Kenny Rogers' musical legacy
The star of country music passed away on the 20th of March 2020, leaving behind an enormous discography that included not only country music, but that spanned pop, rock, jazz and easy listening as well.
All-American country star Kenny Rogers was born in Houston, Texas in August 1938 and was already in the recording studio by the late 1950s. Experimenting with genres like doo-wop, psychedelic rock and country-pop crossover, he dabbled with groups (the jazzy, Columbia-signed The Bobby Doyle Three and the more successful The First Edition) and also as a solo act, producing sleeper hits like That Crazy Feeling (1957) and Just Dropped in to See What Condition My Condition Was In (1967).
Rogers' experimentation with different genres would have proved worthy practice for his solo career, which began in earnest in the mid-1970s when he signed with United Artists.
In 1976, his second solo album (the eponymous Kenny Rogers) spawned the hit single Lucille, reaching the number 1 spot on the UK charts and the USA country charts as well as selling 5 million copies.
The late 70s and 80s saw another string of successes for Kenny Rogers, including duets with other country crossover stars Dottie West and Kim Carnes, and 1980's Lady which was written by Lionel Richie and went to number 1 in the US. 3 years later and he would find more success with another duet, this time with Dolly Parton and their take on the Bee Gees' Islands In The Stream.
Having won 3 Grammys, 8 Academy of Country Music Awards and 13 American Music Awards for his lusical efforts, it should also be stated that Kenny Rogers was often seen on television screens, notably playing the role of Brady Hawkes in The Gambler. He was also an acclaimed and "remarkably talented" photographer, documenting his life both on and off the road touring and gaining an honorary degree from the Professional Photographers of America.
Kenny Rogers will forever be remembered as a true pioneer of American music, with 65 albums to his name and a stupendous 165 million records sold.