In 1973, Mickey Gilley found himself in a studio in Pasadena, Texas, with a club owner, Sherwood Cryer, recording singles for a local jukebox company. As a joke, Gilley recorded a classic country song, replicating the style of his famous cousin, singer and songwriter Jerry Lee Lewis. The song, named “Room Full of Roses,” went on to become a number one single on the Billboard Top 100 Hot Country Songs chart in June 1974.
The song’s success propelled Gilley to the top of the country music world overnight, leading to his other hit songs topping the charts while he was on tour. His Pasadena nightclub, Gilley’s, became the place to be, commonly referred to as the “largest honky tonk in the world.”
It’s reported that some of the top country musicians played at the club. Gilley is credited with opening the door for many artists and influencing clothing styles by making country music mainstream. Gilley changed the trajectory of popular culture with his pop-friendly songs by opening up the genre to a new, broader audience.
At the time of Gilley’s emergence into the spotlight, the Houston area was booming with money flowing in from the oil fields and refineries — allowing Cryer, his partner, to purchase Gilley many gifts for each number one single he produced. These gifts included a new Lincoln, which he gave to his parents; diamond rings; and a 1977 Lincoln Continental Mark V finished in Rose Diamond Fire to commemorate “Room Full of Roses,” the single that made his career possible.
Lot #443.1, his 1977 Lincoln Continental Mark V, is offered with No Reserve at the 2022 Houston Auction, October 20-22 at NRG Center. It is one of 163 cars built in its color and trim combination and features a factory rose-colored sunroof, Marti Report and two Build Sheets.
It’s reported that Gilley could often be found displaying the car around the Houston area. It was usually parked prominently in front of his club, which later became the backdrop for the movie “Urban Cowboy,” based on an Esquire magazine article about two regulars at Gilley’s. The film starred John Travolta and Debra Winger. Gilley, along with country singer Johnny Lee and many other performers, contributed songs to the movie’s soundtrack.
Gilley’s career began to decline in the late ’80s, prompting him to sell several cars from his collection, but he held on to the Lincoln offered due to its importance — it represents the single that made him a star in the U.S.
Gilley later moved to Branson, Missouri, and opened a theater where he enjoyed great success throughout the ’90s and early 2000s. He passed away on May 7, 2022, at 86 years old.
Register to bid today to see this legendary car with a rich Texan history at the 2022 Houston Auction, October 20-22 at NRG Center.
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