Mickey Gilley’s honky tonk was the backdrop for the John Travolta film “Urban Cowboy,” with its huge dance floor and the famous mechanical bull. “Urban Cowboy” and the Pasadena club have been credited with helping launch country music’s revival in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The movie even launched Gilley’s second act.
“I thank John Travolta every night before bed for keeping my career alive,” he confessed to the Associated Press in 2002, “It’s impossible to tell you how grateful I am for my involvement with ‘Urban Cowboy.’ That film had a huge impact on my career and still does.” “Urban Cowboy” boosted Gilley’s music career, resulting in nine No. 1 country singles from 1980 to 1983, according to ExtraTV. The country singer-songwriter also became a popular guest star on the biggest television shows of the ’80s. Upon hearing the news of Gilley’s death, the country band The Oak Ridge Boys tweeted: “Just heard that MIKEY GILLEY has just passed away … wow … another singing friend has gone home … Bye Mickey … until the day.”
After bringing so much fame to the state, Gilley became an adopted son of Texas. And one tweet summed up the sadness many Texans are feeling over Gilley’s death. A columnist for Texas Monthly tweeted a photo of a Lone Star beer with the caption: “Pour one out for Mickey Gilley tonight. RIP honky-tonker.”