Music News & Reviews

Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, others mourn death of country star Earl Thomas Conley

Earl Thomas Conley
Earl Thomas Conley Photo courtesy RCA Records

Country singer Earl Thomas Conley died Wednesday at 77 years old, according to media reports and fellow country musicians.

Conley was in hospice care for several months and had a condition similar to dementia, according to The Tennessean.

Much of Conley’s success came in the late 1970s and 80s, with hit songs including “Holding Her and Loving You,” “Right From the Start,” and “What I’d Say.”

Conley had 18 No. 1 hits on the country charts, according to Billboard. Only Alabama and Ronnie Milsap had more No. 1 singles in the 80s, according to music journalist Thomas Mooney. Conley was also a three-time Academy of Country Music Male Vocalist of the Year nominee.

Toby Keith was among the country artists who commented on social media Wednesday afternoon about Conley’s death. He called him an all-time great who was a great influence on him.

Conley was the all-time favorite singer for Blake Shelton, who Conley wrote “All Over Me” with in 2002.

“My heart is absolutely destroyed today. I’m sad to report that Earl Thomas Conley passed away very early this morning,” Shelton said on Facebook. “Earl was my all-time favorite singer, hero and my friend. Prayers to his family. We will all miss you deeply my brother.”

Chris Young called Wednesday a “sad day for country music” and John Rich of Big & Rich said Conley was a huge influence on his style and songwriting.