album of new recordings and remakes of his old songs.
Mayor of Pasadena, Texas Announced Gilley’s Death
Mickey Gilley was a pillar of the community in Pasadena; when he died, the mayor announced his death on social media. Mayor Jeff Wagner honored Gilley with a few words on Facebook.
“Pasadena has lost a true legend. Mickey Gilley passed away today surrounded by his loved ones. It was my great honor to know this man most of my life,” Wagner wrote. “Mickey was a true musical talent who charted 42 singles in the Top 40 Country Charts over a span of two decades.”