If you are a fan of country music, you might be familiar with the song “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley. It was released in March 1988 as the third single from his album of the same name, and it became his first number-one hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It was also the number-one country song of the year 1988, according to Billboard.

The song was written by Bob McDill, a prolific songwriter who has written more than 30 number-one hits for various artists. McDill got the inspiration for the song from a 1978 movie called “California Suite”, written by Neil Simon. In the movie, there is a scene where a character played by Alan Alda tells his wife, played by Jane Fonda, not to close her eyes when they make love, because he thinks she is imagining someone else.

The song tells the story of a man who is in love with a woman who is still hung up on her ex. He begs her not to close her eyes when they are together, because he fears she is fantasizing about him. He asks her to let go of the past and give him a chance to show her more love than she has ever known.

The song is considered one of Keith Whitley’s signature songs, and one of the most emotional and powerful ballads in country music history. Whitley’s soulful and heartfelt vocals convey the pain and desperation of the narrator, as well as his hope and determination to win her over.

Whitley recorded the song in 1987, with Garth Fundis as the producer. The song features acoustic guitar, piano, steel guitar, and strings. It has a slow tempo and a simple melody that emphasizes Whitley’s voice.

The song was well received by critics and fans alike, and it helped establish Whitley as one of the leading voices of the new traditionalist movement in country music. The song also earned him several awards and nominations, including a Grammy nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.

Unfortunately, Whitley did not live long enough to enjoy the full success of his career. He died on May 9, 1989, at the age of 33, from alcohol poisoning. His death shocked and saddened the country music community, and left a lasting legacy on the genre.

The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including Alan Jackson, Kellie Pickler, Garth Brooks, and Kxng Crooked. It remains one of the most popular and beloved songs in country music, and a testament to Whitley’s talent and influence.

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