Home Country Music Jerry Lee Lewis, Irving Azoff and More Remember Mickey Gilley

Jerry Lee Lewis, Irving Azoff and More Remember Mickey Gilley


Memorial Service Details will be released in the coming days likely including public memorials in Branson, Mo. and Nashville, Tenn. and private in Pasadena, Texas and Ferriday, La.

“I am so very saddened by the death of my cousin Mickey Gilley. He and Jimmy Swaggert are like brothers to me. We are asking for prayers for his wife, Cindy and his entire family. I’m sad and praying. I loved him very much.”  – Jerry Lee Lewis, cousin of Mickey Gilley and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member
(see Gilley and Lewis together on Pop Goes The Country: Click Here)
(see Gilley perform at Lewis’ 85th Birthday in 2020: Click Here)

“With the passing of Mickey, the music world has lost a giant. I don’t think there is any argument about that. Mickey, Jerry Lee and myself were raised together. We learned to play piano together. I remember the day that he came to me and said, ‘Jimmy, I want to learn to play the piano.’ We were only about 10 years old. He had already taught himself to play guitar and had done very well. I remember showing him several chords on the piano, and he took it from there. I might quickly say that he took it very well – as everyone has seen for themselves for over a half-century. But alongside all of his achievements in music, the thing that thrilled me the most was that some time ago he called me and said, ‘Jimmy, I’ve made things right with the Lord.’ I saw an immediate change in his life in these last few days and that is the thing that’s far more important to me. The music world will miss him. And the work of God will miss him as well.  I will miss him. Our prayers are with his family and friends during this time.”
– Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, cousin of Mickey Gilley and legendary Pentecostal televangelist 
“Working with Mickey Gilley was undoubtedly one of the top highlights of bringing the Urban Cowboy story to both record and film audiences. Mickey was the real deal and a key component of the ‘Urban Cowboy’ story. He will be missed greatly.”
– Irving Azoff, music executive and producer of “Urban Cowboy”
Mickey Gilley was more than just a legend to me. I loved him like a brother. We enjoyed a closeness that came from working towards goals that many suggested were unachievable. He was a kind, thoughtful fun-loving friend and partner through the process of making music and his generosity of spirit pulled the best from everyone with whom he worked. I’m overcome with a sadness that only the memory of his mischievous smile, beautiful soul and our special time together can erase.”
– Jim Ed Norman, music executive and Mickey Gilley’s longtime producer
“Been a friend of Gilley’s for 50 years. He was one of the good ones – I loved playing Gilley’s in Texas, we played it many, many times. The fact is, that’s where I first met Mickey and Johnny Lee and ol’ Sherwood Cryer. I’m sure going to miss my old friend.”
– Bobby Bare, Country Music Hall of Fame member
“The Academy is saddened to lose one of our greats today. He is a seven-time ACM Awards winner including our Entertainer of the Year in 1976 and prestigious Triple Crown award in 2005, which few artists have achieved. His impact on Country Music, film, and television, can never be understated and will never be forgotten. We’ll always keep this urban cowboy in our hearts, and we send our deepest sympathies to his family and fans around the world.”
– Damon Whiteside, CEO, Academy of Country Music
“Gilley’s love of music and people was beautiful. Gifted far beyond talent, he was genuine, loyal, fearless and charming . He warmly welcomed artists and fans from across the globe and all walks of life into his world.  A country music ambassador extraordinaire! May his memory be eternal.”
– Lane Brody, fellow artist
“Mickey was the first No. one record I played on and I  had 10 consecutive overall with him. He was a gift to not only country music, but the world of music. One cannot think of the motion picture ‘Urban Cowboy’ without thinking of Mickey Gilley.”
– Eddie Bayers, Country Music Hall of Fame drummer, played on many of Mickey Gilley’s records
Photo Courtesy Eddie Bayers
“My heart will forever break over the loss of my dear friend Mickey Gilley. He believed in me when no one else did. Losing Gilley feels like a bad dream and sadly it’s not. He loved his fans more than anything in the world and taught me everything I needed to know about country music. He always told me if I thought it was going to rain, to always grab my umbrella. My prayers are with Cindy during this very difficult time.”
Johnny Lee

