Country Music Icon Mickey Gilley Celebrated in Branson MO
On May 27, 2019, Mickey Gilley’s Life Celebrated in Branson
On Friday, May 27th 2019 in his home town of Branson, Missouri a memorial ceremony was held to honor country music legend Mickey Gilley at the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre and streamed online for fans to view.
Gilley is widely recognized as the father of “Urban Cowboy” country music, scoring 17 number one country hits during his career. Additionally, he earned six ACM awards and had his name inscribed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Gilley’s early hits included “Room Full of Roses,” which reached #1 on the Hot Country chart in 1970. In 1980, his song “Stand By Me” achieved crossover success and reached number one on both Billboard Hot Country and Adult Contemporary charts.
On Saturday, singer 86 passed away. According to his publicist Zach Farnum, he was surrounded by family and friends after recently returning from the road after playing 10 shows in April.
His musical career took a dramatic turn with the 1980 film Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta and set at Gilley’s honky-tonk club in Pasadena, Texas. This helped popularize country-western culture throughout cities and led to an explosion of Western-themed nightclubs across America.
He was also the first country artist to open his own theater in Branson, Missouri, helping transform it into a major entertainment tourism destination.
Gilley had long battled health issues, yet he was still able to perform at his Branson theater until recently. His condition, hydrocephalus – an increase of fluid inside the head that may cause short-term memory loss – wasn’t well controlled but did allow for some performance at his theater until recently.
The loss of a beloved musician can be heartbreaking for all involved, serving as a poignant reminder of the value of family, friendship and support in times of sorrow.
On Friday, May 27th 2018 Country music icon Mickey Gilley was remembered in a ceremony held at his theater in Branson with family and friends present as well as thousands of online viewers watching online.
Many of Gilley’s close friends gave speeches about his lasting influence on their lives, including Bucky Heard from The Righteous Brothers – Gilley’s longtime Branson-based friend and fellow South Point headlining act.
His wife Cindy Loeb, who resides nearby, was by his side during the ceremony. She had been an incredible support to him during this difficult time.
He is survived by his children Kathy, Michael, Gregory and Keith Ray; granddaughter Vivian McDonald; nine great-grandchildren; cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart; as well as his native Natchez, Mississippi where he was raised before moving to Ferriday, Louisiana where he learned boogie-woogie piano from Lewis.