A Look Back at How Gilley’s Gave Us ‘Urban Cowboy’

November 20, 2020 | By Joe Nick Patoski

The shout-out the 1980 film Urban Cowboy received earlier this month at the Country Music Association Awards show got me thinking about its stars, John Travolta and Debra Winger, and the funky old place that roused an era of garishly feathered hat bands, belt buckles the size of hubcaps, jewelry-studded designer jeans, and $1,000 boots: Gilley’s Nightclub in Pasadena.

They Had Us at Jalapeño-Infused Bacon

February 13, 2018 | By

Unlike its coastal cousins, the city of Pasadena to the immediate southeast of Houston is not usually considered a getaway destination. Thanks to its association with the 1980 film Urban Cowboy, Pasadena tends to conjure images of industrial refineries and roughnecks cutting loose on honky-tonk weekends, testing their mettle on a mechanical bull.

The October 2023 issue of Texas Highways "Tastes Like Home"

Get the Magazine

Save up to 68% off the cover price


True Texas in Your Inbox

Sign up for magazine extras, upcoming events, Mercantile specials, subscription offers, and more.