Amid Parkinson’s Diagnosis, Johnny Lee Announces Farewell Tour
Farewell tours seem to come and go these days, and whether they’re truly a farewell tour or just an excuse to sell tickets is usually up for interpretation. But diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and now at the age of 76, this may be the last time you get to see this country legend perform live.
Johnny Lee was one of country music’s biggest stars in the early 80’s, amassing five #1 hits, twelve Top 10’s, and was the singer of one of the era’s most iconic songs, “Lookin’ For Love” made famous by the movie Urban Cowboy. The movie was inspired and filmed at the club of Johnny Lee’s good friend, Mickey Gilley, who he toured with often later in life. The two defined the Urban Cowboy era in country music.
“The good Lord has given me a wonderful life and the absolute most loyal fans in the world,” Johnny says. “The music and fans have meant everything to me. Over the last couple of years, Parkinson’s has been a pain in the…butt. This is a big announcement and one I am not making easily. So come on out and join us for a night of music and memories as we kick off the ‘Hey Bartender, Last Call: The Farewell Tour.’ This isn’t the end…this is only the right now.”
The majority of dates are centered in Texas where Johnny Lee is from, with a few more in various places where Johnny Lee has kept a following in recent years, along with multiple stints at the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre in Branson where Johnny Lee has performed often in recent years.
Like so many older stars, Johnny Lee got edged out of country as his career matured. By the time the “Class of ’89” showed up with artists like Garth Brooks and Clint Black, Lee could no longer be found on the charts. A few years ago when being interviewed, Johnny Lee let his opinions be known about modern country music.
“I don’t even listen to that crap,” Johnny Lee said. “People that like guys like me and Mickey Gilley, and Conway Twitty or anybody like that, George Jones, I feel like they got the music taken away from them, with them not having a voice in it.”
Johnny Lee is a last of the breed for sure.
Hey Bartender, Last Call: The Farewell Tour Dates:
FEB 09 – Main Street Crossing / Tomball, Texas
FEB 10 – Silver Spur Gala – Museum of Natural Science / Houston, Texas
FEB 11 – Moonlight Inn / French Settlement, La.
FEB 13 – Cactus Theater / Lubbock, Texas
FEB 15 – The Liberty / Roswell, N.M.
FEB 16 – The Hitching Post / Apache Junction, Ariz.
FEB 17 – Agua Caliente Casino / Rancho Mirage, Calif. (with Crystal Gayle)
FEB 18 – Mazatzal Casino / Payson, Ariz.
MAR 04 – 11th Street Cowboy Bar / Bandera, Texas
APR 15 – The Texan Theater / Cleveland, Texas
APR 16 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
APR 23 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
APR 30 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
MAY 07 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
MAY 14 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
MAY 17 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
MAY 27 – Real Life Amphitheater / Selma, Texas (with T.G. Sheppard, Moe Bandy, Joe Stampley, Janie Fricke, and Moore & Moore)
MAY 28 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
JUN 24 – Liberty Showcase Theater / Liberty, N.C.
SEP 03 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
SEP 07 – Tackle Box / Chico, Calif.
SEP 08 – Eagle Mountain Casino / Porterville, Calif. (with Crystal Gayle)
SEP 10 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
SEP 17 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
SEP 24 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
OCT 01 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
OCT 08 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
OCT 15 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
OCT 22 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
OCT 29 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
DEC 03 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
DEC 10 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
DEC 17 – Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre / Branson, Mo.
David: The Duke of Everything
February 14, 2023 @ 6:36 pm
Sad to see. But like he says, he’s had a pretty blessed life. I wish him the best
February 14, 2023 @ 7:33 pm
He gets lumped in with the rest of the “Urban Cowboy” crowd that ultimately prompted the rise of the New Traditionalist movement (Skaggs et al), but he made some damn fine country records in the 80s, including his definitive take on Michael Martin Murphy’s “Cherokee Fiddle” and the Steve Earle-penned “When You Fall in Love”.
February 15, 2023 @ 8:47 am
Songs like “Bet Your Heart on Me” and “Picking Up Strangers” were excellent examples of the smooth, easy listening country that came out of Nashville in the ’70s and ’80s (at least until the New Traditionalist sea change of the late ’80s). Was it raw, authentic, fiddle-and-steel country music? No, but it was tuneful, listenable and aimed at adults rather than teens and 20-somethings.
