The Talented Kenny Rogers Part One
Kenneth Ray Rogers (born August 21, 1938) is an American singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Rogers, concert, Chumash Casino Resort hall, Santa Ynez, California, September 27, 2006.
Kenneth Ray Rogers
August 21, 1938 (age 78)
Houston, Texas, United States
* Country pop adult contemporary soft rock rock jazz
* Singer songwriter actor record producer entrepreneur
* Vocals guitar bass guitar harmonica fiddle
* Cue Carlton Mercury United Artists Giant Reprise Atlantic Curb RCA Dreamcatcher Capitol WEA Warner Bros.
* The Scholars The Bobby Doyle Trio The New Christy Minstrels The First Edition Dolly Parton Dottie West Barry Gibb Kim Carnes David Foster Lionel Richie
Though he has been most successful with country audiences, Rogers has charted more than 120 hit singles across various music genres, topped the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the United States alone and has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. On September 25, 2015, Rogers announced on NBC’s Today Show that he was retiring from show business after a final tour to spend more time with his wife and twin boys.
Two of his albums, The Gambler and Kenny, are featured in the About.com poll of “The 200 Most Influential Country Albums Ever”. He was voted the “Favorite Singer of All-Time” in a 1986 joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People. He has received numerous such awards as the AMAs, Grammys, ACMs and CMAs, as well as a lifetime achievement award for a career spanning six decades in 2003.
Later success includes the 2006 album release, Water & Bridges, an across the board hit, that hit the Top 5 in the Billboard Country Albums sales charts, also charting in the Top 15 of the Billboard 200. The first single from the album, “I Can’t Unlove You,” was also a sizable chart hit. Remaining a popular entertainer around the world, the following year he completed a tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland, telling BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright his favorite hit was “The Gambler”. He has also acted in a variety of movies and television shows, most notably the title roles in Kenny Rogers as The Gambler and the MacShayne series as well as his appearance on The Muppet Show. He is also a co-founder of the restaurant chain Kenny Rogers Roasters.
Kenneth Ray Rogers was born in Houston, Texas, on August 21, 1938, the fourth of eight children, born to Lucille Lois (née Hester; b. 1910-d. 1991), a nurse’s assistant, and Edward Floyd Rogers (b. 1904-d. 1975), a carpenter. Rogers is of Irish and Native American ancestry. Rogers attended Wharton Elementary School.
He has five children from four of his five marriages.
At his estate in Colbert, Georgia, Rogers keeps a pet goat named ‘Smitty’, having originally acquired the animal from a friend in 2008. According to Rogers, the goat has been “(his) center”, providing a calming influence after long and stressful touring schedules.
* Janice Gordon, May 15, 1958 – April 1960, divorced; 1 child
* Jean Rogers, October 1960 – 1963, divorced
* Margo Anderson, October 1964 – 1976, divorced; 1 child
* Marianne Gordon, October 1, 1977 – 1993, divorced; 1 child
* Wanda Miller, June 1, 1997 – present; 2 children
In a recording career dating back to 1950s, Rogers moved from teenage rock’n’roll through psychedelic rock to become a country-pop crossover artist of the 1970s and 1980s. He had a minor solo hit in 1958 called “That Crazy Feeling”. After sales slowed down, Rogers joined a jazz group called The Bobby Doyle Three, who got a lot of work in clubs thanks to a reasonable fan following. The group recorded for Columbia Records. They disbanded in 1965, and a 1966 jazzy rock single Rogers recorded for Mercury Records, called “Here’s That Rainy Day”, failed. Rogers also worked as a producer, writer and session musician for other performers, including country artists Mickey Gilley and Eddy Arnold. In 1966 he joined the New Christy Minstrels as a singer and double bass player.
Feeling that the Minstrels were not offering the success they wanted, Rogers and fellow members Mike Settle, Terry Williams, and Thelma Camacho left the group. They formed The First Edition in 1967 (later renamed “Kenny Rogers and The First Edition”). They were later joined by Kin Vassy. They chalked up a string of hits on both the pop and country charts, including “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” “But You Know I Love You,” “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” “Tell It All, Brother,” “Reuben James,” and “Something’s Burning.”
When the First Edition disbanded in 1976, Rogers launched his solo career. He soon developed a more middle-of-the-road sound that sold to both pop and country audiences. He has charted more than 60 top 40 hit singles (including two number ones–“Lady” and “Islands In The Stream”). His music has also been featured in top selling movie soundtracks, such as Convoy, Urban Cowboy, and The Big Lebowski.