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Kenny Rogers songs for Android

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  • It took several tries before Kenny Rogers became a star.
  • Last updated on 8/14/2020
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It took several tries before Kenny Rogers became a star.

It took several tries before Kenny Rogers became a star. As a member of the New Christy Minstrels and the First Edition, he earned a few hits, but in the late '70s, he began charting with a series of well-done, middle-of-the-road songs featuring a country flavor. Rogers crested with "Lucille," a country chart-topper that earned Song of the Year honors for 1977. The rest, as they say, is history: award-winning duets with Dottie West and Dolly Parton, another Song of the Year award for "The Gambler," a parade of subsequent smash hits ("Coward of the County," "We've Got Tonight," "Crazy," and "Lady," the latter his first pop number one), 12 TV specials, and several made-for-TV movies based on his songs. Even during the post-hitmaking years, his name, face, and music were instantly recognizable for his concerts, television specials, films, and even fast-food restaurants.

Like many country superstars, Rogers came from humble roots. Born in Houston, Texas, Rogers and his seven siblings were raised in one of the poorest sections of town. Nevertheless, he progressed through high school, all the while learning how to play guitar and fiddle. When he was a senior, he played in a rockabilly band called the Scholars, who released three singles, including "Kangewah," which was written by Louella Parsons. Following his graduation, he released two singles, "We'll Always Fall in Love Again" and "For You Alone," on the local independent label Carlton. The B-side of the first single, "That Crazy Feeling," was popular enough to earn him a slot on American Bandstand. In 1959, he briefly attended the University of Texas, but he soon dropped out to play bass in the jazz combo the Bobby Doyle Three. While he was with the group, Rogers continued to explore other musical venues and played bass on Mickey Gilley's 1960 single "Is It Wrong." The Bobby Doyle Three released one album, In a Most Unusual Way, before Rogers left the group to play with the Kirby Stone Four. He didn't stay long with Stone and soon landed a solo record contract with Mercury.

Rogers released a handful of singles on Mercury, all of which failed. Once Mercury dropped the singer, he joined the New Christy Minstrels in 1966. He stayed with the folk group for a year, leaving with several other bandmembers -- Mike Settle, Terry Williams, and Thelma Lou Camacho -- in 1967 to form the First Edition. Adding drummer Mickey Jones, the First Edition signed with Reprise and recorded the pop-psychedelic single "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)." The single became a hit early in 1968, climbing to number five. Within a year, the group was billed as Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, and in the summer of 1969, they had their second and final Top Ten hit, "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town." The country overtones of the single hinted at the direction Rogers was taking, as did the minor hit follow-up, "Ruben James." For the next two years, the First Edition bounced between country, pop, and mild psychedelia, scoring their last big hit with Mac Davis' "Something's Burning" in early 1970. By the end of 1972, the group had its own syndicated television show, but sales were drying up. They left Reprise the following year, signing to Rogers' new label, Jolly Rogers. None of their singles became major hits, though a version of Merle Haggard's "Today I Started Loving You Again" reached the lower regions of the country charts late in 1973. Rogers left the group in 1974, and the band broke up the following year.

At the time the band broke up, Rogers was severely in debt and Jolly Rogers was out of business. In order to jump-start his career, he signed to United Artists in 1975, and with the help of producer Larry Butler, he devised an accessible, radio-ready, and immaculately crafted take on country-pop that leaned toward adult contemporary pop, not country.


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