You cannot talk about the history and development of American country music without mentioning Kenny Rogers in your speech. Blessed with a velvety smooth voice which is renowned for its resonance, the singer is regarded as one of the most successful country singers ever.
In his career that lasted for six decades, the Texas native managed to sell millions of copies of his albums to be regarded as one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Even though he is now retired, Rogers who is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame still continues to command authority in the country music world with Grammy Award-winning songs like “The Gambler” and “Lucille” that will surely stand the test of time.
Kenny Rogers has had a truly extraordinary journey through music. Born on August 21, 1938, the future Hall of Famer grew up in a poor home and had to make do with whatever he could lay his hands on. He, however, always knew that he wanted to make music and by the time he was in high school, he decided to make a career out of it.
Rogers went on to buy himself a guitar and became engrossed with playing it. In the late 1950s, he started a band he called The Scholars which recorded and released some local hits that garnered them fans in their home state of Texas. It is noteworthy that Rogers did not begin his career as a country singer. At the time he sang with The Scholars, he considered himself a Rock ‘n’ Roll musician.
Shortly after The Scholars broke up, Kenny Rogers changed styles to become a Jazz singer with another band called The Bobby Doyle Three. In 1966, he adopted yet another music style, folk-pop, and joined another group called The New Christy Minstrels.
After a year with The New Christy Minstrels, Rogers left the group with a few other members and together, they formed another band which they called The First Edition. The singer served as one of the lead singers of this group and became so influential that they eventually became known as Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. The group achieved some success in the 1960s as they were renowned for their ability to fuse folk, rock, and country sounds.
How He Achieved Mainstream Success in His Solo Career
In 1974, Kenny Rogers decided he wanted to pursue a solo career and thus left The First Edition. As a solo act, he opted to dedicate his energy to making country music and released his first album called Love Lifted Me in 1976. The album was quite successful in America with some of its songs reaching the top 20 Country Music Chart.
The next year, Rogers followed it up with a self-titled second album. In 1977, he released the very popular song “Lucille” to great acclaim. “Lucille” sold several million copies and became a major hit, reaching the top of the country music chart and eventually fetching the artist his first Grammy award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male. In 1978, he released Love or Something Like It and The Gambler which is one of his greatest works. The song “The Gambler” from the album of the same name went on to give him his second Grammy Award.
Kenny Rogers would go on to record a total of 65 albums during his career. He has further sold more than 165 million records, making him one of the best selling artists of all time. Through his years as a singer, he has won many awards, including Grammys, Country Music Association Awards, and SESAC Nashville Music Awards among others.
After sixty years in business, Rogers eventually called time on his career in 2017 with an all-star farewell concert that was held in Nashville.
What We Know About Kenny Rogers and His Many Marriages
Kenny Rogers is not just known for being the ‘king of country music’ as he is also unfortunately known for his many failed marriages. As a matter of fact, the singer has been married five times to five different women.
His first marriage was to a woman called Janice Gordon. The pair got married in 1958 and had a child together. In April 1960, they went their separate ways. Rogers then moved on to marry Jean Rogers in October 1960 but by 1963, he divorced her. After Jean, he fell in love with a woman called Margo Anderson and married her in October 1964. The couple had one child and lived together as husband and wife until 1976 when they divorced.
In 1977, Kenny Rogers met and married American actress Marianne Gordon who at the time was also a divorcee. This union gave the singer another child, son Christopher Cody Rogers who was born in 1982. The couple remained together until 1993. The country music legend is now married to a woman called Wanda Miller. The pair got married on June 1, 1997, and have remained together ever since. Rogers and Wanda have a set of twin boys named Justin Charles and Jordan Edward. The twins were born on the 6th of July 2004.
All together, Kenny Rogers has been blessed with five children from all his marriages.
Details Of What He Has Been Up To Since Retiring
Kenny Rogers has been rumored on several occasions to have died in the past. The most recent was in 2018 when reports emerged that he had passed away. However, these are mere hoaxes as the singer is very much alive. Nevertheless, he has not been in the best health and friends and family are already on the edge since he canceled a farewell tour early in 2018 over ill-health.
There have been concerns for a while about Roger’s ill-health and the challenges he has been facing. In May 2019, the singer was hospitalized again and fans became very concerned but Rogers released a statement revealing that he was only suffering from dehydration.