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May 13, 2022

There’s been so much news the past week that it's almost overwhelming, but I can’t let the passing of country star Mickey Gilley go unmentioned. Gilley died last weekend in Pasadena, Texas, at 86 of undisclosed causes.

Gilley was best known for his ‘80s hits that were associated with the “Urban Cowboy” craze kicked off by the John Travolta movie (the country flipside of the disco boom Travolta sparked with “Saturday Night Fever.”) Gilley not enjoyed huge chart success with such pop-country hits as “Stand By Me” and “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time,” he also became famous for his Gilley’s club, the “world’s biggest honky-tonk,” with its mechanical bull, as seen in the film. Even after the hits dried up, his name was still associated with the Mickey Gilley Golf Classic and live venues. He had a theater in Branson, and there was a Gilley’s to the west of us in Fort Worth (now Billy Bob’s Texas) and still a Gilley’s to the east in Dallas (not his, but named after him.)

Those who know only his '80s “Urban Cowboy” years might be surprised to learn that he’d been plugging away for quite a while before that. His first record, “Ooh We Baby,” came in 1957 (the label was "Minor Records"); his first charted song was “Is It Wrong” in 1960 (the uncredited bass player was Kenny Rogers); and his first album was "Lonely Wine" in 1964. He overcame a number of setbacks, including two fires that destroyed his venues and an accident that paralyzed him for three months and ended his ability to play piano. But he kept performing as a singer and storyteller.

Mickey Gilley was a member of a famous trio of singer/pianist cousins from Ferriday, Louisiana, that included “The Killer” Jerry Lee Lewis in the rock field, and Jimmy Swaggart in the gospel arena. Both cousins are still alive (yes, even Jerry Lee.)

A few years ago, Mickey Gilley visited the “Huckabee” show along with fellow “Urban Cowboy” star Johnny Lee (“Looking for Love in All The Wrong Places.”) You can relive that moment here.

Rest in peace, Mickey.

* * *

Just a quick note on this year’s inductees into the “Rock and Roll” Hall of Fame. In the performer category, they are Pat Benetar and Neil Geraldo, Eurythmics (both deserved), Duran Duran (not my choice, but okay), Carly Simon, Lionel Richie (wait, wasn’t this supposed to be rock?), Dolly Parton (who unsuccessfully asked that her name be removed because she’s never even made a rock record) and Eminem (okay, this is definitely no longer a rock music Hall of Fame. Some of us would argue that that’s not even music.)

The Hall’s CEO defended Eminem’s induction by claiming he “emits the same feeling” as heavy metal does. If that means he induces headaches, I’ll grant that, but it’s not rock. Actual metal pioneers Judas Priest finally got a “Musical Excellence Award,” but weren’t inducted as performers.

As has become a yearly tradition, here’s my very incomplete list of artists who have NOT been inducted into the alleged “Rock and Roll” Hall of Fame so they can make room for people like Eminem, Jay-Z, Dolly Parton, etc.:

Jethro Tull; The Monkees; Mott the Hoople; The Jam; Ted Nugent; Dick Dale; Herman’s Hermits; Blue Oyster Cult; The Guess Who; King Crimson; Thin Lizzy; Robin Trower; Emerson Lake & Palmer; Iron Maiden; Devo; Paul Revere and the Raiders; Styx; Tommy James and the Shondells; Boston; Steppenwolf; America; The Grass Roots; Jan and Dean; Motorhead; Neil Sedaka; Badfinger; the MC5; The New York Dolls; Grand Funk Railroad; Slade; Joe Walsh; Three Dog Night; Warren Zevon; Link Wray; Meat Loaf; Vanilla Fudge; Blood, Sweat and Tears; Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers; J. Geils Band; Bad Company; neither Johnny nor Edgar Winter; Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels; Peter Frampton, Johnny Burnette; Ten Years After; Johnny Rivers; The B-52s and many more.

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Comments 1-8 of 8

  • Dean Schaer

    05/23/2022 01:56 PM

    Absolutely! Steve Winwood and Blind Faith should be too! I could go on, as you have, with all the slights! Winwood and Clapton in Blind Faith hit Platinum with their first album and Steve’s solo career has been as good as some artist in the HOF. (Not to mention his role in the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic!)

  • Jack Strawther

    05/23/2022 09:25 AM

    What a joke! All of those incredible Rock Stars NOT in the Hall of Fame. Obviously you need to create a Real Hall of Fame. Not one that so obviously has a horrible bias.

  • Mark Volatile

    05/23/2022 08:52 AM

    Don't forget Little Feet, and I agree it should just be called the music hall of fame.

