Keith Whitley

During his successful yet brief career as a solo performer, American singer-songwriter Keith Whitley (July 1, 1954) managed to score an impressive slew of Number 1 hit singles that dominated the country airwaves before his untimely death in 1989. Born in Ashland but raised in Sandy Hook, the Kentucky native was just 8 when picked up the guitar and by the time he was a teenager, he was already playing in a bluegrass band named The Lonesome Mountain Boys with high school friend Ricky Skaggs. The group caught the attention of legendary bluegrass musician Ralph Stanley, who invited Whitley and Skaggs to join his Clinch Mountain Boys outfit in 1970. After a five-year tenure with the band and over a dozen releases, Keith Whitley left the group to join J.D. Crowe’s The New South in 1978. Following his departure from Crowe's band in 1982, he moved to Nashville and embarked on a solo career that started with 1984’s Hard Act to Follow. Despite receiving mixed reviews from the press, the album featured a more mainstream country style that would become more prominent on Keith Whitley’s sophomore effort, L.A. to Miami (1985), which included the Top 10 singles “Ten Feet Away,” “Homecoming ‘63,” and “Hard Livin’.” His meteoric rise to fame continued with 1988’s Don’t Close Your Eyes, a soaring commercial blockbuster that spawned the Number 1 hit singles “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “When You Say Nothing at All,” and “I’m No Stranger to the Rain,” propelling the album to Number 8 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. Surprisingly, things took a turn for the worse in 1989 as his drinking problems worsened and he died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 34. I Wonder Do You Think of Me, his posthumous album, came out in 1989 and reached Number 2 on the country charts thanks to the chart-topping singles “I Wonder Do You Think of Me” and “It Ain't Nothin.” In the following years, several compilations and posthumous releases were issued, most notably 1995’s Wherever You Are Tonight and 2000’s Sad Songs & Waltzes.

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Stations Featuring Keith Whitley

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