Riding High

At 67, Mickey Gilley is one of the hardest-working country-music performers--and that ain't no bull

Mickey Gilley stood with hands on hips in front of the smoldering wreckage of his Branson, Mo., music theater. It was May 11, 1993, a date that would be forever fixed in Gilley's brain. Twenty-four hours earlier, the country-music legend had received a call at his home in Pasadena, Texas, summoning him to the site. Upon seeing the charred ruins, Gilley, a showman to the core, with a diamond-encrusted "MG" necklace and absurdly thick hair, turned to a bandmate and asked, "How am I gonna keep you guys working?"

The answer turned out to be simple: perseverance and heaps of cash....

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