The American Country and Western star was born in 1938, and was one of the few country singers to go globally mainstream. The singer helped to form the First Edition back in 1967 and they stayed together for ten years, even after the band was renamed to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, which was not enough to keep the group together, as Kenny was a global star on his own.
Kenny won over twenty major country awards during the 1970s including a well-deserved Grammy for Lucille. The 1969 hit Ruby; Don’t Take Your Love To Town is the song that launched Kenny in the UK, which was followed by only one other single for the First Edition in 1970 called Something’s Burning.
Kenny went solos in the mid-1970s with Lucille becoming a global No. 1 hit in 1977. The song was written by Roger Bowling and Hal Bynam, and told a story of a woman in a bar in Toledo getting more and drunk, and talking about her love life. The husband enters the bar as she gets more and more drunk and there is the point where the lyrics become the voice of the husband. “You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille”.
The song was an enormous hit and was followed up a smaller top forty hit called Daytime Friends. The next two singles failed to make any impact on the UK charts, but in the country music charts in the US. Kenny was having big hits.
In 1978 he released The Gambler written by Don Schiltz and came from the album of the same name. The song is set on a train where Rogers tells a card player that he is down on his luck, and he then gets advice from the stranger on the train on how to get lucky. Surprisingly the song got to only number 22 in the UK, and the follow up She Believes In Me never made the top thirty.
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