Kenny Rogers facts for kids
|Birth name||Kenneth Ray Rogers|
|Born||August 21, 1938
Houston, Texas, United States
Kenneth Ray Rogers (born August 21, 1938) is an American singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Though he has been most successful with country audiences, Rogers 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 music artists of all time. On September 25, 2015, Rogers announced on NBC's Today Show that he was retiring from show business after a final tour to spend more time with his wife and twin boys.
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 awards such 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.
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. He is also a co-founder of the restaurant chain Kenny Rogers Roasters in collaboration with former Kentucky Fried Chicken CEO John Y. Brown Jr..
Rogers has recorded 65 albums and sold over 165 million records.
Early life and Career
Rogers was born the fourth of eight children in Houston, Texas. His parents were Lucille Lois (née Hester; 1910–1991), a nurse's assistant, and Edward Floyd Rogers (1904–1975), a carpenter. Rogers is of Irish and Native American ancestry. Rogers attended Wharton Elementary School.
In a recording career dating back to the 1950s, Rogers moved from teenage rock'n'roll through psychedelic rock to become a country-pop crossover artist of the 1970s and 1980s. He had a minor solo hit in 1957 called "That Crazy Feeling". After sales slowed down, Rogers joined a jazz group called The Bobby Doyle Three, who got a lot of work in clubs thanks to a reasonable fan following.
The group recorded for Columbia Records. They disbanded in 1965, and a 1966 jazzy rock single Rogers recorded for Mercury Records, called "Here's That Rainy Day", failed. Rogers also worked as a producer, writer and session musician for other performers, including country artists Mickey Gilley and Eddy Arnold. In 1966 he joined the New Christy Minstrels as a singer and double bass player.
In 1976 Rogers signed a solo deal with United Artists. Producer Larry Butler and Rogers began a partnership that would last four years.Rogers first outing for his new label was Love Lifted Me. The album charted and two singles, "Love Lifted Me" and "While the Feeling's Good", were minor hits. The song "Runaway Girl" was featured in the motion picture Trackdown.
Later in 1976, Rogers issued his second album, the self-titled Kenny Rogers, whose first single, "Laura (What's He Got That I Ain't Got)", was another solo hit.
The single "Lucille" (1977) was a major hit, reaching number one on the pop charts in 12 countries, selling over five million copies, and firmly establishing Rogers' post-First Edition career. On the strength of "Lucille", the album Kenny Rogers reached No.1 in the Billboard Country Album Chart. More success was to follow, including the multi-platinum selling album The Gambler and another international Number 1 single, "Coward of the County", taken from the equally successful album, Kenny.
In 2015, Rogers announced his farewell tour, titled The Gambler's Last Deal. In announcing the tour, Rogers indicated at the time that his final tour appearance would be on NBC's Today show. Concert dates were scheduled through 2018 and included visits to the United States, Australia, Scotland, Ireland, England, The Netherlands and Switzerland. On April 5, 2018, it was announced that Rogers canceled his remaining tour as advised by doctors due to a series of health challenges.
Rogers' final concert in Nashville took place on October 25, 2017 at the Bridgestone Arena where he was joined by an array of guest artists including Linda Davis, Elle King, Little Big Town, Lionel Richie, Billy Currington, Lee Greenwood, The Flaming Lips, The Oak Ridge Boys, Justin Moore, Travis Tritt, The Judds, Kris Kristofferson, Alison Krauss, Chris Stapleton, Lady Antebellum, Idina Menzel, Crystal Gayle, Reba McEntire and Jamey Johnson.
The concert also included a special appearance by long-time friend Dolly Parton, who performed "You Can't Make Old Friends" and "Islands in the Stream" with Rogers for the final time. His most successful final show was in Toledo, Ohio at the Huntington Center to a sold out audience.
Acting and other ventures
Rogers also had success as an actor. His 1982 movie Six Pack, in which he played a race-car driver, took more than $20 million at the United States box office, while made-for-TV movies such as The Gambler series, Christmas in America, and Coward of the County (based on hit songs of his) topped ratings lists. He also served as host & narrator for the A&E historical series The Real West.
As an entrepreneur, he collaborated with former Kentucky Fried Chicken CEO John Y. Brown Jr. in 1991 to start up the restaurant chain Kenny Rogers Roasters. The chicken and ribs chain, which is similar to Boston Market, was famously featured in an episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld called "The Chicken Roaster". Season four of the TV series Fresh Off the Boat depicts the chain as owning a share of Louis Huang's Cattleman's Ranch restaurant and then filing for bankruptcy.
Rogers put his name to the Gambler Chassis Co., a Sprint car racing manufacture. The company used the name from Rogers' hit song The Gambler. During the 1980s and 1990s, Gambler was one of the fastest and widely used Sprintcars, Gambler sprintcars were also successful in Australia.
Rogers appeared in a 2004 episode of Reno 911! as himself being subjected to incompetent security provided by starstruck sheriff's deputies to comical effect.
In October 2012, Rogers released a book Luck or Something Like it: A Memoir about his ups and downs in his musical career. With Mike Blakely, he has written a novel, What Are the Chances, that was released September 1, 2013.
In 2014, Rogers appeared as himself in a GEICO commercial, singing part of his song "The Gambler" a cappella while acting as the dealer in a card game.
Kenny Rogers has been married five times, and he is presently married to Wanda Miller since 1997, together they have two children. He has five children in total.
At his estate in Colbert, Georgia, Rogers keeps a pet goat named Smitty, having originally acquired the animal from a friend in 2008. According to Rogers, the goat has been "(his) center", providing a calming influence after long and stressful touring schedules.
Rogers says that photography was once his obsession, before it morphed into a passion. He has authored the photo books Kenny Rogers' America (1986) and Your Friends and Mine (1987).
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