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Rogers, Kenny 1938–

ROGERS, Kenny 1938

PERSONAL

Full name, Kenneth Ray Rogers (some sources cite Kenneth Donald Rogers); born August 21, 1938, in Houston (some sources cite Crockett), TX; son of Edward Floyd and Lucille (maiden name, Hester) Rogers; married Janice Gordon, 1957 (divorced, 1959); married Jean, c. 1960 (divorced, c. 1963); married Margo, 1964 (divorced, 1976); married Marianne Gordon (an actress), 1977 (divorced, 1993); married Wanda Miller (a production assistant), June 1, 1997; children: (first marriage) Carole Rogers Billingsley (a teacher); (third marriage) Kenneth, Jr. (a composer; known as Kenny Rogers, Jr.); (fourth marriage) Christopher Cody; (fifth marriage) Justin Charles, Jordan Edward. Education: Attended University of Houston, 1959. Avocational Interests: Photography.

Addresses: Office Debbie Cross, Kenny Rogers, Inc., 2910 Poston Ave., Nashville, TN 37203. Agent Greg Oswald, William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212; 2100 West End Ave., Nashville, TN 37203.

Career: Actor, singer, guitarist, songwriter, and producer. The Scholars, band member, beginning c. 1956; Bobby Doyle Trio (jazz band), bass fiddle player, 195966; New Christy Minstrels (popular and folk music band), member, 196667; First Edition (rock and roll band; later known as Kenny Rogers and the First Edition), founder and singer, 196774; performer with the Kirby Stone Four; solo concert performer throughout the world and performer in touring Christmas shows; his song "When You Put Your Heart in It" named the official theme song of the United States Gymnastics Federation, c. 1988. Kenny Rogers, Inc. (production company), founder; founder of record labels Jolly Rogers and Dreamcatcher Records. Dole Foods Company, commercial spokesperson, beginning 1986; also appeared in television commercials. Kenny Rogers Roasters (fast food restaurant chain), owner; affiliated with Kenny Rogers Casino (Internet casino). Athens Area Homeless Shelter, Athens, GA, founder, 1990; other charitable work includes an affiliation with the Kenny Rogers Children's Center, Sikeston, MO, and work to help end world hunger.

Awards, Honors: Academy of Country Music Award, album of the year, 1977, for Kenny Rogers; named Billboard crossover artist of the year, 1977; Grammy Award, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, best male country vocal performance, Country Music Association Award, single of the year, and Academy of Country Music awards, song of the year and single of the year, all 1977, and American Music Award, country favorite single, 1978, all for "Lucille"; Academy of Country Music awards, top male vocalist, 1977 and 1978; Academy of Country Music Award, entertainer of the year, 1978; America's Juke Box Operators Association Award, 1978; Academy of Country Music awards (with Dottie West), vocal duo of the year, 1978 and 1979; Country Music Association awards, male vocalist of the year and album of the year, both 1979; Grammy Award, best male country vocalist, and TNN Music City News Country Award, best single, both 1979, for "The Gambler"; TNN Music City News Country Award, male artist of the year, 1979; Country Music Association Award (with West), vocal duo of the year, and TNN Music City News Country Award (with West), best vocal duo, both 1979; named top male vocalist by People Weekly, 1979, 1980, and 1989, and most popular male singer, People Weekly, 1981, 1982, and 1983; American Music awards, country favorite male vocalist, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, and 1985; American Music awards, favorite album, 1979, 1980, 1981, and 1985; American Music Award, country favorite single, and TNN Music City News Country Award, best single, both 1981, for "Coward of the County"; American Music awards, pop/rock favorite male vocalist, 1981 and 1982; People's Choice awards, best male musical performer, 1981, 1982, and 1983, and best country/western musical performer, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987; American Music Award, pop/rock favorite album, 1982, for Greatest Hits; American Music awards, special award of merit, 1983, and country favorite single, 1983, for "Love Will Turn You Around"; Academy of Country Music awards (with Dolly Parton), single of the year, and best vocal group and/or duet, both 1983; American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Award, song of the year, 1983; Presidential End Hunger Award, Agency for International Development, celebrity category, 1983; TNN Music City News Country Award (with Parton), best vocal duo, 1984; Rolling Stone Readers' Poll Award, country artist of the year, 1984; Record Industry Association of American Award, most awarded artist, 1984, for number of gold and platinum albums; United Nations Peace Award; American Music awards (with Parton), country favorite single, 1984 and 1985, both for "Islands in the Stream"; Roy Acuff Award, Country Music Foundation, 1985; named the "favorite singer of all time," PM magazine poll, 1986; Grammy Award (with Ronnie Milsap), best country vocal collaboration, 1987, for "Make No Mistake, She's Mine"; People's Choice Award, best male musical performer, 1988; Harry Chapin Award for Humanitarianism, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, 1988; People's Choice Award (with Randy Travis), best country/western musical performer, 1990; Horatio Alger Award, 1990; named a "hero of public housing," U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1995; Gospel Music Association Award nomination, country album of the year, and Dove Award nomination, both 1996, for The Gift; Diamond Award (more than ten million albums sold), Recording Industry Association of America, 1999, for Greatest Hits; Country Music Association Award nomination, 2000, for "Buy Me a Rose"; Academy of Country Music Award and British Country Music Association Award, both for "I Don't Need You"; gold and platinum awards, Recording Industry Association of America.

CREDITS

Television Appearances; Series:

Host, Rollin' on the River (also known as Kenny Rogers and the First Edition: Rollin' on the River and Rollin' with Kenny Rogers and the First Edition ), syndicated, 19711973.

Host and narrator, The Real West, Arts and Entertainment, 1993.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Brady Hawkes, Kenny Rogers as the Gambler: The Adventure Continues, CBS, 1983.

Brady Hawkes, Kenny Rogers as the Gambler, Part IIIThe Legend Continues (also known as The Gambler III: The Legend Continues ), CBS, 1987.

Brady Hawkes, The Luck of the Draw: The Gambler Returns (also known as The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw ), NBC, 1991.

Brady Hawkes, Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, CBS, 1994.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Earl and member of the First Edition, The Dream Makers (also known as Death of Sammy ), NBC, 1975.

Brady Hawkes, Kenny Rogers as the Gambler (also known as The Gambler ), CBS, 1980.

Uncle Matthew Spencer, Coward of the County, CBS, 1981.

Matt Cooper, Wild Horses, CBS, 1985.

Quentin Leech, Rio Diablo (also known as Devil's River ), CBS, 1993.

John J. "Jack" MacShayne, "MacShayne: Winner Takes All" (also known as "MacShayne's Grand Slam"), NBC Friday Night Mystery, NBC, 1994.

John J. "Jack" MacShayne, "MacShayne: The Final Roll of the Dice" (also known as "MacShayne's Big Score"), NBC Friday Night Mystery, NBC, 1994.

Himself, Big Dreams & Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story (also known as Paper Mansions: The Dottie West Story ), CBS, 1995.

Himself, Get to the Heart: The Barbara Mandrell Story, CBS, 1997.

Television Appearances; Specials:

(With the First Edition) Just Friends, ABC, 1970.

(With the First Edition) Ghostly balladeer, Saga of Sonora, NBC, 1973.

Host, The World's Largest Indoor Country Music Show, NBC, 1978.

Himself, The Captain and Tenille in Hawaii, ABC, 1978.

Perry Como's Easter by the Sea (also known as Easter by the Sea ), ABC, 1978.

Variety '77The Year in Entertainment, CBS, 1978.

Host, The Kenny Rogers Special, CBS, 1979.

Himself, A Christmas Special with Love, Mac Davis, NBC, 1979.

Himself, Kenny Rogers and the American Cowboy, CBS, 1979.

Himself, Superstars, 1979.

Himself, Kenny Rogers' America, CBS, 1980.

Lynda Carter's Special, CBS, 1980.

Host, A Special Kenny Rogers, CBS, 1981.

