March 21, 2020

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Kenny Rogers, country music star, dies aged 81 (The Guardian, 21 Mar 2020)

Rogers was raised in public housing in Houston Heights with seven siblings. 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 player.

But his breakthrough came when he was asked to join the New Christy Minstrels, a folk group, in 1966. The band reformed as First Edition and scored a pop hit 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 songs like Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town, a story of a Vietnam veteran begging his girlfriend to stay.

After the group broke up in 1974, Rogers started his solo career and found a big hit with the country ballad Lucille, in 1977, which crossed over to the pop charts and earned Rogers his first Grammy.

Rogers invested his time and money in a variety of endeavours over the course of his career, including a passion for photography that led to several books, as well as an autobiography, Making It With Music. He had a chain of restaurants called Kenny Rogers Roasters, and was a partner behind a riverboat in Branson, Missouri.

In 2007 The Gambler became the unofficial anthem of the England World Cup rugby team, catapulting Rogers back into the spotlight.

It was, of course, his "Quick-Pickin' 'n Fun-Strummin'" home guitar course ads that made him famous, back in the day when we only had 4 to 8 tv stations and syndication ruled the air waves.

Posted by at March 21, 2020 7:25 AM

  

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