Today's Daily Doodle is brought to you in honor of the great Kenny Rogers. He passed away last night at his family's home of natural causes at the age of 81. His career spanned 7 decades and his music charted in each of those decades from the 1950s-2010's.
Kenneth Donald Rogers in Houston, Texas August 21, 1938, the fourth of seven children born to Lucille, a nurse, and Edward Floyd Rogers, a carpenter. Rogers grew up poor, living with his parents and six siblings in a federal housing project. Although his legal name was Kenneth Donald, his family always called him Kenneth Ray. By high school, he knew that he wanted to pursue a music career. He bought himself a guitar and started a group called the Scholars. The band had a rockabilly sound and scored a few local hits.
Breaking out on his own, Rogers recorded the 1958 hit single "That Crazy Feeling" for the Carlton label. He performed the song on Dick Clark's popular music program American Bandstand. Changing genres, Rogers then played bass with the Bobby Doyle Trio, a jazz group. Moving on to a folk-pop style, Rogers was asked to join the New Christy Minstrels in 1966. He left after a year, along with a few other members of the group, to form the First Edition. Fusing folk, rock and country, the group quickly scored a hit with the psychedelic "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)." The band soon became known as Kenny Rogers and the First Edition and landed their own syndicated music show. In 1974, Rogers left the group to go solo again and decided to focus his energy on country music.
Kenny Rogers was the first country artist to consistently sell out arenas, playing in front of millions of fans around the world. He charted a record within each of the last seven decades (’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, 2000’s, 2010’s), while sending 24 songs to the No. 1 spot of the charts. He charted more than 120 hit singles across various music genres and topped the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the United States alone. He sold more than 120 million albums worldwide, making him one of the Top Ten Best Selling Male Solo Artists of All Time, according to the RIAA.
Kenny Rogers was given his star (6666 Hollywood Blvd) on the Hollywood Walk fo Fame over 20 years ago on September 14, 1979. He won several awards for his music and charity work, including three GRAMMY Awards, 19 American Music Awards, 11 People’s Choice Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards, six Country Music Association Awards, including the CMA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Kenny was awarded the Artist of a Lifetime Award at the CMT Artists of the Year 2015 award show. Rogers has been the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Entertainment Buyers Association, the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award from the Academy of Country Music, and the Horatio Alger Award (given to those who have distinguished themselves despite humble beginnings). Most recently, on February 29, 2016, Rogers was honored with the 2016 Tony Martell Lifetime Entertainment Achievement Award at the 8th Annual TJ Martell Foundation Nashville Honors Gala.
Rogers earned a GRAMMY Award nomination and CMA Award nomination in 2014, along with longtime friend and collaborator Dolly Parton, for their new duet, “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” the title track of Rogers’ current acclaimed 32nd studio album released by Warner Bros. in 2013. “You Can’t Make Old Friends” was also included on the American Songwriter Top 50 Songs of 2014 list. The magical Kenny & Dolly reunion was only the third time in the studio together since their “Real Love" hit in 1985.
My favorite song of his is probably his duet with Dolly, "Islands in the Stream", but "The Gambler" is right there too. What about you? What's your favorite Kenny Rogers song?