Himself, American Bandstand's 30th Anniversary Special, ABC, 1981.

Himself, I Love Liberty, ABC, 1982.

Himself, Roy Acuff Fifty Years the King of Country Music, NBC, 1982.

Host, Kenny Rogers in Concert, HBO, 1983.

Himself, Grandpa, Will You Run with Me?, NBC, 1983.

Himself, Sheena Easton Act One, NBC, 1983.

Himself, Donald Duck's 50th Birthday, CBS, 1984.

Himself, Kenny & Dolly: A Christmas to Remember, CBS, 1984.

Himself, Salute to Lady Liberty, CBS, 1984.

Glen Campbell and Friends: The Silver Anniversary, HBO, 1984.

Himself, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton: Together (also known as Kenny and Dolly: Real Love ), HBO, 1985.

Himself, We Are the World (also known as We Are the World: The Video Event ), 1985.

The Best of Farm Aid: An American Event, HBO, 1986.

Kraft Salutes the George Burns 90th Birthday Special (also known as George Burns 90th Birthday Special ), CBS, 1986.

Liberty Weekend, ABC, 1986.

Texas 150: A Celebration Special, ABC, 1986.

Host, Kenny Rogers: Working America, CBS, 1987.

Host, Kenny Rogers Classic Weekend, ABC, 1988.

The Hee Haw 20th Anniversary Show, syndicated, 1988.

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Special, CBS, 1988.

The Smothers Brothers Thanksgiving Special, CBS, 1988.

Frank Morgan, Christmas in America: A Love Story (also known as Christmas in America and Kenny Rogers's Christmas in America ), NBC, 1989.

From the Heart The First International Very Special Arts Festival, NBC, 1989.

Kenny, Dolly, & Willie: Something Inside So Strong, NBC, 1989.

Kenny Rogers in Concert: A Holiday Special for Public Television, PBS, 1989.

Mike TysonA Portrait of the People's Champion, syndicated, 1989.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame 20th Anniversary The Magic of Music, CBS, 1989.

The 1990 Goodwill Games, TBS, 1990.

Sinatra 75: The Best Is Yet to Come (also known as Frank Sinatra: 75th Birthday Celebration ), CBS, 1990.

TNN's AllStar Salute to Country Music, The Nashville Network, 1990.

Himself, George Burns' 95th Birthday Party, CBS, 1991.

The Meaning of Life, CBS, 1991.

Voices That Care, Fox, 1991.

Welcome Home, America! A USO Salute to America's Sons and Daughters, ABC, 1991.

Host, Kenny Rogers: Keep Christmas with You, CBS, 1992.

Himself, A Spinal Tap Reunion: The 25th Anniversary London SellOut (also known as The Return of Spinal Tap and A Spinal Tap Reunion ), NBC, 1992.

Country Music Hall of Fame 25 (also known as Country's Grandest Homecoming: The Country Music Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Celebration ), CBS, 1992.

Hats Off to Minnie Pearl: America Honors Minnie Pearl, The Nashville Network, 1992.

What about Me?, I'm Only 3!, CBS, 1992.

Host, The American Music Awards 20th Anniversary Special, ABC, 1993.

Himself, A Day in the Life of Country Music, CBS, 1993.

An American Reunion: New Beginnings, Renewed Hope (also known as An American Reunion: The People's Inaugural Celebration ), HBO, 1993.

A Country Music Celebration, CBS, 1993.

What Is This Thing Called Love? (also known as The Barbara Walters Special ), ABC, 1993.

A Phyllis George Special, The Nashville Network, 1994.

Kenny Rogers: Going Home, The Disney Channel, 1995.

We Are the World: A 10th Anniversary Special, The Disney Channel, 1995.

Himself, Dolly Parton: Treasures, CBS, 1996.

Himself, The Life and Times of Dottie West, The Nashville Network, 1996.

Himself, Opryland's Country Christmas (also known as Opryland Christmas ), CBS, 1996.

Kenny Rogers: The Gift, The Family Channel, 1996.

The Life and Times of Kenny Rogers, The Nashville Network, 1996.

National Memorial Day Concert, PBS, 1996.

The 70th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (also known as Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade ), NBC, 1996.

Himself, The 53rd Presidential Inaugural Gala: An American Journey (also known as An American Gala and The 53rd Annual Inaugural Gala ), CBS, 1997.

Voice, Snowden on Ice, CBS, 1997.

A Capitol Fourth, PBS, 1997.

Fan Fair Phenomenon, The Nashville Network, 1997.

Kathie Lee: We Need a Little Christmas, CBS, 1997.

Himself, Elmopalooza!, ABC, 1998.

Himself, Roger Miller Remembered, The Nashville Network, 1998.

(In archive footage) Motown 40: The Music Is Forever, 1998.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC, 1998.

America's Millennium, CBS, 1999.

Live by Request Starring Kenny Rogers (also known as Kenny Rogers Live by Request ), Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

The Great American History Quiz: Heroes and Villains, History Channel, 2000.

The Great American History Quiz: Pursuit of Happiness, History Channel, 2000.

Wonders of Wildlife Honors: Concert for Conservation, The Nashville Network, 2000.

Himself, Elvis Forever, PBS, 2002.

Himself, Can Westlife Cut It?, 2003.

Himself, The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour, ABC, 2004.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

American Music Awards, ABC, 1978.

Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1978.

The 21st Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1979.

Host, The 22nd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1980.

Host, The 18th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1984.

Himself, The 11th American Music Awards, ABC, 1984.

The 19th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1985.

Himself, The 28th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1986.

Host, The 21st Annual Country Music Awards, CBS, 1987.

The 14th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1988.

Host, The American Music Awards, ABC, 1989.

Host, The 23rd Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1989.

America's AllStar Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor (also known as The Second Annual America's Hope Award ), ABC, 1989.

Host, The 24th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1990.

Presenter, The 48th Annual Golden Globe Awards, TBS, 1991.

The 26th Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1992.

The 27th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1992.

Host, The 18th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1992.

Presenter, The 34th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1992.

The 28th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1993.

The 22nd Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1995.

Host, The 24th International Emmy Awards, 1996.

Presenter, The 31st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, NBC, 1996.

The 23rd Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1996.

Host, The 33rd Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1999.

Presenter, The TNN Music City News Country Awards, The Nashville Network, 1999.

Presenter, The 25th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1999.

Country Weekly Magazine Presents the TNN Music Awards, The Nashville Network, 2000.

The 34th Annual CMA Awards, CBS, 2000.

Presenter, The 35th Annual CMA Awards, 2001.

The 36th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 2001.

Performer, Canadian Country Music Awards, 2002.

The 30th Annual People's Choice Awards, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

American Bandstand, ABC, 1958, 1971.

(With the First Edition) Rowan & Martin's LaughIn (also known as LaughIn ), NBC, 1968.

(With the First Edition) The Andy Williams Show, NBC, 1969 (multiple episodes)..

(With the First Edition) Happening, ABC, 1969.

"Blood Is Thicker Than Water and Harder to Shave With," The Red Skelton Show, CBS, 1970.

Himself, Make Your Own Kind of Music!, NBC, 1971.

Guest performer, That Good Ole Nashville Music, syndicated, 1972.

Guest host, The Midnight Special, NBC, multiple appearances, 19771979.

Himself, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, multiple appearances, 19771980.

"Mickey's 50," The Wonderful World of Disney, NBC, 1978.

Himself, The Muppet Show, syndicated, 1979.

Himself, Fridays, ABC, 1980.

Himself, Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1985, 1990.

Himself, Dolly, ABC, 1987.

Conversations with Cassini, Arts and Entertainment, 1989.

The NBC Saturday Sports Showcase, NBC, 1990.

Himself, "Gambler Anonymous," Evening Shade, CBS, 1991.

Daniel Watkins, "Portraits," Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, CBS, 1993.

Himself, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1994, 1998.

Himself, "A Who's Who for What's His Name," Cybill, CBS, 1996.

