The Heartbreaking Death Of Country Music Star Mickey Gilley
Born March 9, 1936 in Natchez, Mississippi, Mickey Gilley had a passion for music from a young age. According to The New York Times, Gilley and his cousins would sing gospel harmonies when they weren’t “sneaking into local juke joints … to hear blues and honky-tonk music.” Gilley’s cousins were none other than musicians Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart, who Deadline explains had a great influence on Gilley’s music.
While The New York Times reports Gilley’s mother bought him a piano when he was just 10, it took him a few years to warm up to the instrument. “I started playing piano when I was about 13 years old,” Gilley told Chris Morris at Variety in 2016. “I first started up on guitar. I found that the piano was a little more interesting to me … And with my cousin Jerry Lee hitting with ‘Whole Lotta Shakin” back in the ’50s, I felt at that time like if he could do it, I could do it, too.”
“Ooh Wee Baby” was Gilley’s first single in 1957. However, it received little acclaim at the time, per The New York Times. It wouldn’t be until 1959 that one of Gilley’s songs would reach the music charts. That was with “Is It Wrong (For Loving You),” which featured fellow country superstar Kenny Rogers playing bass.
While “Is It Wrong (For Loving You)” charted, Gilley’s major successes wouldn’t come until much later in his life, after an article in Esquire launched him into Hollywood superstardom.
Post source: The List