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    Keith Whitley

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    Rank: history »
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    Most Popular Songs (more)

    Talk to Me Texas lyrics
    When You Say Nothing At All lyrics
    3To Be Loved by a Woman lyrics
    4Long Black Limousine lyrics
    Ten Feet Away lyrics
    6Where Are All The Girls I Used To Cheat With? lyrics
    7A Day in the Life of a Fool lyrics
    Don't Close Your Eyes lyrics
    9Mother No Longer Awaits Me At Home lyrics
    10I'm Losing You All Over Again lyrics

    Most Popular Albums (more)

    1Somewhere Between [Rounder] [1982]
    2I Wonder Do You Think of Me [RCA Records] [1989]
    3Sad Songs and Waltzes [Rounder Records] [1990]
    4Don't Close Your Eyes [RCA Records] [1988]
    5L.A. to Miami [BMG Special Products] [1985]
    6Hard Act to Follow [RCA Victor] [1984]
    Clinch Mountain Boys (with Ralph Stanley) [1971]
    8Second Generation Bluegrass [Rebel] [1990]
    9Greatest Hits [RCA Records] [1990]
    10Second Generation Bluegrass (with Ricky Skaggs) [R [1972]


    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.

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