Himself, The Real Las Vegas (also known as Las Vegas ), Arts and Entertainment, c. 1996.

Guest host, Prime Time Country, The Nashville Network, 1997.

Death in Malibu: The Murder of Music Mogul Charlie MinorThe E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 1997.

Himself, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1998.

Himself, The Frank Skinner Show, BBC, 1999.

Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee, syndicated, 1999.

Denny, "Buy Me a Rose," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 2000.

Himself, Intimate Portrait: Linda Evans, Lifetime, 2000.

Himself, "Glen Campbell: Still on the Line," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

Most Wanted Live, 2002.

Himself, Intimate Portrait: Naomi Judd, Lifetime, 2003.

Appeared in "Kenny Rogers," an episode of Biography, Arts and Entertainment; appeared in episodes of Austin City Limits, PBS; and Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, NBC. Also appeared in Before They Were Stars and Inside Fame.

Television Work:

Executive producer (with Ken Kragen), Kenny Rogers in Concert (special), HBO, 1983.

Executive producer, A Different Affair (movie), CBS, 1987.

Performer of title song, I'll Be Home for Christmas (movie), CBS, 1997.

Film Appearances:

Brewster Baker, Six Pack, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1982.

Joy of Natural Childbirth, 1997.

Pilot, Longshot (also known as Jack of All Trades and Longshot: The Movie ), MCOne, 2000.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

(With First Edition) Something's Burning, Reprise, 1970.

(With First Edition) Ballad of Calico, Reprise, 1972.

Kenny Rogers, United Artists, 1976.

Daytime Friends, United Artists, 1977.

Lucille, United Artists, 1977.

(With Dottie West) Every Time Two Fools Collide, United Artists, 1978.

Love or Something Like It, United Artists, 1978.

Classics, United Artists, 1979.

The Gambler, United Artists, 1979.

Kenny, United Artists, 1979.

Kenny Rogers and Dottie WestClassics, United Artists, 1979.

Ten Years of Gold, EMI America, 1979.

Gideon, United Artists, 1980.

Greatest Hits (also known as Kenny Rogers! Greatest Hits ), EMI America, 1980.

Love Lifted Me, United Artists, 1980.

(With others) Urban Cowboy (soundtrack), Wea/Elektra Entertainment, 1980.

Christmas (also known as Kenny Rogers Christmas ), Liberty, 1981.

Share Your Love, Liberty, 1981.

Love Will Turn You Around, Liberty, 1982.

Eyes that See in the Dark, RCA, 1983.

Twenty Greatest Hits, Liberty, 1983.

We've Got Tonight, Liberty, 1983.

Duets: Kenny Rogers with Kim Carnes, Sheena Easton, and Dottie West (also known as Duets ), Capitol, 1984.

(With Dolly Parton) Once upon a Christmas, RCA, 1984.

What about Me?, RCA, 1984.

The Heart of the Matter, RCA, 1985.

Love Is What We Make It, Liberty, 1985.

Short Stories, Liberty, 1985.

They Don't Make Them Like They Used To, RCA, 1986.

I Prefer the Moonlight, RCA, 1987.

TwentyFive Greatest Hits, EMI America, 1987.

Greatest Hits, RCA, 1988.

Christmas in America, 1989.

Lucille and Other Classics, EMI/Capitol, 1989.

Something Inside So Strong, Reprise, 1989.

Greatest Country Hits, 1990.

Love Is Strange, Reprise, 1990.

Twenty Great Years, Reprise, 1990.

The Very Best of Kenny Rogers, Wea, 1990.

Back Home Again, Wea/Warner Bros. Records, 1991.

Very Best, Quicksilver Records, 1991.

(With others) Contemporary CountryThe Early 80s, TimeLife Music, 1991.

(With others) Contemporary CountryThe Mid80s, TimeLife Music, 1991.

Best of Kenny Rogers, EMI/Capitol, 1992.

(With others) Country Hits of the 70s, EMI/Capitol, 1992.

If Only My Heart Had a Voice, 1993.

(With others) Vol. 2Country Love Songs, Wea/Warner Bros. Records, 1993.

(With others) Vol. 3Country Love Songs, Wea/Warner Bros. Records, 1993.

TimePiece, Atlantic, 1994.

(With others) Great Wedding Songs, Wea/Warner Bros. Records, 1994.

(With others) Vol. 2Grammy's Greatest Moments, Wea/Atlantic, 1994.

(With others) Vol. 3Grammy's Greatest Moments, Wea/Atlantic, 1994.

(With others) Country Giants, Prime Cuts, 1995.

(With others) The Essential Ronnie Milsap, RCA, 1995.

AllTime Greatest Hits, Cema, 1996.

The Gift, Magnatone, 1996.

Greatest Hits, Hipp, 1996.

Vote for Love, QMusic, 1996.

(With others) Dolly Parton: Legendary Country Singers Series, TimeLife Music, 1996.

(With others) The Essential Series Volume 2, RCA, 1996.

Across My Heart, Magnatone, 1997.

A Decade of Hits, Reprise, 1997.

King of Country, Spotlight On, 1997.

Songs You Know by Heart, Boomerang, 1997.

Vol. 1Greatest Hits, Public Music, 1997.

(With Freddy Fender and Willie Nelson) Classic Artists: Only the Hits, St. Clair, 1997.

(With others) Cookin' Up a Country Christmas, Cooking in Concert, 1997.

(With others) Country Hits, Riviere International Records, 1997.

Branson City Limits, Unison/Navarre, 1998.

Christmas from the Heart, Dreamcatcher Records, 1998.

Good Time Liberator, 1998.

Original Hits, Forever Classic, 1998.

With Love, 1998.

(With others) Hot on the Highway, Mastertone, 1998.

(With others) Volume 3Mega Country, PMF Records, 1998.

A & E BiographyA Musical Anthology, Cema/Capitol, 1999.

All the Hits and All New Love Songs, EMI, 1999.

Classic Country 19651969, TimeLife Music, 1999.

Kenny Rogers, Classic World, 1999.

Love Collection, Madacy Records, 1999.

Love Songs, EMD/Capitol, 1999.

She Rides Wild Horses, Dreamcatcher Records, 1999.

Through the YearsA Retrospective, Cema/Capitol, 1999.

(With others) Males and Females, Discom, 1999.

Forever Gold, 2000.

Kenny Rogers Love Songs (box set), Madacy, 2000.

There You Go Again, Dreamcatcher Records, 2000.

(With First Edition) The Best of Kenny Rogers and the First Edition: Tell It All, Brother, Edel America, 2000.

(With others) Christmas Greetings, Capitol, 2000.

(With others) Solid Gold20 Cowboy Classics, Cleopatra, 2000.

Back to the Well, Dreamcatcher Records, 2003.

42 Ultimate Hits, Capitol, 2004.

Recorded Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers Gold with Dolly Parton; recorded In a Most Unusual Way with the Kirby Stone Four. Imported albums include Always and Forever, Recal; Best of Kenny Rogers, BMG; Best of Kenny Rogers //First Edition, BCD; Country Collection, Prism; For the Good Times, DGMDE; Kenny Rogers Collection, EMI; Original Gold, EMI; Pure Gold; Ruby, Hallmark; Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, Galaxy; Simply the Best, EMI; and (with others) Greatest Love Songs, Mastersong.

Singles; with the Scholars:

"Kangewah," c. 1956.

"For You Alone," Carlton, c. 1958.

"We'll Always Fall in Love Again"/"That Crazy Feeling," Carlton, c. 1958.

Recorded other singles with the Scholars.

Singles; with First Edition:

"The First Edition," Reprise, 1967.

"Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," Reprise, c. 1968.

"Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town," Reprise, 1969.

"The Second Edition," Reprise, 1969.

"Reuben James," Reprise, c. 1969.

"Something's Burning," Reprise, 1970.

"Today I Started Loving You Again," Jolly Rogers, 1973.

Other singles with First Edition include "But You Know I Love You," "Heed the Call," and "Tell It All, Brother."

