Tuesday, February 15, 2011
When Kenny Rogers hit it big, he hit it HUGE. I was taking guitar lessons when he really started to soar, and the only songs I remember learning in my entire class were "The Gambler" and "Coward of the County." I can still remember the lyrics, if not the chords, to each one.
"The Gambler" kinda made sense, but whose idea was it to teach "Coward of the County," a song about gang rape, to kids? I'm not sure if I quite understood "they took turns at Becky, there was three of them" but looking back it kinda grosses me out.
Lyrics aside, Kenny Rogers was EVERYWHERE in the 1970s. "The Gambler" was not only catchy, it gave him a great nickname. And he had those distinctive looks--the white hair, the full beard--no way were you confusing him with any other singer.
He did some awesome duets, including "Islands in the Stream" with Dolly Parton and "Don't Fall in Love With a Dreamer" with Kim Carnes. He did "The Muppet Show." He had a chicken franchise, though not in my area -- I only learned about Kenny Rogers Roasters later, from that one "Seinfeld" episode. Also, he made one of the worst movies of the 1980s -- "Six Pack." Can't win 'em all.
To this day, his looks and his voice remain unmistakable, and there's even a site that plays off that -- menwholooklikekennyrogers.com. He knows when to hold em, and when to fold em, even now.