  • tom jeffs

    05/23/2022 07:39 AM


    I wish this was STILL true Mike but sadly, it is not - - - - - - -

    PLEASE search my name in your database for MANY ideas that I feel confident you'd agree with starting with my suggestion/request that you stop using the term 'trafficing' which sails overhead to most people and start using the term 'slaves' which better describes the victims anyway - - - - - - -

    remember me Mike, think moustache + muttonchops in Manhattan for your rope line discussions with me - - - - - - -

    I'm also one of the 4 'regulars' to the Huckabee Show as per your audience producer Jennifer Ruhle - - - - - - -

    I'm also a veteran of Israel Experience 2012 that your son David will probably remember since my infirmaties caused him and me to spend so much time catching up with the group - - - - - - -

    finally Mike, I'm the guy who donated all those red Huckabee45 polo shirts you guys wore in Iown during the time you were a candidate which you so proudly expouse during you relaxium commercials - - - - - - - -

    AND I'm still a major fan of yours Mike ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    keep smiling - - - - - - -

  • John Ryan

    05/23/2022 01:36 AM

    Governor, I love you and your team's analysis of our current events day in and day out.

    Much as I love your analysis of countless issues, especially Special Prosecutor John Durham's investigation and prosecutions at present, you (or Pat Reeder) forced me to comment on the list of those NOT yet elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! We are of the same era, although I'm a couple of years younger than you and my wife with parallel experiences growing up is three years your junior. Styx! ... the guys from the neighborhood! We couldn't agree more. Mari, my wife, and I have seen Dennis DeYoung, one of the original members of Styx, perform on a number of occasions over the years as well as a couple of modern reconfigurations of the band. However, what makes me pinch myself is the vivid memory of h.s. years in the early-to-mid 1970's. Styx probably played one, maybe two, special dances - most likely a "semi-formal" or two each year - at my Catholic boys' h.s. on the South Side of Chicago and much the same for Mari's Catholic girls' h.s. a couple of miles away, but the "mix" usually included a couple of sock hops plus one or two semi-formals at our archrival boys' school where Dennis DeYoung and a couple of other guys from the original band had graduated 10 years +/- ahead of us and which was a brother school to Mari's school on an adjoining campus.

    We also had a little exposure in those years to Chicago, a Hall member we saw and heard at their finest and have also seen and heard a number of times since, which still had a little nexus to the city and DePaul University when we first saw/heard them performing in the Chicago Stadium beginning a tour with the Beach Boys in the summer of 1975. I also had the privilege of seeing/hearing Chicago as well as the Beach Boys in their first separate appearances coming off that tour in the fall of 1975 at the University of Notre Dame where Chicago kicked off Homecoming week festivities mid-week and the Beach Boys performed after ND had lost to Southern Cal on Saturday and saluted from the stage (on the stage?) a then-unknown ND quarterback named Joe Montana who had definitely threatened a last minute upset. Peter Cetera of Chicago had been a student at Morgan Park H.S., a nearby Chicago public h.s. where Mari's mother taught English literature while / not long after Cetera had been a student.

    In the same (somewhat biased) vein, Mari and I would recommend REO Speedwagon to your list of rock and roll bands that haven't made the Hall. A few years behind the guys from Styx, Kevin Cronin, the front man for REO, graduated from Chicago-Brother Rice H.S. and has expressed his gratitude to Br. Rice in a number of ways in the intervening years from what I've heard. Mari has been quite friendly back to grammar school and to some degree over the years since with a couple of Kevin's sisters.

    I had the privilege or hearing you speak live once on behalf of Illinois Right to Life where I'm a former executive director, board member, and officer (including chairman) who'd probably still be there if I hadn't had way too many pro-life and conservative church involvements plus grad school on my plate when my wife's and my first of five sons arrived on the scene 36 years ago. A return to more active pro-life involvements as the older four of those boys finished h.s. and college and the youngest came through his jr. high years has resulted in eleven years of involvements at the state level and about five years representing Illinois on the National Right to Life Committee board of directors; one learns more about the life issues and our amazing representative republic of almost 246 years every day. The Good Lord wishing such, may the right to life be restored and our nation as we know it continue for generations to come!

  • Kelly Rowland

    05/22/2022 05:54 PM

    I have 2 comments. First, Mickey Gilley didn’t die in Pasadena - he died in Branson, MO.
    Second is a question. Since Biden doesn’t have the cognitive ability to make any presidential decisions and can’t put a sentence together without reading, who is really making the decisions? It certainly can’t be Kamala Harris because she hasn’t even done the jobs she was given - i.e. border. Whoever it is, really must hate America and it’s citizens to put Ukraine ahead of this country who is in deep trouble!
    Thank you. You may post my question or comments, but please don’t publish my name.

  • Bill Hale

    05/22/2022 05:10 PM

    It's the rock and roll hall of shame. I'm only 100 miles from them and they get a snub from this guy!

  • Michael Buchanan

    05/22/2022 04:46 PM

    Question is why hasn’t Leslie Gore every been inducted, or that I know of nominated for the R and R HOF? Careful Governor this could be a dicey subject.