The world has lost a legend, as country musician Kenny Rogers has sadly passed away.
Remembering Kenny Rogers
Rogers was born in 1938 in Houston, Texas, the fourth of eight children. He began his recording career in the late 1950’s, gradually transcending multiple genres of music, from rock to psychedelic, before eventually settling into a long-standing country career. He joined the Houston-based group the Scholars, then put out a few solo releases before partnering with jazz singer Bobby Doyle. In 1966, he tried his hand at folk music and became a member the New Christy Minstrels. In 1967, several bandmates left to found the group the First Edition, with whom he scored his major hit “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” This psychedelic rock single peaked at number five on the Billboard Music charts.
After the success of their 1969 song “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” the band shifted to country music. When they broke up in the mid-1970’s, Rogers started a long solo career, which included collaborations with artists like Dolly Parton and Sheena Easton, as well as a song-writing partnership with Lionel Richie. His signature song “The Gambler” was a massive cross-over hit and won a Grammy in 1980. Some of his other popular solo hits include “Laura (What’s He Got That I Ain’t Got),” “Lucille,” and “Coward of the County.”
Rogers was conducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013, after having recorded 65 albums and having sold over 165 million records. He announced his farewell tour in 2015.
Outside of singing, he co-starred in films, published photography books, hosted a historical television series, and opened the restaurant chain Kenny Rogers Roasters.
Rogers died Friday, March 20th at the age of 81 in Sandy Springs, Georgia. He is survived by his wife and five children. The cause of dead has not been released.