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Kay Hayes remembers her friend KEITH.

Kay Hayes is the wife of Randy Hayes, and was very close with Keith.

I REMEMBER
KEITH WHITLEY
BY
KAY HAYES

 

The first time I saw Keith was in Berea, Ky., he was playing at the college with J.D. Crowe, this was in 1980.  I thought what a wonderful voice this person has.
Shortly after that, my husband, Randy Hayes was asked to join J.D. 's band and we drove to Ohio for a show so Randy could familiarize himself with J. D.'s show.  That was the first time I talked with Keith.  I could tell right away he was a big cut up and really liked people.  We listened to J.D.'s tape, "My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame" on the way home and I fell in love with Keith's voice that night.

  From that day on Keith became a very speical friend of mine.  Randy and I visited him at his home and he came to ours.  We became very close friends over the next few years as Randy continued to play with Keith.  Keith had a special place in my heart.  He became like a brother.  He would call when he was happy or sad.  When I started college he encouraged me and told me how important an education would be if I ever needed to support myself.

  Keith and I sat and talked on many occasions before a show while the band was getting things ready for a sound check.  He would talk to me about his loves and losses, which I would never repeat.  We had many special talks as friends, which I cherish in my memories of him.  

Keith was also a special friend to my son, Shaun.  He knew Shaun liked Michael Jordan, the basketball player, and Keith would call him Larry Byrd, who was on a rival team and Shaun didn' t like, just as a joke to get Shaun to argue with him.  Shaun still has a pair of silly glasses that Keith gave him on the bus one day.  

Keith always treated Randy, Shaun and myself like family, he invited us to stay all night with him in Nashville.  The next morning he took out his guitar and played "On the Other Hand" he wanted Randy's opinion of the song.  This was before anyone had recorded it.  I will never forget sitting there and listening to him play and sing that song, how I wish I had a recorder on, the song never sounded better.  We have 2 songs that Keith recorded in his apartment just for Randy on a cassette player which hold a special place in our hearts, Keith starts out by saying "for Cos" and he sang "High Steel and Memories" and "Revelations".  

The last time I saw Keith was in March 1989 and I thought how stressed out and tired he looked.  But he still gave me that million dollar smile that he had and a hug like always and told me how glad he was to see me.  I watched his performance that night, not knowing it would be the last one I would ever see.  Like always, that beautiful voice and that smile shown through to the audience.  

I will never forget the last words he said to me that night, he hugged me and said "I love you and take care of my little buddy", meaning Randy "Cosmos" as Keith called him.  Randy had taken a few months off the road and Keith had talked him in to coming back in June 1989.  He said he wanted Randy to ride on his new bus with him.  And as you all know, Keith died in May 1989.  

I loved Keith as a special friend and will never forget him because he did have a great impact on my life.  I miss him as much today as ever.  Keith will always and forever remain in my heart and I will grieve the loss of him every day of my life.  I don't grieve the loss of Keith for country music, which it was a big loss, I grieve the loss of the man, my friend.  I miss his hugs, his smile and the special way he always treated me.  I feel lucky to have known Keith, he brought a lot into my life that I would never have got to experience if it wasn't for him.  By not knowing Keith I could have missed the pain but I would have missed the dance....................The dance was much more important...........................  

I have pictures of Keith in almost every room of my home.  I have so many snapshots of Keith , they fill up an entire picture album.  I have many keepsakes that love nor money could buy.  I have one room completely decorated with Keith's pictures, it is like a shrine to Keith.

  So as Keith's fans remember him on the 10th year anniversary of his death, remember what a special human being he was along with the best voice to ever grace country music.