In 1980, Mickey Gilley released a successful cover version of “True Love Ways.” It reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and even peaked at No. 66 on Billboard Hot 100.
This country crossover success came after Gilley decided to come up with a new sound that so many country artists – including Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers – were experiencing at that time.
While his success had slightly faded by 1979, that new sound helped each of Mickey Gilley songs released between 1980 and 1984 to become a Top Five country hit, with nine of those going to No. 1. What’s even more remarkable is that a chain of Gilley’s Clubs opened around the country.
The Story Behind The Song
“True Love Ways” was written by country singer-songwriter Buddy Holly with Norman Petty, who was actually his first producer. Petty owned the studio in Clovis, New Mexico, where all of Holly’s first recordings were made.
Holly first recorded “True Love Ways” in 1958, featuring orchestral string arrangements by conductor and producer Dick Jacobs – which heightened Holly’s vocal traits.
Sadly, Holly died in a plane crash four months later. The song was only released – for the very first time – two years later on the posthumous album The Buddy Holly Story, Vol. 2. While it failed to enter the charts in the United States, it reached No. 25 on the UK Singles Chart.
“True Love Ways” croons about how true love has always been enough to fill a couple’s heart with gratitude and their lives with happiness. Its haunting melody was inspired by one of Holly’s dearly beloved black gospel hymns, The Angelic Gospel Singers’ “I’ll Be Alright.”
You can listen to Mickey Gilley‘s riveting rendition of the song in the video below.