Country News

Featured Artist of the Weekend – Kenny Rogers

Chances are you know at least one Kenny Rogers song. Any self-respecting fan of music knows at least one. That’s the kind of impact Rogers has had on the music community. Fans from every genre from metal to folk can name at least one. Rogers has been a part of music history for over 40 years, and plans to retire in September of this year. In honor of his illustrious career, let’s take a look back at his path to legendary status.

On August 21st, 1938, the world was introduced to Kenneth Donald Rogers. He was born into a poor family, and lived with his parents and six siblings in a federal housing project. In high school he bought is first guitar, and began his pursuit of his passion. He started a rockabilly band called the Scholars, and had moderate success scoring a few local hits. In 1958, we was signed by The Carlton Label, and released “That Crazy Feeling”. The song was a big enough hit to land him a spot performing the song on American Bandstand. Rogers proved his versatility by also playing bass with the jazz group, The Bobby Doyle Trio, and then to the folk-pop group, The New Christy Minstrels. Being in all of those different bands with all different styles helped him hone his own style. In 1967, he formed First Edition with a few members of The New Christy Minstrels. First Edition fused folk, rock, and country. They landed a hits with “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”, and “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.”

In 1974, Rogers decided to focus his energy on country music, so he went solo, and recorded his first solo top 20 country hit, “Love Lifted Me” in 1975. Rogers followed that success up with 1977’s “Lucille.” “Lucille” reached number one on the country music charts, reached the top five on the pop charts, and landed Rogers his first Grammy Award (Best Male Country Vocal Performance). The following year, Rogers released “The Gambler”. The titular track became a huge country and pop hit, and gave Rogers his second Grammy Award.

Over the course of several years, Rogers hit the studio with fellow country music legend, Dottie West. The struck number one hits with “Every Time Two Fools Collide” in 1978, “All I Ever Need Is You” in 1979, and “What Are We Doin’ In Love”, in 1981. Rogers also showed his ability to do a cover, by recording his version of Lionel Richie’s “Lady”. That track spent six weeks on top of the pop charts. His success with Dottie West, and his cover Richie’s song, solidified his place a great crossover artist, but he wasn’t done showing off his talents yet. Rogers starred in several television movies that were inspired by his songs, including “The Gambler” in 1980, and “Coward of the County” in 1981. His acting chops also landed him on the big screen in 1982’s “Six Pack”. Later in his career he would act again in the television movies “Christmas in America” in 1990, and “MacShayne: Winner Take All” in 1994.

In 1983, Rogers teamed up with another country music icon, Dolly Parton, as well as pop group, the Bee Gees. The Bee Gees wrote Rogers and Parton “Islands in the Stream”, Which landed the duo the Academy of Country Music Award for Single of the Year. Rogers continued to release and album every year from 1983 through 1987, and in 1988, recorded “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine” with fellow country star, Ronnie Milsap, which landed them the Grammy for Best Duo Country Music Performance.

Rogers second passion is photography. In fact, in an interview with People magazine, he stated, “Music is what I am, but photography would probably be second.” In 1986, he published his collection of images he took while traveling the country called “Kenny Rogers’ America”, and in 1987 published another collection called “Your Friends and Mine”. Continuing to show off more talents, Rogers started his own restaurant franchise called Kenny Rogers Roaster, which he later sold to Nathan’s Famous Inc. in 1998. He then created his own record label named Dreamcatcher Entertainment, starred in his own off-Broadway Christmas show “The Toy Shoppe”, and released his next album “She Rides Wild” all in 1998/99.

“She Rides Wild” has my favorite Kenny Rogers song on it, “The Greatest”. If you have never listened to it, I suggest you go do that now. It’s ok, I’ll wait………*Yawn*……….Did you listen to it? Good. Rogers has always hidden lessons in songs like “The Gambler”, but none this funny. This song shows that not every bad situation has to be taken that way. You may swing and miss three times, but that just shows you are a great pitcher.

In 2000’s Rogers released several albums. Some did well (2006’S “Water & Bridges” peaked at number 5) and others did not (2003’S “Back to the Well” peaked at number 52), but Rogers kept on touring and recording. In 2009, Rogers released a box set of his greatest hits entitled “Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years”.

Earlier this month, Rogers decided it was time to hang up the guitar. He will finish out his current tour schedule, and in November, will retire from touring. I would say he earned it. 78 albums (37 studio albums and 41 compilation albums), and over 120 million copies worldwide, he has gone virtually nonstop since his days with The Scholars. It will be sad to see him be done, but KISS has gone on many “farewell tours” it’s turned into a joke so maybe…..just maybe….

 

 

Full Album List

 

Love Lifted Me-1976

Kenny Rogers-1977

Daytime Friends-1977

Love or Something Like It-1978

The Gambler-1978

Ten Years of Gold-1978

Every Time Two Fools Collide (with Dottie West)-1978

Kenny-1979

The Kenny Rogers Singles Album-1979

Classics (with Dottie West)-1979

Greatest Hits / Lady (UK version)-1980

Gideon-Release date: 1980

Share Your Love-1981

Love Will Turn You Around-1982

We’ve Got Tonight-1983

20 Greatest Hits-1983

HBO Presents: Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits-1983

Eyes That See in the Dark-1983

What About Me?-1984

Once Upon a Christmas (with Dolly Parton)-1984

Duets-1984

Short Stories-1985

His Greatest Hits and Finest Performances-1985

Love Is What We Make It-1985

The Heart of the Matter-1985

The Kenny Rogers Story-1985

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To-1986

I Prefer the Moonlight-1987

25 Greatest Hits-1987

Greatest Hits-1988

Christmas in America-1989

Lucille and Other Classics-1989

Something Inside So Strong-1989

Love Is Strange-1990

20 Great Years-1990

Greatest Country Hits-1990

The Very Best of Kenny Rogers-1990

Back Home Again-1991

The Best of Kenny Rogers-1992

Daytime Friends –The Very Best of Kenny Rogers-1993

If Only My Heart Had a Voice-1993

Timepiece (with David Foster)-October 4, 1994

Vote for Love-1996

The Gift                -1996

Across My Heart-1997

A Decade of Hits-1997

With Love-1998

Christmas from the Heart-1998

She Rides Wild Horses-1999

A&E Biography-1999

Through the Years: A Retrospective-1999

Kenny Rogers Collection               -2000

There You Go Again-2000

Best Inspirational Songs-2001

Songs of Love-2001

Kenny Rogers-2001

Live by Request-2001

Love Songs- 2002

Back to the Well-2003

Christmas with Kenny-2004

The Definitive Collection-2003

Kenny Rogers Love Songs-2004

42 Ultimate Hits-2004

Golden Legends: Kenny Rogers-2005

21 Number Ones-2006

Kenny Rogers-2006

Christmas Collection-2006

Water & Bridges-2006

A Love Song Collection-2008

50 Years-2008

The First 50 Years-2009

10 Great Songs-2010

Kenny Rogers-2010

The Best of Kenny Rogers-2010

The Love of God-2011

Amazing Grace-2012

Christmas Live!-2012

You Can’t Make Old Friends-2013

10 Great Songs: 20th Century Masters:The Millennium Collection-2014

Once Again It’s Christmas-2015

by Ryan B

#hotcountry921

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