May 18, 2022

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Mickey Gilly, the country star who inspired the movie Urban Cowboy, has died at the age of 86

Mickey Gilly, the country star who inspired the movie Urban Cowboy, has died at the age of 86

Mickey Gilly, the country music star and owner of the famous Texas honky tonk that inspired the movie “Urban Cowboy,” died Saturday at the age of 86.

A statement from Mickey Gilly Associates said Gilly “died peacefully with his family and close friends at his side” in Branson, Missouri.

Singer and pianist “Window Up Above” who was a cousin Rock legend Jerry Lee LewisHe’s been performing recently for the past month but has been in poor health last week.

Gillies, “the world’s largest honky-tonk”, opened in the early 1970s in Pasadena, Texas. Several years later, he hit the charts with Room Full of Roses and enjoyed follow-up success with a series of hit songs such as “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time” and “She’s Pulling Me Back Again”.

Gilly has had 39 top 10 hits over the course of his career, including 17 records. In addition to this, he was known for his acting roles in such shows as “Murder, I Wrote” and “Dukes of Hazzard”.

Mickey Gilly is best known for his song “Window Up Above”.
Mike Stone/Reuters
Mickey Gilly shows his diamond rings to the media at the 34th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
Mickey Gilly shows off his diamond rings at the 34th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
Kevork Djansisian/AFP

An Esquire article about a Gillies nightclub inspired the 1980 John Travolta movie “Urban Cowboy,” which was shot in the pub and gave rise to a national trend of pearl shirts, long-necked beers, and mechanical bulls.

The club closed in the late 1980s and was later destroyed in a fire. An advanced version of Honky Tonk opened in Dallas in 2003.

The Natchez, Mississippi native, grew up poor and learned to play the piano by infiltrating Louisiana and blues rhythm clubs with Lewis and his cousin Jimmy Swaggart, a future Evangelist.

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Mickey Gilly is best known for his song "window above."
Mickey Gilly’s honky-tonk setting was inspired by the movie “Urban Cowboy”.
MediaPunch / BACKGRID

“If I had one wish in life, I would wish for more time,” Gilly told the Associated Press in March 2001 as he celebrated his 65th birthday. Not that he would do anything differently, said the singer.

“I do exactly what I want to do. I play golf, fly my plane and perform in my theater in Branson, Missouri. I love doing my show for people.”

with wire