Singles:

"Love Lifted Me," United Artists, c. 1976.

"Daytime Friends," United Artists, c. 1977.

"Lucille," United Artists, c. 1977.

"Love or Something Like It," United Artists, 1978.

(With Dottie West) "Every Time Two Fools Collide," United Artists/Liberty, 1978.

"The Gambler," United Artists, 1979.

(With West) "All I Ever Need Is You," United Artists/Liberty, 1979.

"She Believes in Me," United Artists, c. 1979.

"You Decorated My Life," United Artists, c. 1979.

"Coward of the County," United Artists, 1980.

"Lady," 1980.. (With Kim Carnes) "Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer," 1980.

(With West) "What Are We Doin' in Love?," 1981.

"Love Will Turn You Around," RCA, 1983.

(With Dolly Parton) "Islands in the Stream," RCA, 1983.

(With Sheena Easton) "We've Got Tonight," 1983.

"Crazy," RCA, 1984.

"This Woman," 1984.

"What about Me?," RCA, c. 1984.

(With Parton) "A Christmas to Remember," c. 1984.

"The Heart of the Matter," RCA, 1985.

"Love Is What We Make It," RCA, 1985.

"Morning Desire," RCA, 1985.

(With Dolly Parton) "Real Love," RCA, 1985.

(With U.S.A. for Africa) "We Are the World," PGD/PolyGram, 1985.

"Tomb of Unknown Love," RCA, 1986.

"They Don't Make Them Like They Used To," RCA, c. 1986.

"I Prefer the Moonlight," RCA, 1987.

(With Ronnie Milsap) "Make No Mistake, She's Mine," RCA, 1987.

"When You Put Your Heart in It," 1988.

"The Vows Go Unbroken (Always True to You)," Reprise, 1989.

(With Dolly Parton) "Love Is Strange," Reprise, c. 1990.

"If You Want to Find Love," Reprise, 1992.

"TimePiece," Atlantic, c. 1994.

"Write Your Name across My Heart," 1997.

"The Greatest," 1999.

"Slow Dance More," 1999.

"Buy Me a Rose," 2000.

(With Coolio) "The Gambler," 2000.

Other singles include "Homemade Love," "I Don't Need You," "Laura," and "While the Feeling's Good." Appears with Wyclef Jean in the song "Kenny Rogers Scene."

Videos:

(With others) Other Side of Nashville, 1984.

(With others) Country Comes Alive, Lightyear Video, 1986.

Rogers: Rollin' Vol. 2, 1991.

Kenny Rogers Christmas Show, 1992.

The Best of the Real West, 1994.

Also appeared in Great Video Hits, RCA; Kenny & Dolly: Real Love (also known as Real Love ); Kenny Rogers & First Edition, Vol. 1; and Rogers: Rollin' Vol. 1.

Music Videos:

(With Dolly Parton) "Islands in the Stream," 1983.

(With Sheena Easton) "We've Got Tonight," 1983.

"This Woman," 1984.

(With Dolly Parton) "Real LoveLive," 1985.

(With U.S.A. for Africa) "We Are the World," 1985.

"If I Ever Fall in Love Again," by Anne Murray, 1989.

(With Dolly Parton) "Love Is Strange," c. 1990.

(With others) "Voices That Care," Fox, 1991.

"TimePiece," c. 1994.

"The Greatest," 1999.

"Slow Dance More," 1999.

"Buy Me a Rose," 2000.

(With Coolio) "The Gambler," 2000.

Appeared in other music videos, including "He Will, She Knows" and "There You Go Again."

WRITINGS

Television Music:

Songs, The Dream Makers (also known as Death of Sammy ), NBC, 1975.

Several of Kenny Rogers's songs have appeared in television productions and films.

Albums:

(With First Edition) Something's Burning, Reprise, 1970.

(With First Edition) Ballad of Calico, Reprise, 1972.

Kenny Rogers, United Artists, 1976.

Daytime Friends, United Artists, 1977.

Lucille, United Artists, 1977.

(With Dottie West) Every Time Two Fools Collide, United Artists, 1978.

Love or Something Like It, United Artists, 1978.

Classics, United Artists, 1979.

The Gambler, United Artists, 1979.

Kenny, United Artists, 1979.

Kenny Rogers and Dottie WestClassics, United Artists, 1979.

Ten Years of Gold, EMI America, 1979.

Gideon, United Artists, 1980.

Greatest Hits (also known as Kenny Rogers! Greatest Hits ), EMI America, 1980.

Love Lifted Me, United Artists, 1980.

(With others) Urban Cowboy (soundtrack), Wea/Elektra Entertainment, 1980.

Christmas (also known as Kenny Rogers Christmas ), Liberty, 1981.

Share Your Love, Liberty, 1981.

Love Will Turn You Around, Liberty, 1982.

Eyes that See in the Dark, RCA, 1983.

Twenty Greatest Hits, Liberty, 1983.

We've Got Tonight, Liberty, 1983.

Duets: Kenny Rogers with Kim Carnes, Sheena Easton, and Dottie West (also known as Duets ), Capitol, 1984.

(With Dolly Parton) Once upon a Christmas, RCA, 1984.

What about Me?, RCA, 1984.

The Heart of the Matter, RCA, 1985.

Love Is What We Make It, Liberty, 1985.

Short Stories, Liberty, 1985.

They Don't Make Them Like They Used To, RCA, 1986.

I Prefer the Moonlight, RCA, 1987.

TwentyFive Greatest Hits, EMI America, 1987.

Greatest Hits, RCA, 1988.

Christmas in America, 1989.

Lucille and Other Classics, EMI/Capitol, 1989.

Something Inside So Strong, Reprise, 1989.

Greatest Country Hits, 1990.

Love Is Strange, Reprise, 1990.

Twenty Great Years, Reprise, 1990.

The Very Best of Kenny Rogers, Wea, 1990.

Back Home Again, Wea/Warner Bros. Records, 1991.

Very Best, Quicksilver Records, 1991.

(With others) Contemporary CountryThe Early 80s, TimeLife Music, 1991.

(With others) Contemporary CountryThe Mid80s, TimeLife Music, 1991.

Best of Kenny Rogers, EMI/Capitol, 1992.

(With others) Country Hits of the 70s, EMI/Capitol, 1992.

If Only My Heart Had a Voice, 1993.

(With others) Vol. 2Country Love Songs, Wea/Warner Bros. Records, 1993.

(With others) Vol. 3Country Love Songs, Wea/Warner Bros. Records, 1993.

TimePiece, Atlantic, 1994.

(With others) Great Wedding Songs, Wea/Warner Bros. Records, 1994.

(With others) Vol. 2Grammy's Greatest Moments, Wea/Atlantic, 1994.

(With others) Vol. 3Grammy's Greatest Moments, Wea/Atlantic, 1994.

(With others) Country Giants, Prime Cuts, 1995.

(With others) The Essential Ronnie Milsap, RCA, 1995.

AllTime Greatest Hits, Cema, 1996.

The Gift, Magnatone, 1996.

Greatest Hits, Hipp, 1996.

Vote for Love, QMusic, 1996.

(With others) Dolly Parton: Legendary Country Singers Series, TimeLife Music, 1996.

(With others) The Essential Series Volume 2, RCA, 1996.

Across My Heart, Magnatone, 1997.

A Decade of Hits, Reprise, 1997.

King of Country, Spotlight On, 1997.

Songs You Know by Heart, Boomerang, 1997.

Vol. 1Greatest Hits, Public Music, 1997.

(With Freddy Fender and Willie Nelson) Classic Artists: Only the Hits, St. Clair, 1997.

(With others) Cookin' Up a Country Christmas, Cooking in Concert, 1997.

(With others) Country Hits, Riviere International Records, 1997.

Branson City Limits, Unison/Navarre, 1998.

Christmas from the Heart, Dreamcatcher Records, 1998.

Good Time Liberator, 1998.