“I heard Mickey Gilley’s hit version of my song, ‘City Lights,’ on the radio Friday, and marveled for the ump-teenth time at what an incredible record it was. I never dreamed that one day later I would be mourning his passing. He was a great artist, a good friend, and like the rest of our country community, I sure will miss him.”
Bill Anderson

“I’m so very sorry to learn that our good friend and incredible legend in country music, Mickey Gilley has passed. A great singer and a great showman–and always a great friend. Please send your prayers out for his family.”
Gene Watson

“I am heartbroken by the passing of Mickey Gilley. I started out my career opening for Mickey. He was such a great person and entertainer. I have loved him ever since.”
Crystal Gayle

“My heart is broken at the loss of Mickey. I treasure all the times we got to work together and there were never enough. He and Johnny Lee brought a new dimension to country music with the urban Cowboy trend and brought new fans to the genre. Whether it was a boogie or a ballad, Mickey made it his own, no matter how many times it had been done before, and it would become my favorite version. He was loved and respected and he will be so greatly missed.”
Jeannie Seely

“I grew up on Mickey Gilley music! What a great loss. He was a true stylist! Seeing him live in concert as a kid, and the way he owned the stage…helped me realize that being an entertainer was often as important as the music itself. My deepest sympathies go out to his family. He will forever be a legend and rightfully so!“
Heidi Newfield

“When I learned of the passing of Gilley my heart just sank! What a trailblazer he was his entire career!! Being a fellow Texan of course, his music blared on my radio and record player and 8 track player!! And then, Urban Cowboy, Gilley’s in Pasadena, he is a member of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame I am just getting started with all of his accolades. He used to sit and listen to me sing at the piano bar where I played for several years at the Sheraton Music City. He was an encourager to me and he was my friend. RIP Gilley.”
Linda Davis

“We’re so sorry to hear the news of Mickey Gilley’s passing. He was a great friend and amazing artist.”
Bellamy Brothers 

“Once again we have lost another country music star and a long-time friend. Rest In Peace Mickey Gilley until we all sing again. In the meantime, we will miss you brother.” – Joe Bonsall / The Oak Ridge Boys

“We just lost a great human being. Mickey Gilley has been honky-tonkin’ since the ’50s. ‘Urban Cowboy’ secured him a spot in America’s consciousness and he’s been in our minds ever since. He lived a full life and left us with a great catalog of hits. One of the things that I’m most proud of is that over the years we have become close. The times we spent together doing shows, cruises, or just talking were a gift. Sheila and I will miss him a lot. Please keep his family and friends in your prayers.” – T. Graham Brown

“Another great loss in Country Music – so sad to hear of the passing of Mickey Gilley.  Our paths crossed a few times being in Branson; and Gene Watson and I did his TV show.  I loved the day I was fortunate to hang out backstage with Johnny Lee & Mickey Gilley during one of their shows. Great stories and great memories. May He Rest In Peace.” – Rhonda Vincent

“Just when we think our hearts can’t take anymore, we get the news that our dear close friend Mickey Gilley has passed. He truly altered the course of country music. Doing concerts with him through the years was always an incredible experience. We were fortunate to have gotten to see one of his last concerts just recently. His voice was great and strong as ever. Our prayers are with Cindy, the family, and his many fans. Rest easy our friend and know that you will be deeply missed.”
– TG Sheppard & Kelly Lang

“I enjoyed working on Mickey Gilley records as a backup singer, with the great Eddie Kilroy as producer. One of the first big concerts I played was Gilleys in Pasadena, TX and was amazed at the bucking bull machine! Mickey’s image and memory will be forever.”
Janie Fricke