Mickey Gilley, who helped launch the Urban Cowboy movement in country music and had hit songs including “Stand By Me,” “Room Full of Roses” and “Lonely Nights,” died Saturday in Branson, Missouri.
Gilley, 86, had just played 10 shows in April, and passed away peacefully surrounded by friends and family, according to a statement.
Gilley, a singer and actor, influenced generations of country singers with his signature, haunting combination of Louisiana rhythm and blues and country-pop crossover melodies. He grew up with his two famous cousins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart. He earned 39 Top 10 hits and 17 No. 1 songs throughout his career.
The son of Arthur Fillmore Gilley and Irene (Lewis) Gilley, Gilley learned how to play piano from Lewis and dabbled in boogie-woogie and gospel music early in his career before finding his professional footing in the ’70s with “Room Full of Roses.” Hits “Chains of Love,” “Honky Tonk Memories,” “She’s Pulling Me Back Again,” and “Here Comes the Hurt Again” followed as his honky-tonk gave way to the more progressive countrypolitan.
In 1980, Gilley splashed into pop culture when he appeared in the smash hit movie “Urban Cowboy” alongside John Travolta, Debra Winger and Johnny Lee. Gilley’s served as the backdrop for the film, which helped launch his acting career and put his music career on a whole new level. Gilley went on to star in popular television series including “Murder She Wrote,” “The Fall Guy,” “Fantasy Island” and “Dukes of Hazzard.”
Gilley was widely recognized for his work in music and movies, earning numerous accolades, including six Academy of Country Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011. He was one of only a handful of artists to receive the Academy of Country Music’s Triple Crown Awards.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Vivian. He is survived by his wife Cindy Loeb Gilley, his children Kathy, Michael, Gregory and Keith Ray, four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren and his cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.
The family respectfully requests privacy at this time.