10 Keith Whitley Songs Every Country Fan Should Know
Keith Whitley's smooth baritone-tenor marks his best songs from a half-decade worth of records and many more years' worth of proper romanticizing. The vocalist is perhaps more cherished by the current generation of country stars than he was at the time of his death in 1989. The revolution is real.
The Kentucky-raised '80s country hitmaker released one EP before finding success with songs on the L.A. to Miami album. Don't Close Your Eyes is the definitive Keith Whitley experience, however, as it features his three most recognizable and long-lasting hits and the Top 3 songs on this list of Whitley's all-time best.
Radio hits, an under-appreciated album cut, a vintage cover song and one fine duet mark this list of the Top 10 Keith Whitley songs. His voice is considered by many of his contemporaries as among the finest ever in country music. The praise goes beyond tonal quality. At a young age, Whitley proved capable of being gruff and vulnerable, in love and love-stricken, tender and strong. Often songs on this list of Whitley's best songs show several of these emotions — it's this complexity that makes him part of the country music conversation still today and helped earn him induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame as part of the newly announced Class of 2022.
Keith Whitley died on May 9, 1989, after a weekend spent partying. Alcoholism led to his death, even as wife Lorrie Morgan (who appears in two places here) did what she could to get him sober. The star was just 33 years old at the time of his death, and posthumous releases would prove there was still so much great music to be made. Read on for the definitive list of Keith Whitley's best songs, as compiled from staff and reader opinion, sales and chart data and impact on his legacy.