Official statement on the passing of Country Music Hall of Fame member Kenny Rogers:
Country Music Hall of Fame member Kenny Rogers passed away Friday, March 20. He was 81.
Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013.
"Kenny Rogers is, of course, one of music's most successful and enduring artists," said Kyle Young, CEO, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. "His uncanny song sense and impeccable singing resonated across the genre lines that he took delight in ignoring. The antithesis of a gambler, he thought deeply and acted deliberately with every career decision, and those decisions brought to light the songwriting talents of Hal Bynum, Mickey Newbury, Don Schlitz and many more. Though he was by any definition a superstar, he lived a life of service to songs, writers, and, above all, listeners."
In 1974, producer-executive Larry Butler signed Rogers to United Artists Records, on which he had modest hits until the stunning success of the mournfully catchy, Grammy-winning “Lucille” (No. 1 country, No. 5 pop) in 1977. For the next dozen years Rogers logged hit after hit, including “The Gambler” – penned by Country Music Hall of Fame Member Don Schlitz – “She Believes in Me,” and “Coward of the County.” In 1980, on Liberty Records, Rogers’s No. 1 country hit “Lady” – a romantic ballad written by pop star Lionel Richie – ruled the pop charts for six weeks. Successful duets included “Every Time Two Fools Collide” (1978), with Country Music Hall of Fame member Dottie West, and the crossover smash “Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer” (1980), with Kim Carnes.
Rogers earned three Grammys, five CMA awards and eight ACM awards.
Already a veteran TV performer, Rogers gained further exposure through acting in made-for-television movies, including a series of five treatments of “The Gambler.” The 1980s also saw hits on Liberty and RCA, including “Love Will Turn You Around” (1982), the Sheena Easton duet “We’ve Got Tonight” (1983), and the memorable Dolly Parton duet “Islands in the Stream” (1983), all country No. 1 songs that made the pop charts.
Rogers continued to tour and to release hits collections and albums of new material into the 2000s.
In 2015, he announced his plans to retire from the road following an extensive farewell tour.
More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is available at www.countrymusichalloffame.org or by calling 615-416-2001.
Biographical information is by Thomas Goldsmith adapted from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Encyclopedia of Country Music, published by Oxford University Press.