Kenny Rogers

Biography

This pop icon has had a career that has thrived for more than 30 years. Rogers first found success in the 1960s with the New Christy Minstrels, a prefab lite folk vocal group that also boasted one-time members Roger McGuinn and John Denver. From there, Rogers started the First Edition, who had their first hit with a rocking, psychedelic, fuzz-guitar-laden version of Mickey Newbury's "Just Dropped In" only a month after signing to Reprise in 1968. After the First Edition broke up, Rogers had his first No. 1 hit with "Lady," a duet with Lionel Richie, and his second with "Islands in the Stream," which found him paired him with Dolly Parton. He became a country pop hitmaker in the 1970s with "The Gambler" and "Lucille," among others. The comforting timbre of Rogers' singing voice carries with it a hushed paternal calm that seems to naturally warm up the narratives of his songs and give them a quiet authority. In fact, his songs' story lines are so strong that two of them -- "The Gambler" and "Coward of the Country" -- were turned into made-for-TV Westerns in the mid-'80s. Rogers continued to have big records throughout that decade, as well as a platinum-selling Christmas collection. The '90s charts were not as kind, and Rogers hit a patch of bad luck. Kenny Rogers Roasters, his poultry food chain, lost some sales to Boston Market, and then he was sued for two million dollars by Kevin O'Toole after he tossed a Frisbee from a stage inside a concert hall that struck a chandelier, dropping shards of broken glass onto O'Toole. He was also the butt of a somewhat infamous Internet site: http://www.MenWhoLookLikeKennyRogers.com. Kenny Rogers seems to have recaptured some of his luster, and is a huge international star. His Christmas albums always fare well among his fans, and he released a new album every year in the new millennium aside from 2005. He has even published two somewhat successful books: Kenny Rogers' America and Kenny Rogers: Your Friends and Mine, the latter of which is an engaging collection of never-before-published photographs from his own personal collection.
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