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Keith Whitley

Keith Whitley's legacy loomed large over the country music landscape of the '90s. A talented new country singer and songwriter, Whitley was just beginning to emerge as a superstar at the time of his death in 1989. Throughout the next decade, his reputation as both a performer and writer continued to grow, as other artists had hits with his songs and posthumous recordings climbed into the Top Ten.

Born and raised in Kentucky, Whitley began singing as a child, winning a talent contest at the age of four. When he was eight years old, he learned how to play guitar and within a year he was singing on a Charleston, WV-based radio station. Whitley formed his first band at the age of 13, playing nothing but straight bluegrass. A few years later, he formed the Lonesome Mountain Boys with his high school friend, Ricky Skaggs. The Lonesome Mountain Boys primarily played Stanley Brothers songs and soon became a popular attraction.

In the late '60s, Ralph Stanley was looking to re-form his band after the death of his brother and partner, Carter. He was so impressed with Whitley and Skaggs, he asked them to join his Clinch Mountain Boys group. The duo accepted the offer immediately and began appearing with the band in 1970. Whitley stayed with the Clinch Mountain Boys for two years, recording a total of seven albums, including 1971's Crying From the Cross, which was named the Bluegrass Album of the Year.

In 1973, Whitley left the group. For two years, he drifted through various other bands, including acts that played country, not bluegrass. He returned to the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1975 and stayed with them for another two years. During his second tenure with the band, he made five albums. In 1978, Keith joined J.D. Crowe's band the New South. Whitley recorded three albums with the New South between 1978 and 1982, which vacillated between bluegrass and straight country (the highlights of this era were re-released on CD as Sad Songs & Waltzes in 2000).

Whitley began a full-fledged solo career after leaving the New South in 1982. Signing with RCA Records, he released his debut album, Hard Act to Follow, in 1984. A record of pure honky tonk, it didn't attract much of an audience. The following year, he released L.A. to Miami, a more commercial affair which spawned the number 14 single "Miami, My Amy." After that single peaked early in 1986, he had three back-to-back Top Ten hits: "Ten Feet Away," "Homecoming '63," and "Hard Livin'." Late in 1986, he married Lorrie Morgan.

Although L.A. to Miami was a success, its slick production didn't please Whitley. In 1987, he recorded a follow-up to the record that sounded exactly the same as its predecessor. Unsatisfied with the musical direction of his new effort, Whitley convinced RCA to shelve the completed album and have him work on another record with a new producer, Garth Fundis. Don't Close Your Eyes was the result. Released in the spring of 1988, the album solidified Whitley's commercial standing. The first three singles from Don't Close Your Eyes -- "Don't Close Your Eyes," "When You Say Nothing at All," and "I'm No Stranger to the Rain" -- were all number one hits.

Things may have been going smoothly on the surface for Keith Whitley, but behind the scenes he was being torn apart by alcoholism. On May 9, 1989, he suffered from a fatal case of alcohol poisoning; he was 34 at the time of his demise. Just before his death, he completed his fourth album, I Wonder Do You Think of Me. The record was released shortly after his death and its first single, which was the title track, reached number one, as did its follow-up, "It Ain't Nothin"; another single from the album, "I'm Over You," reached number three in 1990. During the '90s, RCA repackaged and re-released many of Whitley's recordings -- including several unreleased songs -- in various compilations. Lorrie Morgan recorded an electronic duet, "'Til a Tear Becomes a Rose," with her late husband in 1990; it peaked at number 13. In 1994, a tribute album to Whitley was released. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Known Keith since the late ' 60's . .. To bad he knotted up with that b**ch Lorri Morgin ... It destroyed him ... She treated him bad, cheated on him, her ego was out of control, so I've been told(coverin g my a**),her father was a star, she thought she was 2 ... Of well ... S**t happens ...
Kieth sorry . Buddy
Keith was a great singer, he was just getting started
No se conformaron con Francisco tuvieron q seguir le con Raúl haber quienes daba mas Felicidades gracias por la invitación las fotos estuvieron bien..
Nomas mi recurrdo queda..
Sabes q no hay necesidad d apostar ya estaba dicho.q jamas los iba ver...y t dije buen trabajo mereces un aplauso.
Que Descansen En Paz hijos mis...Thank You Gracias por sus Verdades..pe a c e out... Francisco hay tienes tu verdad y mi desgracia no nomas es 1 son los 3 menos LOS niños q tienes con.ERIKA y la "MADRASTRA" aka tia Ruby ESMERALDA Contreras..e s p e r o q tengas feliz Navidad apostamos si no es cierto adoptaron a Bianca y le cambiaron el nombre atinle?? Y Adrián pregunta?? Suerte..felí z 15 Bianca
emi1208
))8)88)88788 8 n j t y l j e n i h je��
What a voice! Love him.
You will be kissed by your crush if you post this on 5 different songs but if you don't you will get embarrassed in front of you crush or your crush will date someone else
Love all old school music
Had to stop & get my fix of Keith
Me and my boyfriend song I am in love with thia song
It was Love just ten feet away
Not a song I don't know or can't sing!
cjparadise
Brings me back to a day......
!!
I love this song so much.... It's hard sometimes to listen to it ever since I lost someone special... But now and then it brings back good memories...
dghog11
my friend with the most beautiful voice ever
Awesome
Dont read this cuz it actually works. Post this and u will b kissed on the nearest possible friday by the luv of ur life. However if u dont u'll die in 2 days. Now u've stàrted reading dont stop! Put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 min. When dun press f6 and ur lovers name will com obn screen in big letters! This is sooo scary cuz it works!
Reminds me of my daddy!!!
True talent taken like so many others
Catch you whenever you fall..I lv u
Never get tired of this song
God Bless You! Amazing voice!! Eternal rest grant unto him! Amen!
Best singer ever
This is a great song
Great song!

Keith we miss u , love all his songs !!!
PLEASE PLAY MORE OF JOHNNY RODREQES
Wonderful voice died to young.
Good song.
An angels voice on HIGH! Loven & missn u always, Keith.
The greatest of all time! If he could have beat the Bottle he would have surpassed everyone! In my eyes he did
tori country girl and red neck ur hot
This song go to that ugly b**ch Destiny
Great song
Hi how are you
Hi
Greatest country singer of all time one of the best voices ever to sing into a mic by far should had been more of his music for all his fans to hear sad he had to go so early.. rip whitley
evam2004
I miss you. YOU ARE AND ALWAYS BE ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES. UP THERE WITH ELVIS IN MY HEART!!
RIP for TJ
RIP...great singer.....
I loved his music, don't close your eyes love it!
What can you say about this guy...I believe if he was still with us we be putting him and King George's in the same sentence, but sadly, we will never know.
I love his songs
Love this song
Keith?
Love all of his songs best country artist of the 80's
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