February 14, 2023 @ 10:37 pm
My grandma has Parkinson’s disease, she is about 75 years old it was detected 7 years ago. Right now it’s getting more difficult to live for her, because of stiff muscles she can’t even move. L-dopa and carbidopa medicines are given, but won”t give much relief. She can”t eat food and the skin is damaging forming ganglia. I thought this might be the last stage and the medications she was given did not help at all, so I started to do alot of research on natural treatments, I was introduced to Health Natural Centre and their Parkinson’s Herbal Protocol. She started on the Parkinson’s Treatment last year, her symptoms gradually diminished including her Tremors, Body Weakness and Muscle Pains. Reach them at health natural centre.org , She is getting active again since starting this treatment, she is able to walk again ( down the street and back ) and able to ride her treadmill again! God Bless all PD Caregivers. Stay Strong, take small moments throughout the day to thank yourself, to love your self, and pray to whatever faith, star, spiritual force you believe in and ask for strength. I can personally vouch for these remedy but you would probably need to decide what works best for you.
February 15, 2023 @ 6:11 am
He is responsible for bringing country music to so many people that didnt have any country music on the radio, and along with ‘Urban Cowboy’ he changed that forever.
When I grew uo outside NYC, there was no country music on the radio despite a few AM stations that had a very short range, but when the Urban Cowboy soundtrack came out that was changed and Johnny Lee was at the top of the heap.
Hope his shows go well!
February 15, 2023 @ 9:05 am
“Johnny Lee was one of country music’s biggest stars in the early 80’s, amassing five #1 hits, twelve Top 10’s, and was the singer of one of the era’s most iconic songs, “Lookin’ For Love””
Had no idea this guy sang that song.
(One of the reasons i love this site)
Always liked that song and the voice that sang it.
Too cool that he is going out touring, & his fans are behind him.
February 15, 2023 @ 2:01 pm
Was blessed a couple years ago to Johnny at the Opry then a couple nights later at the Charlie Daniels volunteer jam tribute at Brisgestone Arena. Glad toget a chance to hear him!
Sir Adam the Great
February 15, 2023 @ 2:53 pm
I saw him at the CD tribute as well. He didn’t look well then. But John Daly of all people sang with him on “Lookin’ For Love”. It was surreal.
February 15, 2023 @ 4:02 pm
Yes and his daughter was right with him both nights.
That was quite a night of so many artists at the CBD tribute.
Also seeing Randy Travis in person again ( last saw him at the Delaware State Fair in 1990!)
was quite a blessing as well, even if he just sang “AAAAmmmmmmeeeennnnn!!” Worth it!!
Rickie Jon Connors
February 15, 2023 @ 3:29 pm
Lookin For Love was one of those great songs of that era which is damn near perfect. Nothing I would change in the instrumentation, vocal or writing. I’d put Tennessee Fiddle in the same bracket.
Thanks for the memories, JL. And best of luck in the rest of your journey.
February 16, 2023 @ 2:17 am
“Lookin’ for Love (in all the Wrong Places)” is a favorite of mine! I seem to recall seeing a video of Johnny Lee performing it at Ray Stevens’ CabaRay in Nashville, but I can’t seem to find it now. My thoughts and prayers go out the Johnny Lee, his family, friends, colleagues, and fans. Thank you, Johnny Lee, for a lifetime of entertainment, and inspiration!
February 16, 2023 @ 9:33 am
Could’ve Heard A Heart Break
February 16, 2023 @ 2:19 pm
Oh,crap .Loved Johnny’s “Lookin’ For Love ” and You Could Have Heard A Heart Break.” Johnny Lee was identified with the Urban Cowboy movement,but he was a great singer.Too bad he’s battling Parkinson’s,and all the best from this black Canadian cowboy,pardner !!!!
February 18, 2023 @ 9:14 am
Just saw Johnny Lee 11 hrs ago opening for Crystal Gayle in Palm Springs, Ca. A “bucket list” item for me to see him! Literally left in tears. The man still gives 100% to the audience and his fans. If you have ever been thinking some day I am gonna see him in concert- today is some day. Sooooo glad I did! The great memories he is still able to bring to all of us from the “Urban Cowboy” days – is “Spot on”. — side note. Prior to the concert-> This old “knucklehead” here “was looking for Parking Places in all the wrong places”! As I drove the back parking lot, I saw Johnny’s Motorhome/Bus. On the front of the bus painted in bold was a Texas Longhorn with the caption underneath it was “URBAN COWBOY”. OMG! The man travels in the “The Front Row”. An AWESOME RIDE” for a true class gentleman, singer/ARTIST/Person
February 22, 2023 @ 5:34 pm
John, I remember the days of the Nesadale was good Ole days. Good luck and good health going forward. Will try to catch you in liberty.
March 17, 2023 @ 5:02 am
Johnny, I hate this as I know you do! But you are right the good Lord has blessed you! You gave a beautiful daughter and grandbabies. I like many others have loved you and your music since the Urban Cowboy. I listen to all the older songs and what they play now is crap!! I will see you in Branson many times. My wish is that I meet you and hug your neck, this would mean so much to me. I love you and I will be praying for you,