Original Hits, Forever Classic, 1998.

With Love, 1998.

(With others) Hot on the Highway, Mastertone, 1998.

(With others) Volume 3Mega Country, PMF Records, 1998.

A & E BiographyA Musical Anthology, Cema/Capitol, 1999.

All the Hits and All New Love Songs, EMI, 1999.

Classic Country 19651969, TimeLife Music, 1999.

Kenny Rogers, Classic World, 1999.

Love Collection, Madacy Records, 1999.

Love Songs, EMD/Capitol, 1999.

She Rides Wild Horses, Dreamcatcher Records, 1999.

Through the YearsA Retrospective, Cema/Capitol, 1999.

(With others) Males and Females, Discom, 1999.

Forever Gold, 2000.

Kenny Rogers Love Songs (box set), Madacy, 2000.

There You Go Again, Dreamcatcher Records, 2000.

(With First Edition) The Best of Kenny Rogers and the First Edition: Tell It All, Brother, Edel America, 2000.

(With others) Christmas Greetings, Capitol, 2000.

(With others) Solid Gold20 Cowboy Classics, Cleopatra, 2000.

Back to the Well, Dreamcatcher Records, 2003.

42 Ultimate Hits, Capitol, 2004.

Recorded Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers Gold with Dolly Parton; recorded In a Most Unusual Way with the Kirby Stone Four. Imported albums include Always and Forever, Recal; Best of Kenny Rogers, BMG; Best of Kenny Rogers //First Edition, BCD; Country Collection, Prism; For the Good Times, DGMDE; Kenny Rogers Collection, EMI; Original Gold, EMI; Pure Gold; Ruby, Hallmark; Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, Galaxy; Simply the Best, EMI; and (with others) Greatest Love Songs, Mastersong.

Singles; with the Scholars:

"Kangewah," c. 1956.

"For You Alone," Carlton, c. 1958.

"We'll Always Fall in Love Again"/"That Crazy Feeling," Carlton, c. 1958.

Wrote other singles with the Scholars.

Singles; with First Edition:

"The First Edition," Reprise, 1967.

"Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," Reprise, c. 1968.

"Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town," Reprise, 1969.

"The Second Edition," Reprise, 1969.

"Reuben James," Reprise, c. 1969.

"Something's Burning," Reprise, 1970.

"Today I Started Loving You Again," Jolly Rogers, 1973.

Other singles with First Edition include "But You Know I Love You," ";Heed the Call," and "Tell It All, Brother."

"Love Lifted Me," United Artists, c. 1976.

"Daytime Friends," United Artists, c. 1977.

"Lucille," United Artists, c. 1977.

"Love or Something Like It," United Artists, 1978.

(With Dottie West) "Every Time Two Fools Collide," United Artists/Liberty, 1978.

"The Gambler," United Artists, 1979.

(With West) "All I Ever Need Is You," United Artists/Liberty, 1979.

"She Believes in Me," United Artists, c. 1979.

"You Decorated My Life," United Artists, c. 1979.

"Coward of the County," United Artists, 1980.

(With Kim Carnes) "Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer," 1980.

(With West) "What Are We Doin' in Love?," 1981.

"Love Will Turn You Around," RCA, 1983.

(With Sheena Easton) "We've Got Tonight," 1983.

"This Woman," 1984.

"What about Me?," RCA, c. 1984.

(With Dolly Parton) "A Christmas to Remember," c. 1984.

"The Heart of the Matter," RCA, 1985.

"Love Is What We Make It," RCA, 1985.

"Morning Desire," RCA, 1985.

(With Dolly Parton) "Real Love," RCA, 1985.

"Tomb of Unknown Love," RCA, 1986.

"They Don't Make Them Like They Used To," RCA, c. 1986.

"I Prefer the Moonlight," RCA, 1987.

(With Ronnie Milsap) "Make No Mistake, She's Mine," RCA, 1987.

"When You Put Your Heart in It," 1988.

"The Vows Go Unbroken (Always True to You)," Reprise, 1989.

"If You Want to Find Love," Reprise, 1992.

"TimePiece," Atlantic, c. 1994.

"Write Your Name across My Heart," 1997.

"The Greatest," 1999.

"Slow Dance More," 1999.

"Buy Me a Rose," 2000.

Other singles include "Homemade Love," ";I Don't Need You," ";Laura," and "While the Feeling's Good."

Nonfiction:

(With Len Epand) Making It with Music: Kenny Rogers' Guide to the Music Business, Harper & Row, 1978.

Kenny Rogers's America (photographs), Little, Brown, 1986.

Your Friends and Mine (photographs), Little, Brown, 1987.

Fiction:

"The Gift" (story), c. 1996.

ADAPTATIONS

Kenny Rogers's songs appear in the karaoke CD Singalong, released by Priddis Music, 1998.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Hume, Martha, Kenny Rogers, Gambler, Dreamer, Lover, photographs by John Reggero, New American Library, 1980.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, 2000.

Periodicals:

Parade, May 20, 2001, p. 22.

People Weekly, June 16, 1997, pp. 5051.

Radio Times, August 7, 1999, pp. 1418.

Electronic:

Kenny Rogers: Dreamcatcher Entertainment, http://www.kennyrogers.com, July 14, 2004.

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Rogers, Kenny

Rogers, Kenny

Country singer

Kenny Rogers has been described in McCall's as "the silver-haired singer with the voice that's turned dozens of songs to gold." Rogers, an astute 50-year veteran of the music business, is a rarity, indeed: he's a crossover artist who moved from pop to country, rather than vice versa. His story ballads and love songs have found a wide mainstream audience and have been phenomenal successes, earning him 11 platinum and 18 gold albums in a ten-year span.

"There are many flashes in the pan in popular music, people who have a hit record or two and then disappear from the spotlight," observed Gene Busnar in Superstars of Country Music. "But Kenny Rogers, who had his first hit as a teenager, worked hard and kept at it for twenty years before reaching true superstardom. In that time, he played in jazz combos, folk singing groups, and rock bands. ... [He] kept growing and changing with the times until he finally carved out a permanent spot as a superstar."

Pioneer of Country Music

Few would argue that Rogers is one of the best-known singers in America, but his contribution to his industry is more substantial than mere personal popularity. Rogers is a pioneer of mainstream country music—a style that appeals to a far wider group than that of standard country fans. He told the Chicago Tribune that he views his fusion of rock, folk, pop, and country as a positive force that has "brought a lot of people into the fold who wouldn't have listened to country music otherwise. It used to be you either liked country music or you didn't, because it all sounded alike. Now it's no longer one-dimensional, and I think that's great."

Kenneth Ray Rogers was born and raised in Houston, Texas, one of seven siblings. He grew up in a federal housing project that he has described in People magazine as "a tenement." The Rogers family was very poor, and Rogers's father had a drinking problem, but still Kenny remembers his family fondly. By ninth grade the young Rogers had decided to become a professional musician. He bought himself a guitar with money earned as a restaurant busboy, and formed a band, The Scholars, with several friends from school. Thanks to his brother Lelan, who worked for a Houston record distributor, The Scholars actually got to record some music. A few of their songs became regional hits, and the band earned money doing live performances.

In 1957 Rogers recorded several solo singles, and one of them, "That Crazy Feeling," became a million-selling hit. Rogers appeared on "American Bandstand" and became prematurely convinced that he was headed for permanent stardom. Many lean years lay ahead of him, however. Lacking a good song to follow his first success, and with no professional band to back him, Rogers could not duplicate his first hit. Instead, he went to college for a term and then joined a jazz group, the Bobby Doyle Trio. The trio attracted the attention of Kirby Stone, a star of that era. Stone invited the group to tour with him, and under that tutelage, Rogers learned how to conduct himself in the music business.

