Vince Gill in 1994, left, and Vince Gill in 2019
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Vince Gill Through the Years: A Modern Country Icon's Life in Photos


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April 12, 2022 marks the 65th birthday of country music king Vince Gill.

The future star (full name Vincent Grant Gill) was born in Norman, Okla. to J. Stanley Gill, a lawyer and administrative law judge, and Jerene Gill. Gill had an older maternal half-brother, Bob Coen.

While attending Northwest Classen High School, Gill started playing in local bluegrass outfit Mountain Smoke-- the same group that got booed off the stage in the mid-'70s while opening for KISS. The early-life seeds of Gill's bluegrass roots were first planted by his father, who'd encouraged his son to learn to play guitar, banjo, dobro, mandolin and other stringed instruments.

After graduation, Gill moved from Oklahoma to Kentucky, where he joined the band Bluegrass Alliance and, later on, Ricky Skaggs' Boone Creek. Gill then moved to Los Angeles, where he performed with fiddler Byron Berline in the group Sundance.

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By the end of the '70s, Gill's career trajectory took a left turn from bluegrass toward countrified rock music.

Pure Prairie League

Pure Prarie League at Chicagofest in Chicago, Illinois, August 14, 1980.

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Gill's mainstream career began in 1979 when he joined country rock band Pure Prairie League, a group already known for the hit song "Amie." Gill can first be heard on the band's album Can't Hold Back.

Gill's Pure Prairie League stint is better known for 1980's "Let Me Love You Tonight," an adult contemporary No. 1 and a Top 10 Billboard pop hit on which he handles lead singer duties.

A piece of intriguing pop music "what if" unfolded around the same time when Mark Knopfler offered Gill a spot in Dire Straits. Gill declined, though he did provide background vocals for Dire Strait's 1981 album On Every Street.

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Early Days in Country Music

Vince Gill at the Palomino in California

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Marie Osmond, Vince Gill and Sylvia at the 20th Annual ACM Awards

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After leaving the Pure Prairie League, Gill entered the country music fray with Cherry Bombs (aka The Notorious Cherry Bombs), the supergroup that backed Rodney Crowell. The band first teamed Gill with two of his future producers: Tony Brown and Emory Gordy Jr.

Gill signed with RCA in the early '80s as a solo artist for the 12-inch mini-album Turn Me Loose (1984) and two full-lengths, The Things That Matter (1985) and The Way Back Home (1987). Three Top 10 singles during this run (Rosanne Cash duet "If It Weren't For Him" plus "Oklahoma Borderline" and "Cinderella") failed to crack Nashville's glass ceiling and turn a clearly gifted vocalist and songwriter into a household name. Though his RCA stint did earn Gill the 1984 Academy of Country Music (ACM) award for Top New Male Vocalist.

Other '80s accomplishments of note for Gill include session work as a multi-instrumentalist for artists ranging from Gail Davies to Sissy Spacek.

When I Call Your Name

Producer Tony Brown with Vince Gill

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Vince Gill live shot from the 1990s.

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In the same year that introduced us to Garth Brooks and other game-changers for the coming decade, Gill's fiscal and critical fortunes changed with his MCA Records debut, 1989's When I Call Your Name.

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It marked multiple firsts for Gill: his first Top 5 hits (the title track and "Never Knew Lonely") plus his first of 22 Grammy awards (1990 Best Country Vocal Performance, Male for the title track).

The studio album's success (plus the chart performance of 1991's Pocket Full of Gold and its singles) positioned Gill, a high and soulful tenor singer and elite guitarist, to be one of country music's top traditionalist voices as the genre entered a lucrative decade.

A '90s Country Megastar

Country Singer Vince Gill and R&B/Soul Singer Gladys Knight attend the Record Release Press Conference for the R&B/Country Artists Duets Album-"Rhythm Country & Blues" on March 23, 1994 at Universal Hilton Hotel in Universal City, California.

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Reba McEntire and Vince Gill at the 1994 opening of the Country Star restaurant.

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By the middle of the 1990s, Gill had become a member of the Grand Ole Opry (1991) and had scored multiple No. 1 hits ("I Still Believe in You," "Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away," "One More Last Chance," "Tryin' to Get Over You" and Reba McEntire collaboration "The Heart Won't Lie") on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. His shelf of ACM Awards filled up, while Country Music Association honors (CMA Awards) for the singer-songwriter included consecutive Entertainer of the Year wins (1993, 1994).

Though 1994's "Go Rest High on that Mountain" stalled at No. 15 on the charts, it's as important a piece of Gill's Country Music Hall of Fame puzzle as any No. 1 hit or industry award. Gill's most heart-wrenching song was inspired by the deaths of country star Keith Whitley and Gill's older half-brother, Bob.

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Gill's momentum kept rolling through the decade, with 1998's The Key becoming his first No. 1 country album.

American Music Master

Kris Kristofferson and Vince Gill during 2003 BMI Country Music Awards at BMI Nashville in Nashville,.

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Eagles members Vince Gill and Don Henley perform onstage during The Classic West at Dodger Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

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Gill's 21st-century output has solidified his status as an American music master. The past 22 years have brought Gill fans such treats as his time as a member of Tennessee-based country swing band The Time Jumpers and his contribution to one of the most meaningful country songs in recent memory, Maren Morris' collaboration "Dear Hate."

Solid solo albums have continued to reach fans' ears, most notably 2006's These Days. And in a full-circle moment, an artist whose big-label career began in country rock became a member of the Eagles in 2017.

Gill joined the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. Two years later, he was enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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Personal Life

Singer Vince Gill poses for a photo with his wife, Janis Gill, and daughter Jenny Gill during a circa 1990s photo shoot at their home in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Amy Grant and Vince Gill at "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at the NBC Studios in Burbank, Ca. Wednesday, July 17, 2002.

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Gill met Janis Oliver of the country duo Sweethearts of the Rodeo in the 1970s while both were trying to break into the music business. They wed in 1980 and had one daughter together in 1982, Jennifer Jerene Gill (now known as country artist Jenny Gill). The couple divorced in 1997.

Gill met his second wife, Christian artist Amy Grant, in 1993 during her appearance on his first televised Christmas special. The couple got married in 2000 and have since welcomed a daughter, Corrina Grant Gill (birthdate March 12, 2001).

Vince Gill Net Worth

Alice Cooper, Vince Gil and Smokey Robinson during 1997 VH1 Fairway to Heaven in Las Vegas.

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Throughout his journey from picking bluegrass near his Oklahoma birthplace to his current status as one of country music's elder statespeople, Gill has amassed an estimated net worth of around $30 million.

READ MORE: Kurt Russell Through the Years: The Hollywood Star's Life in Photos

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