Kenneth Donald "Kenny" Rogers
(born August 21, 1938) is an American singer-songwriter, photographer,
record producer, actor, entrepreneur and author, and member of the
Country Music Hall of Fame. Though he has been most successful with
country audiences, he 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
artists of all time. 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 favourite 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.
In the 21st century, Rogers was back at No. 1 for the first time in more
than a decade with the 2000 single "Buy Me a Rose". In doing so, he
broke a 26-year-old record held by Hank Snow (who, in April 1974, was 59
years and 11 months old when he scored with "Hello Love"). Rogers held
the record until 2003, when then 70-year-old Willie Nelson became the
oldest artist to have a No. 1 on the country charts with his duet with
Toby Keith, "Beer for My Horses".
Although Rogers did not record new albums for a couple of years, he
continued to have success in many countries with more greatest hits
packages. In 2004 42 Ultimate Hits, which was the first hits collection
to span his days with the First Edition to the present, reached Number 6
on the American country charts and went gold. It also featured two new
songs, "My World Is Over" with Whitney Duncan and "We Are the Same". "My
World Is Over" was released as a single and was a minor hit. In 2005
The Very Best of Kenny Rogers, a double album, sold well in Europe. It
was the first new solo Kenny Rogers hits album to reach the United
Kingdom for over a decade, despite many compilations there that were not
true hits packages.
Rogers also signed with Capitol Records and had more success with the TV
advertised release 21 Number Ones in January 2006. Although this CD did
contain 21 chart-toppers as the title claims (recorded between 1976 and
the present day), this was not a complete collection of Rogers' No. 1
singles, omitting such singles as "Crazy in Love" and "What About Me?"
Capitol followed 21 Number Ones with Rogers' new studio album, Water
& Bridges, in March 2006 on the Capitol Nashville Records label. The
first single from the album was "I Can't Unlove You," which peaked at
No. 17 on the country charts, after spending over 6 months on the hit
list, more than 50 years after he formed his first group and 38 years
after his first major hit as leader of The First Edition; the song
remains in recurrent airplay on some radio stations today. "I Can't
Unlove You" was followed up with the second single from the album, "The
Last Ten Years (Superman)", in September 2006. The third single,
"Calling Me," which features Don Henley, became popular in early 2007,
and was nominated for a Grammy Award at the 2007 Grammy Awards. Also in
2007, the 1977 Kenny Rogers album was re-issued as a double CD, also
featuring the 1979 Kenny album and this once again put Rogers' name into
the sales charts worldwide. The following year, another compilation
album (A Love Song Collection) also charted.
As of 2011, Rogers has recorded 65 albums and sold over 165 million records.
On August 26, 2008, Rogers released 50 Years exclusively at Cracker
Barrel stores. The album includes some of Rogers' greatest hits, plus 3
new songs. The release is designed to celebrate Rogers' 50th year in the
music business. In 2007 the England national rugby union team team
adopted Rogers song "The Gambler" as their unofficial 2007 Rugby World
Cup anthem, after hearing prop Matt Stevens playing it in the team
hotel. Before the semi-final against France and the final against South
Africa, Rogers sent video messages of support to the team in light of
them choosing his song. He offered to come to England and party with the
team if they won the World Cup.
In 2008 Rogers toured with his Christmas Show. He split the show up,
making the first half his "best of" and the second half his Christmas
songs. In 2009 he toured the United Kingdom. In 2009, Rogers embarked on
his 50th Anniversary Tour. The tour went around the United States,
Britain and Ireland.
On April 10, 2010, a TV special was taped, Kenny Rogers: The First 50
Years. Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie were among those set to perform
with Rogers during a show celebrating his contribution to country, blues
and pop music, It took place at the MGM Grand in Foxwoods. This special
debuted on March 8, 2011 on Great American Country.
On June 10, 2012, Rogers appeared on stage with the musical group Phish
to perform his hit song "The Gambler" at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts
Festival. Also in 2012, Rogers re-recorded the hit song "Lady", a duet
with its songwriter Lionel Richie, on Richie's album Tuskegee. The pair
also performed the song live at the 2012 ACM concert, "Lionel Richie
On April 10, 2013, the CMA announced that Rogers would be a 2013
inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, along with Cowboy Jack
Clement and Bobby Bare. In June 2013 he performed at the Glastonbury
Festival in the Sunday afternoon 'Legends' slot.
In 2013, Kenny Rogers recorded a new album with the name You Can't Make
Old Friends. This album included the title track, a new duet with Dolly
Parton, which was his first charting single in six years.