In 1966 Rogers was playing with a jazz combo called the Lively Ones when Stone's manager offered him a position with the New Christy Minstrels. The Minstrels were a pop-folk group that had had several hits and were planning a national tour. Rogers joined the group even though he had to take a cut in pay. He thought the national exposure would advance his career. According to Busnar, the Minstrels "were making a nice living playing the safe kind of folk music that much of Middle America still wanted to hear. But Kenny and some of his cohorts wanted to become part of the more exciting and potentially more rewarding new folk rock."

Formed First Edition

Rogers and three associates left the Minstrels in 1967 to form their own group, the First Edition. Adopting the long-haired look of the times, the band released folk songs with rock overtones, and within six months they had a hit, "Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)." The First Edition had to wait two years for another hit, but when it came, it was a major one. With Rogers singing lead, "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" topped the 1969 charts. That same year the group changed its name to "Kenny Rogers and the First Edition," recognizing that the charming but driven lead singer was the main attraction.

The First Edition fell into a slump in the mid-1970s, finally disbanding in debt in 1976. Rogers described that period as the low point of his career. "For five or six months I just sat around and thought," he told People. He also said that he came to realize that "there's a new hit rock group or singer every five minutes, but with country music, you have one hit and those people love you forever." Rogers headed for Nashville, changed his stage image, and began recording country music. "Emotionally," he said, "it was like coming home."

In 1977 he had four top-ten country hits and one crossover million-seller, the mock-tragic "Lucille," about a broken marriage. "Lucille" won numerous awards for Rogers, including a Grammy and citations from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. "For Kenny Rogers and his manager Ken Kragen," wrote Busnar, "it was only the beginning." Rogers promoted himself tirelessly and carefully, with an eye on his business affairs and an ear on potential recording material.

For the Record . . .

Born Kenneth Ray Rogers on August 21, 1938, in Houston, TX; son of Edward Floyd (a carpenter) and Lucille (Hester) Rogers; married first wife, Janice Gordon, 1958 (divorced 1960); married second wife, Jean, 1960 (divorced 1963); married third wife, Margo Anderson, 1964 (divorced 1976); married fourth wife, Marianne Gordon (an actress), October 2, 1977 (divorced 1993); married fifth wife, Wanda Miller (a waitress), 1997; children: five.

Pop-rock singer, 1957-76; country-pop singer, 1976–. Formed group The Scholars, 1957; member of the Bobby Doyle Trio, 1959-66; member of the New Christy Minstrels, 1966-67; founding member (with Mike Settle, Terry Williams, and Thelma Camacho) of the First Edition, 1967; name changed to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, 1969-76; began as a solo artist, 1976; starred in TV movie "The Gambler," 1980; starred in TV movie "Coward of the County," 1981; made numerous TV movie sequels; signed with RCA, 1983; participated in "We Are the World," 1985; published photography book Kenny Roger's America, 1986; published photography book, Your Friends and Mine, 1987; signed with Reprise label, 1988; developed Kenny Rogers Roasters chicken restaurants, 1991; established his own record label, Dreamcatcher, in 1998.

Awards: Numerous awards, including Grammy Awards, 1977, 1979, 1987; Country Music Association Awards, 1978, 1979; Academy of Country Music Awards, 1977, 1978, 1983; American Music Awards, yearly from 1978-85; Billboard magazine, 1977; People magazine, 1979, 1980; American Society of Composers, Authors, and Musicians (ASCAP), 1983; United Nations Peace Award, 1984; Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Most Awarded Artist Award, 1984; Roy Acuff Award, 1985; TNN Music Award for Career Achievement, 2000.

Addresses: Record company—Dreamcatcher Entertain ment, 2910 Poston Ave., Nashville, TN 37203, phone: (615) 329-2303. Management—Kragen & Co., 1112 North Sherbourne Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90069. Web-site—Kenny Rogers Official Website: http://www.kennyrogers.com.

Before long Rogers was churning out a string of platinum albums and top-ten singles that rode both the country and pop charts. These included story ballads such as "The Gambler" and "The Coward of the County," the love songs "Lady," "You Decorated My Life," and "She Believes in Me," and the duet "Islands in the Stream." By 1980 Rogers was one of the best-paid performers in the country, and he and his fourth wife Marianne Gordon were breaking records with extravagant expenditures on homes in Los Angeles and Georgia.

Some of his story songs were so popular that they were expanded into television movies in which Rogers played the main character. In 1980 Rogers starred in The Gambler, as gambler Brady Hawkes. He followed that up in 1981, starring as Uncle Matthew in Coward of the County. The Gambler spawned multiple "Gambler" sequels. Rogers also had roles in numerous television shows and movies, most often playing a western-type character who can sing. In addition, he appeared on television talk shows and music specials.

Rogers also capitalized on the success of the "Gambler" song and subsequent movies by opening an online casino. Legal issues did not allow gambling for United States residents, but was available in most other places throughout the world.

Continued to Reinvent Himself

Despite his success, Rogers retained an element of insecurity, based on his poverty-stricken youth and his financially lean years as an adult, but the insecurity had its positive repercussions. Rogers, never content with a comfortable niche, continued to experiment with other performance options. With his rugged features and characteristic growling voice, Rogers found film roles in both features and made-for-TV vehicles, some of which were based on his story songs. He also entered the competitive daytime talk-variety show market with a syndicated program for television. Rogers told McCall's that "a lot of people in this business devote ninety-five percent of their lives to music. When the music goes, there goes ninety-five percent of their lives. I can express my creativity in different ways." Rogers insisted he did not plan to give up singing, and that he was simply engaged in diversifying his talents through acting, hosting television, photography, and writing.

Not every critic has been charitable about Rogers's music. Esquire reviewer Mark Jacobson contended that Rogers "can barely sing. His middle range isn't that awful. ... But down low he croaks bad. Upward, he's so pinched as to recall a trapped, furry thing. For a country artist, he is without down-homeness; as a rocker, he ignites nothing." But New York Daily News contributor William Carlton offered a different view of the popular entertainer. According to Carlton, Rogers "sings in a warm, supple, romantic, tender voice with a surprisingly wide range. His story songs are always fresh, tasteful, honest and intelligent, well-crafted and interesting. The man and his music are as welcome as old friends and family."

Rogers has admitted that his early quest for success ruined his first three marriages and alienated him from his oldest two children. He has sought to make amends by spending more time with his families. Still, Rogers has remained intense about his career and almost single-minded in his pursuit of prestige. His manager Ken Kragen told McCall's: "Part of Kenny never really slows down. He wears out the people who travel with him."

The years gave Rogers a perspective on success, however. He told McCall's that "being onstage, getting immediate feedback from an audience, is absolutely addictive. It's worse than heroin. I'm lucky because other things in my life give me the same sort of high." In People Rogers declared, "I'm enjoying my rise from the ashes. I just hope I can spread some of the happiness that's been coming my way."

Rogers's drive for success continued, and in between performing and recording, he found time to open a restaurant chain. Kenny Rogers Roasters was a rotisserie chicken operation that opened in 1991. The restaurant franchise was a success, and was later featured on an episode of the popular television sitcom Seinfeld. The company was later bought out by Nathan's Famous, Inc., in 1998.

Rogers's personal life seemed to be a constant struggle. In 1993 he divorced his fourth wife, Marianne Gordon. In 1997 he married Wanda Miller, and they welcomed twin boys, Justin Charles and Jordan Edward, on July 6, 2004.

In 1998 he established his own record label, Dreamcatcher Entertainment. The soundtrack for the theater musical Christmas From the Heart was Dreamcatcher's first release. He released his 59th album, She Rides Wild Horses, in 1999, with a surprise hit single, "The Greatest," about a boy who loves to play baseball. In 2000 he had a top 40 hit with "Buy Me A Rose."

Rogers's long musical career has enabled him to continually reinvent himself over the years. He has explored new avenues while somehow remaining the same Kenny Rogers that draws a crowd. As a staple in the business, no one expects him to leave the music scene any time soon.

Selected discography

Solo albums

Love Lifted Me, United Artists, 1976.

Lucille, United Artists, 1977.

Daytime Friends, United Artists, 1977.

