Grammy Award-Winning Country Vocalist Kenny Rogers Dies at 81

Grammy Award-Winning Country Vocalist Kenny Rogers Dies at 81

A ctor-singer Kenny Rogers, the smooth, Grammy-winning balladeer who covered jazz, folk, nation and pop with such hits as “Lucille,” “Girl” and “Islands in the Stream” and welcomed his personality as “The Gambler” on record and on TELEVISION, died Friday night. He was 81.

He passed away in your home in Sandy Springs, Georgia, representative Keith Hagan informed The Associated Press He was under hospice care and died of natural causes, Hagan said.

The Houston-born performer with the husky voice and silver beard offered 10s of millions of records, won three Grammys and was the star of TELEVISION films based on “The Gambler” and other tunes, making him a superstar in the ’70 s and ’80 s. Rogers flourished for some 60 years before retired from touring in 2017 at age79 Regardless of his crossover success, he constantly chose to be considered a nation vocalist.

” You either do what everybody else is doing and you do it much better, or you do what no one else is doing and you don’t invite comparison,” Rogers told The Associated Press in2015 And I think individuals thought it was my desire to change country music.

” Kenny was one of those artists who transcended beyond one format and geographic borders,” says Sarah Trahern, president of the Country Music Association. “He was an international super star who helped introduce country music to audiences all around the world.”

Rogers was a five-time CMA Award winner, as well as the recipient of the CMA’s Willie Nelson Lifetime Accomplishment Award in 2013, the exact same year he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Popularity.

A real rags-to-riches story, Rogers was raised in public real estate in Houston Heights with 7 brother or sisters. As a 20- year-old, he had a gold single called “That Crazy Feeling,” under the name Kenneth Rogers, but when that early success stalled, he joined a jazz group, the Bobby Doyle Trio, as a standup bass gamer.

However his development came when he was asked to sign up with the New Christy Minstrels, a folk group, in1966 The band reformed as First Edition and scored a pop struck with the psychedelic song, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” Rogers and First Edition mixed country-rock and folk on tunes like “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” a story of a Vietnam veteran asking his sweetheart to remain.

After the group broke up in 1974, Rogers began his solo profession and found a success with the unfortunate nation ballad “Lucille,” in 1977, which crossed over to the pop charts and earned Rogers his very first Grammy. Suddenly the star, Rogers included hit after hit for more than a years.

” The Gambler,” the Grammy-winning story song penned by Don Schlitz, came out in 1978 and became his signature tune with a signature refrain: “You got ta understand when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” The tune generated a hit TV movie of the very same name and numerous more sequels featuring Rogers as professional bettor Brady Hawkes, and led to a lengthy side career for Rogers as a TV actor and host of several TELEVISION specials.

Other hits consisted of “You Decorated My Life,” “Whenever Two Fools Collide” with Dottie West, “Don’t Fall For a Dreamer” with Kim Carnes, and “Coward of the County.” Among his greatest successes was “Woman,” composed by Lionel Richie, a chart topper for 6 weeks straight in1980 Richie said in a 2017 interview with the AP that he often didn’t finish tunes till he had currently pitched them, which was the case for “Woman.”

” In the beginning, the tune was called, ‘Baby,'” Richie stated. “And since when I initially sat with him, for the very first 30 minutes, all he spoke about was he simply got wed to a real woman. A country man like him is wed to a girl. So, he said, ‘By the way, what’s the name of the song?'” Richie replies: “Girl.”

Over the years, Rogers worked typically with female duet partners, a lot of memorably, Dolly Parton. The 2 were matched at the suggestion of the Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb, who composed “Islands in the Stream.”

” Barry was producing an album on me and he gave me this tune,” Rogers told the AP in2017 “And I went and learned it and went into the studio and sang it for 4 days. And I lastly took a look at him and said, ‘Barry, I do not even like this tune anymore.’ And he stated, ‘You understand what we require? We require Dolly Parton.’ I thought, ‘Male, that person is a visionary.'”

Coincidentally, Parton was really in the very same recording studio in Los Angeles when the concept turned up.

” From the minute she marched into that space, that song never sounded the very same,” Rogers said. “It took on an entire new spirit.”

The 2 vocalists explored together, consisting of in Australia and New Zealand in 1984 and 1987, and were featured in a HBO concert special.

Rogers invested his time and money in a great deal of other undertakings over his career, including a passion for photography that led to several books, along with an autobiography, “Making It With Music.” He had a chain of dining establishments called Kenny Rogers Roasters and was a partner behind a riverboat in Branson, Missouri. He was also involved in various charitable causes, amongst them the Red Cross and MusiCares, and became part of the all-star “We are the World” recording for starvation relief.

By the ’90 s, his capability to chart hits had actually subsided, although he still remained a popular live entertainer with routine touring. Still he was an innovative businessman and never ever stopped searching for his way back onto the charts.

At the age of 61, Rogers had a quick comeback on the nation charts in 2000 with a hit tune “Buy Me A Rose,” thanks to his other favorite medium, tv.

Rogers is endured by his other half, Wanda, and his children Justin, Jordan, Chris and Kenny Jr., as well as two siblings, a sibling and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, his agent said.


Associated Press reporter Mallika Sen contributed from Los Angeles.

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