First of all I want to introduce myself to everybody here. I'm so glad I'm finally on a list where there are just Whitley fans on it! Always look for other people with the same musical taste I have! I'm 30 years old, female and from Germany. I've been a fan of Keith for about 17 years. I heard him sing on J:D:Crowe's records and was crazy for this voice immediately! Before I always had told everybody no matter how good somebody is as a singer - nobody ever can touch Merle Haggard at my personal no.1 spot.
When I heard Keith I at once admitted that from now on I had two absolutely no.1's which was a surprise to everybody around me who knew how untouchable Mighty Merle has always been for me. It also was a suprise to myself that actually I let somebody else be with Merle on the first place so easily! But all it took was to hear Keith sing two lines of a song and it was clear that he would influence my musical taste so deeply! From that moment on I was running around (I was about 13 years old) telling everybody Keith Whitley was my favourite singer and it wouldn't be long til I would hear him making Country-records of his own and that he would be the next big big superstar! A few years later I heard "Miami, my amy" on the radio and was so excited and said to my Dad " That's Keith Whitley, finally he is singing on his own. I told you he would make it" And Dad was really astonished when he heard the singer's name afterwards and it was Keith. He asked me how I could have known so quick with just hearing him sing a few seconds and I told him that voice got to me so quick first time I heard him I knew at once who was this singing! From that moment on I was running around singing Miami, my amy the whole day through to this point where my girl-friends told me I was crazy and couldn't think of anything else but Keith and his song (which was mainly the truth).
Today exactly ten years ago I saw Keith in concert in the Netherlands and really had a dream come true! I was a member of his fan club by then and knew he was in the Netherlands. It was a 5/6 hours ride and everybody (incl my parents) told me that is much too far for just one concert! But I was more than sure and when I told them nothing would stop me driving to that concert Mom kinda convinced Dad to drive with me so I wouldn't fall asleep on my ride back home at night and to make the ride more economic!
After the concert Dad told me he was glad to have gone with me he was absolutely impressed by Keith as I think everybody is who really likes Country-Music! That was such a big dream coming true for me that I couldn't believe it would be fullfilled that day. I remember when we got to that place where it was supposed to be I was so excited that I asked everybody that looked like he was an American (in his band). Is Keith Whitley really here? They all seemed that a really stupid question and answered: Yes, of course he is here but he is still in his hotel with Lorrie. They were real amused to see me running around nervous and asking anybody that same question! Seeing Keith in concert I sat there staring to the stage and I was like in a trance.
To me it seemed like the concert only lasted five minutes! I couldn't believe when it was already time to sing the last song!
Afterwards he and Lorrie signed autographs and because everybody else had witnessed my crazy acting before the concert they were all like saying: She is such a big Keith Whitley fan, let her talk to him. I spoke quite a while with Keith but unfortunately I don't recall much of it because I was so nervous. I was glad I at least could talk without being so overwhelmed by my feelings that I couldn't speak anymore and just cried (that happened before first time I saw Merle and I was sure back then this would happen again with Keith but it didn't). I know we talked about Merle and Lefty and I remember one sentence Keith said to me . He said: "You are such a big Country-fan Nashville is the right place for you. You should come to Nashville." I was so proud to hear that from my favourite- singer I immediately made up my mind that I would spent my next vacation in Nashville (what I wanted to do since I was a little kid).
Next weeks I really made plans to fly. Also I told Dad on my way home that I would go to Wembley/England too where Keith was supposed to appear. When I got up next day I searched for the GB date and found out it was that same day and I couldn't make it to there in time for the concert! If it would have been a few days later I would have driven to there too. The next weeks I was running around as happy as I could be. I had seen Keith and I couldn't wait to see him again.
And then one day my Dad came into my room and told me to put the music (it was Keith like it was almost everytime) lower he had to tell me sth bad. He really had this strange look on his face that I knew at once sth real bad must have happened. "I got to tell you a sad news - just heard on the radio Keith Whitley had died." I just stared at him and couldn't say anything for a while and then asked him why and how. He told me what he had heard and I told him and my best girl-friend that was with me to please leave me alone which they did. I turned the music loud again but couldn't stand it long and turned it off and just said there staring at my walls and out the windows. I didn't cry and couldn't cry for about 1 and a half year later over it. Also I couldn't listen to Keith's music for such a long time. I always wanted to put it on and had to turn it off seconds later! Now I believe until I actually cried the first time over his death ~18 months later I blocked everything out of my mind and didn't want to realize what happened! When I heard the news I at once thought no need for me to go to Nashville anymore. If I would have gone i would have wanted to see Keith so what else reason should I have to go now! It was like 18 months I was like real empty inside. Nobody saw that. I seemed to be normal on the outside but all i could think about was Keith and I felt guilty that I couldn't put his music on and also couldn't cry. ~18 months later some day I tried again to listen to Keith on a tape in my car and this time I made me listen to it and I pulled over to the side stopped my car and cried like I never have before or since. I think that was the moment I admit to myself Keith was gone! From that moment on for about 3 years I cried as soon as I was by myself. Everytime my thoughts came to Keith I cried and I still do (sitting with tears in my eyes here now typing).
In 1995 I came to Fan Fair for the first time and the first booth I visited was of course Keith's and of course I cried again and couldn't look at the videos etc.. I met Flo and Dwight at Fan Fair and first time it was like we have been friends for years. They are so great! They do understand and I don't have to explain anything ! 1995 also was the first time I visited Keith's grave. Dwight told me on which cementary it was and how to get to that cementary. When I drove there I knew I would find Keith's grave without much searching. I knew my heart would lead me so I just drove how my heart would tell me where to turn and within five minutes I was standing there (That is no joke, it's really the truth). And I hoped seeing his grave would help me dealing with my pain and finally realizing the truth. All in all nothing helped so far to get over it. Real slow I can deal with it and live with it but I still can't believe it! I know this all might sound real crazy and strange and it is. I don't know myself why this is like it is. I tried to find that out for myself but I haven't got a clue why I have so much emotions for Keith. I still can't explain it to anybody or to myself but I am at a point where I don't want to explain it anymore. I just accept it as a fact and I don't care what other people might think of me.
Just wanted to share my thoughts with you on this special day I remember today. Even this writing about it is like trying to get some healing by letting it out in words. Thanks for taking the time to read it (if you have made it 'til here).
A Keith Whitley fan forever,
Legends never die - they live on in all our hearts!