Ten Years of Gold, United Artists, 1977; reissued, 1986.

(With Dottie West) Every Time Two Fools Collide, United Artists, 1978.

Love or Something Like It, United Artists, 1978.

Convoy (soundtrack), United Artists, 1978.

The Gambler, United Artists, 1978.

(With West) Classics, United Artists, 1979.

Kenny, United Artists, 1979.

Singles Album, United Artists, 1979.

Shine Out, Radar, 1980.

Gideon, United Artists, 1980.

Kenny Rogers's Greatest Hits, Liberty, 1980.

Share Your Love, Liberty, 1981.

Lady, Liberty, 1981.

Kenny Rogers Christmas, Liberty, 1982.

Love Will Turn You Around, Liberty, 1982.

We've Got Tonight, Liberty, 1983.

Eyes That See in the Dark, RCA, 1983.

The Best of Kenny Rogers, Breakaway, 1984.

(With West) Something's Burning, MCA, 1984.

What About Me?, RCA, 1984.

Heart of the Matter, RCA, 1984.

Love Is What We Make It, Liberty, 1985.

They Don't Make Them Like They Used To, RCA, 1986.

Short Stories, Liberty, 1986.

I Prefer the Moonlight, RCA, 1987.

Christmas in America, Reprise, 1989.

Yes, No, Maybe, Cypress, 1989.

Something Inside So Strong, Reprise, 1991.

Love is Strange, Reprise, 1990.

Back Home Again, Reprise, 1991.

Lucille, Special Music, 1992.

If Only My Heart Had Voice, Warner Bros., 1993.

Timepiece, 143/Atlantic, 1994.

Country Songs, MCA, 1995.

Pieces of Calico Silver, MCA, 1995.

The Gift, Magnatone, 1996.

Across my Heart, Magnatone, 1996.

Branson City Limits (Live), Unison, 1998.

Christmas from the Heart, Dreamcatcher, 1998.

She Rides Wild Horses, Dreamcatcher, 1999.

Christmas Greetings, Capitol, 2000.

X-mas, Disky, 2000.

There You Go Again, Dreamcatcher, 2000.

The Way It Used to Be, Direct Source, 2001.

A&E Live By Request, Dreamcatcher, 2001.

Sing You a Sad Song, TKO Magnum, 2001.

Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, Prestige Elite, 2002.

The Best of Kenny Rogers, Vol. 2, Bellaphon, 2003.

Back to the Well, Dreamcatcher, 2003.

Christmas with Kenny, Rio Creek, 2004.

With the First Edition

The First Edition, Reprise, 1968.

The First Edition's Second, Reprise, 1968.

First Edition 1969, Reprise, 1969.

Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town, Reprise, 1969.

Something's Burning, Reprise, 1970.

Tell It All, Brother, Reprise, 1970.

Fools, Reprise, 1971.

Kenny Rogers and the First Edition's Greatest Hits, Reprise,
1971.

Transition, Reprise, 1971.

The Ballad of Callico, Reprise, 1972.

Back Roads, Jolly Rogers, 1972.

Monumental, Jolly Rogers, 1973.

Rollin', Jolly Rogers, 1973.

Hits and Pieces, MCA, 1985.

60s Revisited, MCA, 1985.

(With the New Editions) 15 Greatest Hits, MCA, 1987.

Sources

Books

Busnar, Gene, Superstars of Country Music, J. Messner,
1984.

Periodicals

America's Intelligence Wire, June 25, 2004.

Billboard, February 27, 1999; May 6, 2000.

Chicago Tribune, August 12, 1979.

Country Music, October 1977.

Daily News (New York, NY), March 26, 1979.

Esquire, March 1986.

McCall's, November 1988.

People, January 9, 1978; December 10, 1979; March 29,
1982.

PR Newswire, May 4, 1998; February 22, 2005.

Stereo Review, April 1980.

Online

"Kenny Rogers: Biography," Country Music Television, http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/rogers_kenny/bio.jhtml (June 17, 2005).

Kenny Rogers Official Website, http://www.kennyrogers.com (June 17, 2005).

—Anne Janette Johnson andSarah Parkin

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Rogers, Kenny

Kenny Rogers

Singer

For the Record

Selected discography

Writings

Sources

Kenny Rogers has been described in McCalls as the silver-haired singer with the voice thats turned dozens of songs to gold. Rogers, an astute thirty-year veteran of the music business, is a rarity, indeed: hes a crossover artist who moved from pop to country, rather than vice versa. His story ballads and love songs have found a wide mainstream audience and have been phenomenal successes, earning him eleven platinum and eighteen gold albums in a ten-year span.

There are many flashes in the pan in popular music, people who have a hit record or two and then disappear from the spotlight, observes Gene Busnar in Superstars of Country Music.But Kenny Rogers, who had his first hit as a teenager, worked hard and kept at it for twenty years before reaching true superstardom. In that time, he played in jazz combos, folksinging groups, and rock bands. Better musicians with better voices took their bow in the spotlight and faded from glory as the musical trend they were part of was replaced by something new. But Kenny kept growing and changing with the times until he finally carved out a permanent spot as a superstar.

Few would argue that Rogers is one of the best-known singers in America, but his contribution to his industry is more substantial than mere personal popularity. Rogers is a pioneer of mainstream country musica style that appeals to a far wider group than standard country fans. He told the Chicago Tribune that he views his fusion of rock, folk, pop, and country as a positive force that has brought a lot of people into the fold who wouldnt have listened to country music otherwise. It used to be you either liked country music or you didnt, because it all sounded alike. Now its no longer one-dimensional, and I think thats great.

Kenneth Ray Rogers was born and raised in Houston, Texas, one of seven siblings. He grew up in a federal housing project that he has described in People magazine as a tenement. The Rogers family was very poor, and Rogerss father had a drinking problem, but still Kenny remembers his family fondly. By ninth grade the young Rogers had decided to become a professional musician. He bought himself a guitar with money earned as a restaurant busboy and formed a band, The Scholars, with several friends from school. Thanks to his brother Lelan, who worked for a Houston record distributor, The Scholars actually got to record some music. A few of their songs became regional hits, and the band earned money doing live performances.

In 1957 Rogers recorded several solo singles, and one of them, That Crazy Feeling, became a million-selling hit. Rogers appeared on American Bandstand and became prematurely convinced that he was headed for

For the Record

Full name, Kenneth Ray Rogers; born August 21, 1938, in Houston, Tex.; son of Edward Floyd (a carpenter) and Lucille (Hester) Rogers; married fourth wife, Marianne Gordon (an actress), October2, 1977; children: (first marriage) Carole Lynn; (third marriage) Kenneth Ray, Jr.; (fourth marriage) Christopher Cody. Education: Attended University of Houston, c. 1958.

Pop-rock singer, 1957-76; country-pop singer, 1976. Formed group The Scholars, 1957; member of The Bobby Doyle Trio, 1959-66; member of The New Christy Minstrels, 1966-67; founding member (with Mike Settle, Terry Williams, and Thelma Camacho) of The First Edition, 1967, name changed to Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, 1969-76; solo artist, 1976. Star of numerous motion pictures and television shows.

Awards: Named crossover artist of the year by Billboard magazine, 1977; Grammy Award for best male country vocal performance, 1977, for Lucille; Academy of Country Music awards for best single and for best song, 1977, for Lucille; Country Music Association citation for song of the year, 1977, for Lucille; received best male vocalist awards from Academy of Country Music, 1977 and 1979; recipient of Country Music Association Awards, 1978 and 1979. Named top male vocalist by People magazine, 1979 and 1980; Grammy Award for best male country performance, 1980, for The Gambler; American Music Awards for best male country vocalist and for best country album, 1984; recipient of United Nations Peace Award, 1984; received Most Awarded Artist Award from Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), 1984; recipient of Roy Acuff Award, 1985; American Music Awards for best male country vocalist and for best country album, 1985; Grammy Award (with Ronnie Milsap) for best country vocal duet, 1987. Holder of eleven platinum and eighteen gold records.

