2020-03-21

  • Faith: Christian
  • Career: Musician
  • Birthday:  August 21, 1938
  • Accomplishments:  Grammy Winner, Country Music Hall of Fame

Born in Texas, singer Kenny Rogers grew up in a poor area of Houston where his father worked in a shipyard and his mother in a hospital. He became the first member of his family to graduate from high school.

He took an interest in singing while quite young and as a teenager. At age 19, Kenny recorded "That Crazy Feeling" for a small Houston label, Carlton Records, and his career was off and running. Kenny joined the "New Christy Minstrels" in the mid-1960s, then splintered off with others in the popular group to form "The First Edition". Their first big soft-rock hit, "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" hit #6 on the US charts. The husky-framed singer's ingratiating personality and sensual gravel tones soon took center stage and the group eventually renamed themselves "Kenny Rogers and the First Edition". They hosted a syndicated TV variety series from 1971 to 1973 called Rollin' on the River but the pressures of taping a weekly show caused extreme friction within the group and eventually took its toll. After a couple of years of producing non-hit songs, the group disbanded in the mid-70s. Solo stardom seemed to be inevitable for Kenny and he began chalking up a string of country-tinged 'top 20' pop hits with "Lucille" (#5), "Don't Fall in Love With a Dreamer" (#4, with Kim Carnes), "Through the Years" (#13), "We've Got Tonight" (#6, with Sheena Easton) and his two #1 hit sellers "Islands in the Stream" (with Dolly Parton) and "Lady".

By the late 1970s, he had sold over $100 million worth of records. 1980, he touched off a modest, but appealing acting career with the TV-movie The Gambler, based on his 1979 song hit. This led to four equally popular sequels. He also became a perennial star or co-star of TV seasonal specials.

On March 20, 2020, Rogers died at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia.


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