In 1959, Mickey had the success of his first chart record, “Is It Wrong for Loving You?” in which Kenny Rogers was featured playing the bass. This chart hit boomed his career and he continued to play in cities all over the south and eventually settled in the city of Pasadena performing at the popular, Nesadel Club. After 10 years being a part of the night life in the city and recording yet another charted record, some would say that is where he developed into being one of the most popular and hoped for acts.
Soon enough, Mickey and his business partner, Sherwood Cryer, opened the world famous Gilley’s night club in Pasadena, Texas. As the club grew to be famous, it also entered into the Guinness Record Book as the World’s Largest Honly-Tonk. Forward to the mid-seventies, his songs were hitting the country charts with regularity.
With the club rising in popularity so to did Mickey's. But it was when Esquire Magazine caught wind of the excitement of Mickey’s success and featured an article called "The Ballad of the Urban Cowboy" that inlfuenced Gilly's to develop into an Urban Cowboy craze.
Hit after hit, and even movie after movie. Mickey was to feature in a Paramount pictures to film movie in 1979. The movie, Urban Cowboy, would also star John Travolta and Debra Winger; while also featuring the famous Gilley’s Club. Upon the movie's release Urban Cowboy became a phenomenon. The soundtrack featured many popular artists including a huge hit by Mickey, "Stand By Me", which went platinum and it made Mickey a household name. This led to GRAMMY awards and even awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, while also performing for two presidents throughout his career.
It is no surprise that his success has been far from disappointing. Though, the most difficult moment might have been when a fire destroyed the Gilley’s building and had to shut down. But that didn’t stop him. Mickey decided to build his own theatre in his new home, Branson, MO. However, the unthinkable thing happened. An electrical short in a neon sign located outside of the building created a spark and the theatre burned to the ground.
Mickey had picked up his shoulders and didn’t let these events in his life put him down. In 2009 he had suffered a major fall injuring him to be paralyzed for 3 months causing him the inability to play the piano. However, with the help and encouragement from his family and fans, his voice was better than ever and he was ready to show everyone what he’s still got.
Today Gilley "walks" out on the stage unassisted and proceeds to sing his hits and share his musical career. You never really know what Gilley is going to say and do and the audience loves it. Gilley's number one love is his music, but he also continues to give back to the community he lives in. He recently received the Pioneer Award presented to him by the Branson Area Chamber of Commerce. Mickey also still continues to participate in local benefits, veteran shows, and promotes Branson all over the United States.
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