Country Pop Superstar Kenny Rogers Dead at 81

What a life. What a career. He charted over 120 songs in different genres like country, pop and adult contemporary and sold 100 million records worldwide. He’s won all the big music awards Grammys, AMAs, ACMs, and CMAs and he’s in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Rogers also had over 20 acting roles(mostly TV movies) including playing Brady Hawkes in five Gambler movies which were based on his 1978 hit of the same name. In fact that LP was his first multi-platinum album for Kenny. “The Gambler” has, so far, gone 5X Platinum, Kenny from 1979 went 3X Platinum, 1983’s Eyes That See In the Dark 2X Platinum. His Christmas LPs “Christmas” from 1981 2X Platinum and “Once Upon a Christmas” with Dolly Parton 2X Platinum. His best of Compilations “Ten Years of Gold” 4X Platinum, Greatest Hits 12X Platinum, 20 Greatest Hits 4X Platinum.

He was born Kenneth Ray Rogers on August 21, 1938. He was the fourth of eight children. In the 50’s he had a minor hit called “That Crazy Feeling” but his first real success came as a member of First Edition which formed in 1967. They are best known for “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” #5 on the Billboard charts, the #19 hit “But You Know I Love You” and “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” which reached #6. Rogers left the first edition in 1976 and as much success as he had with the band the best was yet to come.

He had too many hits to name here but let’s just say from 1976 to present Kenny Rogers has had 20 Top 40 Hits and 44 Country hits. Some of his Top 10s including his first big solo hit “Lucille” from 1977. It reached #5 so did “She Believes in Me” from 1979, “You Decorated My Life” reached #7 and “Coward of the County” #3 also in 1979.

The eighties were also very fruitful, “Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer” (with Kim Carnes) was a #4 hit. Lady top the charts. In 1981 “I Don’t Need You” peaked at #3. In 83 Rogers had two big duets, “We’ve Got Tonight” (with Sheena Easton) peaked at #6 and “Islands in the Stream” (with Dolly Parton) reached the top of the charts.

In September of 2015, Rogers told NBC’s Today Show that he was retiring from music after one final tour to spend time with his family. – by John Beaudin

The Top 10 Kenny Rogers Hits – Our Tribute

-10- “Through the Years” #13 from 1982 from “Share Your Love” and produced by Lionel Richie. The album reached #1 on the country charts and #6 on the pop charts. at 12 million hits

-9- “Don’t Fall In Love With a Dreamer” featuring the tunes co-writer Kim Carnes #4 in 1980 from “Gideon” Carnes would have the #1 hit “Betty Davis Eyes” the following year.

-8- “You Decorated My Life” #7 in 1979 from “Kenny” (8 million streams) It also went to #1 on the country charts. 

-7- “Lucille” #5 in 1977 from the self-titled album (7.8 million streams) It was his first solo hit after leaving the First Edition. It was also #1 on the country charts and the UK charts.

-6- “She Believes In Me” #5 in 1979 from “The Gambler” (10 million streams) It’s known for sounding a bit like Bread’s 1976 hit “Lost Without Your Love”

-5- “We’ve Got Tonight” (with Sheena Easton) #6 from 1983 from “We’ve Got Tonight” (17 million streams). It was a remake of Bob Seger’s 1978 hit that reached #13 on the charts. Seger also wrote the tune.

-4- “Coward of the County” #3 from1979 from “Kenny” (20 million streams) Kenny tells an amazing story of a Tommy, boy who is known as yellow/weak who grows into the same type of man. One day his wife Becky is attacked by the Gatlin brothers that when Tommy tracked the boys at a saloon, comes in they laugh at him, Tommy closes the door behind him and Tommy turns into the man his dead dad never wanted him to be hoping for forgiveness.

-3-“Lady,” #1 in 1980 from, “Greatest Hits” (17 million streams) Written by Lionel Richie Rogers once said that it was an attempt to join Richie’s R&B and Kenny’s Country. It was also Richie’s first production outside the Commodores.

-2- “Islands In the Stream” (with Dolly Parton) #1 from 1983 from “Eyes That See in the Dark” (77.5 Million streams – making it Kenny’s second-biggest song). It also knocked Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” out of the #1 spot. Written by Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees it was also #1 all over the world.

-1-“The Gambler” #16 in 1978 from the album of the same name (77.9 million streams making it Kenny’s biggest song on Spotify) It inspired 5 TV movies with Kenny Playing Brady Hawkes.




We have 4 active YouTube Channels featuring John Beaudin

Subscribe to this (RockHistoryMusic) Channel

“RockHistoryBook” -Top 10 Rock & Pop Hit Lists

“RockHistoryCanada” – Interviews & Current Music News From Top Canadian Acts.

“Nail Sheet” – More on the Pop Music Side plus TV & Movie News & Interviews.

John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 35 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a newsman so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first Elton John album as a teen. In the ’80s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two versions (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio.

To Follow John Beaudin’s posts on all subjects

To Follow John’s “Rock News” only posts FACEBOOK

John Beaudin Official Website

TWITTER for Rock History Music
TWITTER for John

Heading West by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license ()