Mickey Gilley was born in Natchez, Mississippi in 1936 and grew up in nearby Ferriday, Louisiana. He grew up alongside his two famous cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart. It was here where his love of music grew by sneaking up to the windows of clubs to absorb the haunting sound of Louisiana rhythm and blues.
Mickey learned to play piano at an early age but did not achieve the success like his cousin Jerry Lee until later. He moved to Houston, Texas to work construction but at night he played in the local club scene. He recorded his first song in Memphis for Dot Records and later performed as a singer and pianist in cities throughout the south. Eventually, his career path returned him to the Pasadena area where he began performing at the Nesadel Club and quickly developed into one of the city's most popular acts.
In 1971 along with a business partner he opened Gilley's. The club would grow and one day be known as the world's largest honky-tonk. It was here that Mickey started experiencing his first success when he released "Room Full of Roses". By the mid-seventies his songs were hitting the country charts with regularity.