Mickey Gilley and ‘Urban Cowboy’: A Texas Monthly Compendium

Mickey Gilley and ‘Urban Cowboy’: A Texas Monthly Compendium

Singer and club owner Mickey Gilley performs with his cousin piano player Jerry Lee Lewis at Gilley's Club in Pasadena, Texas in circa 1975.Mickey Gilley, the country music icon whose honky-tonk birthed a cultural phenomenon, died peacefully on Saturday in Branson, Missouri, with friends and family by his side. He was 86. A Mississippi native, Gilley moved to Pasadena, just southeast of downtown Houston, in 1971 and opened his namesake honky-tonk, Gilley’s, which he touted as the largest in the world. The airplane hangar–size joint, regulars who referred to themselves as “Gilleyrats,” and a famed mechanical bull served as inspiration for the movie Urban Cowboy. The John Travolta and Debra Winger blockbuster, which was shot on location and around Houston, helped bring honky-tonks, country dancing, and Western wear into the mainstream. As former Texas Monthly editor Gregory Curtis wrote, “The movie elevated what had until then been a purely…

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Source: Texas Monthly