This year would have been Keith Whitley’s 66th birthday. Sadly, he died in 1989 from alcohol intoxication after a short life that began on July 1st, 1955, in Ashland, Kentucky. He was a young man of 33. Even so, the work he has produced in the short time he has been an artist continues to influence and inspire others. In 2019, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled an exhibit honouring the artist, and it’s safe to assume that he’ll be considered for future inclusion.
He made multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry during the beginning of Whitley’s career as an artist with RCA Recordings as his hit records, such as “When You Say Nothing at All, “I’m No Stranger to the Rain,” and “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” the No. 1 country single in 1988, rose to the charts. Whitley had no idea, at the time of his death, that he was three weeks away from being invited to join the Grand Ole Opry as an official member (just as his wife and RCA labelmate Lorrie Morgan had been since 1984).
When he appeared on the Grand Ole Opry for the last time, country music star Blake Whitley sang two songs off his Don’t Close Your Eyes LP in one of his final guest slots. “I Never Go Around Mirrors,” a Lefty Frizzell weeper, is followed by the now-classic title track, which he plays, prefacing it by mentioning that it will be released as a single soon.
Ferguson, editor of The Elliott County News and husband Elmer Whitley were from Ashland, Kentucky, although Faye was raised in Sandy Hook, where she graduated from Sandy Hook High School. Whitley was born in Ashland. Randy and Dwight were his brothers, and Mary was his sister. Elliott County has been home to the Whitleys, an English and Scots-Irish family since the 1840s.
When Whitley was an adolescent in Sandy Hook, he and his buddies would drink illegal bourbon and race their automobiles down mountain roads at dangerous speeds while hanging out with their mates.
Whitley was in a car that attempted to round a curve at 120 miles per hour (190 kilometres per hour). The automobile slammed into a tree, killing Whitley’s friend and nearly injuring him. During another instance, his car plunged 120 feet (37 metres) into an icy river and he was able to escape with a broken collar bone.
Whitley’s brother Randy and father Elmer was killed in a motorbike accident in October 1983.
Cause of Death
Lane Palmer, Whitley’s brother-in-law, visited him on May 9, 1989, less than two months before Whitley’s 35th birthday. Whitley and Lorrie Morgan met for coffee and discussed their plans for the rest of the day, which included a round of golf and lunch before Whitley began creating songs for him to record with Lorrie Morgan when she returned from her concert tour. At around 8:30 a.m., Palmer left and asked Whitley to be ready to go within an hour of his departure. When Palmer returned to Whitley’s room, he found him unresponsive and dialled 911. After Whitley’s death, he was brought to the hospital where he died.
Acute ethanol was listed as the official cause of death (alcohol poisoning).
 According to the Davidson County Medical Examiner, Whitley’s blood alcohol content was 0.47. (the equivalent of 20 one-ounce shots of 100-proof whiskey). According to his birth certificate and passport, he was born in 1954, however, RCA and his gravestone incorrectly said that he was born in 1955.
The day after Whitley’s death, the streets of Music Row were decked with black ribbons. Located just outside of Nashville, in Spring Hill Cemetery, lies his mortal remains. (Part One) “Forever yours faithfully” (Part One) “His being was my purpose” (Part One) (part two). Both Whitley and Morgan have a future burial location just next to each other, which is why “yours” in part one refers to Whitley and “mine” in part two.
A Successful Career in The Music Industry
Neotraditional Country Singers Like George Strait and Randy Travis Have Made Whitley’s Music Famous.
At a Competition in Ezel, Kentucky, He Was Joined by His Brother Dwight, Who Was Playing a Five-String Banjo at The Time. Also, Competing Was Ricky Skaggs. Skaggs and Whitley Struck up A Friendship Almost Immediately.
A Flat Tyre Caused Ralph Stanley, Who Was 45 Minutes Late for A Concert in Ft. Gay, West Virginia, to Stumble upon Whitley, 16, and Skaggs, 16.
Citations Are Needed It Was Stanley Who First Saw the Jukebox Playing What He Took to Be the Stanley Brothers. the Duo Who “sounded Just Like Me and Carter in The Early Days” Were Whitley and Skaggs. According to The Citations Cited Above, Ralph Invited the Two to Join His Band. in 1974, Whitley Took Over as Stanley’s Lead Singer. the Citation for This Statement Is Not Available.
for A While in The Mid-1970s, Whitley Was Also a Member of J.D. Crowe and The New South. One of The Most Diverse and Accomplished Lead Singers in Bluegrass Emerged During This Period. He Was Highly Influenced by Carter Stanley and Lefty Frizzell in His Singing. when He Relocated to Nashville in 1983 in Order to Pursue a Career in Country Music, RCA Records Quickly Offered Him a Recording Contract.
This Is Whitley’s Debut Solo Album and It Features a More Popular Country Flavour. Whitley Put Forth a Lot of Time and Effort Trying to Develop His Own Sound, but The Results Were Mixed. the Album Was Panned by Critics for Being Too Unpredictable. L.A. to Miami, Whitley’s Third Studio Album, Was Recorded Over the Course of The Next Few Years as He Refined His Sound.