Kenneth Ray Rogers (August 21, 1938 – March 20, 2020) was an American singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and entrepreneur. He was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
+++++And his name was really Kenny Rogers and that sort of blows you away, when you stop to think about it…+++++
In 1999, Rogers scored with the single “The Greatest”, a song about life from a child’s point of view (looked at through a baseball game)…The song reached the top 40 of Billboard’s Country singles chart and was a Country Music Television Number One video. It was on Rogers’ album She Rides Wild Horses the following year (itself a top 10 success).
(A kid is out in a field trying to hit a baseball and the kid feels like he is “The Greatest” hitter of all…The ball goes up and the ball comes down and the ball ends up laying on the ground…The kid can’t hit the ball, but in learning about his ‘lack of hitting’, the young kid realizes he is “The Greatest” pitcher of all…Neat video and the song sticks out and it proves you may not be so good at one thing, but you may in turn, be good at another)….
CLICK HERE to see the video “The Greatest” from YouTube…
In the late 1950s, he started his recording career with jazz-singer Bobby Doyle, and joined the folk ensemble the New Christy Minstrels in 1961, playing double bass and bass guitar as well as singing.
In 1967, he and several members of the New Christy Minstrels left to found the group the First Edition, with whom he scored his first major hit, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”, a psychedelic rock song which peaked at number five on the Billboard charts. As Rogers took an increased leadership role in the First Edition, and following the success of 1969’s “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”, the band gradually changed styles to a more country feel.
The band broke up in 1975–1976, and Kenny Rogers embarked on a long and successful solo career, which included several successful collaborations, including duets with singers Dolly Parton and Sheena Easton, and a songwriting partnership with Lionel Richie.
His signature song, 1978’s “The Gambler”, was a cross-over hit that won him a Grammy Award in 1980 and was selected in 2018 for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress. He would develop the Gambler persona into a character for a successful series of television films starting with 1980’s Emmy-nominated Kenny Rogers as The Gambler.
Memorable favorites from Kenny Rogers for me had to be, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”, “Lucille”(You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille, with four hungry children and a crop in the field, I’ve had some bad times, I’ve been through some sad times, but this time the hurtin’ won’t heal, you picked a fine time to leave me Lucille)…Kenny Rogers’ mother’s name was Lucille…
And then there was “Reuben James”, and what they call Kenny Rogers’s signature song, “The Gambler”…
On a warm Summer’s evening on train bound for nowhere, I met up with a Gambler we were both too tired to sleep, we took turns a staring out the window at the darkness, the boredom overtook and he began to speak….He said son, I’ve made a lifetime out of reading people’s faces, knowing what the cards held by the way the held their eyes, and if mind me saying, I can see you’re out of Aces, and for a taste of your whiskey, I’ll give you some advice…You’ve got to know how to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when run, you don’t count your money when you sittin’ at the table, they’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done….That is the biggest part that I can remember from “The Gambler” and those are the main parts..
CLICK HERE for “The Gambler” video, as runs today on YouTube…
(With over 46 million views.)
Kenny Rogers was in many ways an Americana musical treasure, and you really don’t began to appreciate all of his contributions, until you begin to look back at all he really did…Lots of years in the music industry and years of new material, covering many different genres, including Country, Pop, Adult Contemporary, Soft Rock, and Easy Listening…..
Governor Mike Huckabbe said:
Saddened by death of Kenny Rogers-consummate entertainer and classy gentleman. One of my favorite artists and guests on my TV show. His music and his kindness will be missed but never forgotten.
**********If we still had one around, and I think there was one up in Danville, Virginia, we could head out to the drive-thru and purchase some Kenny Rogers’ Roasters Chicken, and “Raise a Roaster to Rogers”….
You know something, those Kenny Rogers songs from “Through the Years”, they really do stick with you and I’m sure those Kenny Rogers Roasters did too.**********