Addresses: Home Athens, Ga; and Los Angeles, Calif. Manager Kragen & Co., 1112 North Sherbourne Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90069.

permanent stardom. Many lean years lay ahead of him, however. Lacking a good song to follow his first success, and a professional band to back him, Rogers could not duplicate his first hit. Instead he went to college for one term and then joined a jazz group, The Bobby Doyle Trio. The trio attracted the attention of Kirby Stone, a star of that era. Stone invited the group to tour with him, and under that tutelage, Rogers learned how to conduct himself in the music business.

In 1966 Rogers was playing with a jazz combo called The Lively Ones when Stones manager offered him a position in The New Christy Minstrels. The Minstrels were a pop-folk group that had had several hits and were planning a national tour. Rogers joined the group even though he had to take a cut in payhe thought the national exposure would advance his career. According to Busnar, The Minstrels were making a nice living playing the safe kind of folk music that much of middle America still wanted to hear. But Kenny and some of his cohorts wanted to become part of the more exciting and potentially more rewarding new folk rock.

Rogers and three associates left the Minstrels in 1967 to form their own group, The First Edition. Adopting the long-haired look of the times, the band released folk songs with rock overtones, and within six months it had a hit, Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In). The First Edition had to wait two years for another hit, but when it came it was a major one. With Rogers singing lead, Ruby, Dont Take Your Love to Town topped the 1969 charts. That same year the group changed its name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, recognizing that the charming but driven lead singer was the main attraction.

The First Edition fell into a slump in the mid-1970s, finally disbanding in debt in 1976. Rogers describes that period as the low point of his career. For five or six months I just sat around and thought, he told People. He also said that he came to realize that theres a new hit rock group or singer every five minutes, but with country music, you have one hit and those people love you forever. Rogers headed for Nashville, changed his stage image, and began recording country music. Emotionally, he said, it was like coming home.

In 1977 he had four top-ten country hits and one crossover million-seller, the mock-tragic Lucille, about a broken marriage. Lucille won numerous awards for Rogers, including a Grammy and citations from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. For Kenny Rogers and his manager Ken Kragen, writes Busnar, it was only the beginning. Rogers promoted himself tirelessly and carefully, with an eye on his business affairs and an ear on potential recording material.

Before long he was churning out a string of platinum albums and top-ten singles that rode both the country and pop charts. Just a few of these hit singles include story ballads such as The Gambler and The Coward of the County, the love songs Lady, You Decorated My Life, and She Believes in Me, and the duet Islands in the Stream. By 1980 Rogers was one of the best-paid performers in the country, and he and his fourth wife Marianne Gordon were breaking records with extravagant expenditures on homes in Los Angeles and Georgia.

Despite his success, Rogers retains an element of insecurity, based on his poverty-stricken youth and his off-years as an adult. The insecurity has had positive repercussions, however. Rogers has never been content with a comfortable nichehe is constantly experimenting with other performance options. How long can I goon singing Ruby, Dont Take Your Love to Town and Lady? he asked in People.Can I still do this when Im 55? Movies will allow me to carry on for a few years after the music is over.

With his rugged but regular features and characteristic growling voice, Rogers has indeed found film roles in both features and made-for-TV vehicles, some of which have been based on his story songs. He is also entering the competitive daytime talk-variety show market with a syndicated program for television. Rogers told McCalls: A lot of people in this business devote ninety-five percent of their lives to music. When the music goes, there goes ninety-five percent of their lives. I can express my creativity in different ways. Rogers insists he does not plan to give up singinghe simply is engaged in diversifying his talents among acting, hosting television, photography, and writing.

Not every critic has been charitable about Rogers music. Esquire reviewer Mark Jacobson contended that Rogers can barely sing. His middle range isnt that awful. But down low he croaks bad. Upward, hes so pinched as to recall a trapped, furry thing. For a country artist, he is without down-homeness; as a rocker, he ignites nothing. New York Daily News contributor William Carlton offered a different view of the popular entertainer. According to Carlton, Rogers sings in a warm, supple, romantic, tender voice with a surprisingly wide range. His story songs are always fresh, tasteful, honest and intelligent, well-crafted and interesting. The man and his music are as welcome as old friends and family.

Rogers and his wife divide their time between Los Angeles and a farm near Athens, Georgia, where they raise horses. Rogers has admitted that his early quest for success ruined his three previous marriages and alienated him from his oldest two children, now grown adults. He has sought to make amends by spending more time with his families, including his youngest son, Christopher. Still, Rogers is intense about his career and almost singleminded in his pursuit of prestige. His manager Ken Kragen told McCalls: Part of Kenny never really slows down. He wears out the people who travel with him.

The years have given Rogers a perspective on success, however. He told McCalls: Being onstage, getting immediate feedback from an audience, is absolutely addictive. Its worse than heroin. Im lucky because other things in my life give me the same sort of high. In People, Rogers concluded: Im enjoying my rise from the ashes. I just hope I can spread some of the happiness thats been coming my way.

Selected discography

With the First Edition

The First Edition, Reprise, 1968.

The First Editions Second, Reprise, 1968.

Ruby Dont Take Your Love to Town, Reprise, 1969.

Somethings Burning, Reprise, 1970.

Tell It All, Brother, Reprise, 1970.

Fools, Reprise, 1971.

Kenny Rogers and the First Editions Greatest Hits, Reprise, 1971.

Transitions, Reprise, 1971.

The Ballad of Callico, Reprise, 1972.

Back Roads, Jolly Rogers, 1972.

Monumental, Jolly Rogers, 1973.

Rollin, Jolly Rogers, 1973.

Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, Warner Brothers, 1979.

Hits and Pieces, MCA, 1985.

60s Revisited, MCA, 1985.

(With The New Editions)15 Greatest Hits, MCA, 1987.

Solo albums

Love Lifted Me, United Artists, 1976.

Lucille, United Artists, 1977.

Daytime Friends, United Artists, 1977.

Ten Years of Gold, United Artists, 1977; reissued, 1986.

(With Dottie West)Every Time Two Fools Collide, United Artists, 1978.

Love or Something Like It, United Artists, 1978.

Convoy (soundtrack), United Artists, 1978.

The Gambler, United Artists, 1978.

(With West)Classics, United Artists, 1979.

Kenny, United Artists, 1979.

Singles Album, United Artists, 1979.

Shine Out, Radar, 1980.

Gideon, United Artists, 1980.

Kenny Rogerss Greatest Hits, Liberty, 1980.

Share Your Love, Liberty, 1981.

Lady, Liberty, 1981.

Kenny Rogers Christmas, Liberty, 1982.

Love Will Turn You Around, Liberty, 1982.

Weve Got Tonight, Liberty, 1983.

Eyes That See in the Dark, RCA, 1983.

The Best of Kenny Rogers, Breakaway, 1984.

(With West)Somethings Burning, MCA, 1984.

What About Me?, RCA, 1984.

The Heart of the Matter, RCA, 1985.

They Dont Make Them Like They Used To, RCA, 1986.

Duets, Capitol, 1987.

I Prefer the Moonlight, RCA, 1987.

Love Is What We Make It, Liberty, 1987.

Short Stories, Liberty, 1987.

There Lies the Difference, 1989.

Also recorded 20 Greatest Hits, Liberty, 25 Greatest Hits, and, with Dolly Parton, Once Upon a Christmas.

Writings

Author of photo books Kenny Rogerss America, 1986, and Your Friends and Mine, 1987.

Sources

Books

Busnar, Gene, Superstars of Country Music, J. Messner, 1984.

Periodicals

Chicago Tribune, August 12, 1979.

Country Music, October, 1977.

Daily News (New York), March 26, 1979.

Esquire, March, 1986.

McCalls, November, 1988.

People, January 9, 1978; December 10, 1979; March 29, 1982.

Stereo Review, April, 1980.

Anne Janette Johnson

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