Kenny Rogers Biography
Last updated: 07/19/2012 11:00:00 AM
“It’s interesting what a song can do for you emotionally, professionally and socially,” comments Kenny Rogers on his back-to-back hit singles, “Buy Me A Rose,” and “The Greatest,” from his new gold album, “She Rides Wild Horses.“ “It’s also great when you can continue to touch people with your music.”
"The Greatest,” the first single from the album, struck a chord and touched people in a very special way. “The first time I heard “The Greatest” it reminded me of how simple life used to be…a boy…a bat…and a ball,” comments Kenny Rogers on the hit single. “This song captures that rare moment in every young kid’s life where the game is more important than the score,” Rogers continues. “It goes beyond music and beyond baseball. It’s about life.”
Penned by Don Schlitz, the same tunesmith that wrote “The Gambler,” the song’s release coincided with the 20th anniversary of Kenny’s signature song and introduced the stunning new album, “She Rides Wild Horses.” Grammy award-winning producer Brent Maher, and Jim Mckell produced the album. “The Greatest” video reached the #1 slot on CMT’s Music Video Chart just as the album was certified gold in early September, 1999. Released on May 11, 1999, the album appeared as the “Hot Shot Debut” at #6 on Billboard’s Country Album Chart shortly after its release on May 28, 1999, and remained in the Top 20 for 18 weeks.
Similarly, the follow up single, “Buy Me A Rose,” a touching ballad about the little things in life that mean so much, is garnering an emotional response from coast to coast. The song features special guests Alison Krauss and Billy Dean. So inspired by “Buy Me A Rose,” CBS Television built an episode of its top-rated, “Touched By An Angel,” series around the song. The segment, airing in February, 1999, co-stars Kenny Rogers.
An American icon, there are few artists of Kenny’s stature. His phenomenal success as a global entertainer is unique. In the span of nearly three decades, Rogers has recorded more than 58 albums which have sold over 100 million records worldwide. In March,1999, the Recording Industry Association of America awarded Kenny the prestigious Diamond Award celebrating sales of more than 10 million albums for his “Greatest Hits” album.
As one of country music’s biggest crossover successes, Kenny’s numerous accolades include four Grammy Awards, 11 People’s Choice Awards, 18 American Music Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards and five Country Music Association Awards. In addition, he was named “Favorite Singer of All Time” in a PM Magazine/USA Today poll in 1986, and in 1989 readers of PEOPLE MAGAZINE voted Kenny “Favorite Male Vocalist.” Perhaps his most cherished award is also his most personal. In 1990, Kenny was honored with the Horatio Alger Award, given to those who have distinguished themselves despite humble beginnings. For both Kenny and his admirers, his success is all the more remarkable for his having been raised in a Houston public housing project with seven brothers and sisters.
Always rising to meet new artistic and personal challenges, Kenny recently embarked on yet another exciting endeavor starring in the off-Broadway 1998 holiday theatrical production of, “Christmas From The Heart.” Based on an original story written by Kenny and Kelly Junkermann, the musical was presented by Hallmark Entertainment at the historic Beacon Theatre in New York City for a six-week holiday run.
The original music from the production, featuring 11 new songs co-written by Kenny, was released on Dreamcatcher Records, a division of the artist’s newly-formed Dreamcatcher Entertainment, Inc. The album was the follow-up holiday release to Kenny’s Number One gold album, “The Gift,” which was nominated for both a Dove Award and for Country Album of the Year by the Gospel Music Association in 1996.
In the meantime, Kenny continues to take his music on the road. His “live” concerts have always been a mainstay of his success and he continues to pack them in not only in the United States, but in Europe, New Zealand, Africa and the Far East. In April-May, 1998, he performed with Reba McEntire throughout Australia. Kenny embarked on a month-long extensive European concert tour commencing in April, 1999 visiting such territories as Poland, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Scotland and England.
Kenny spends a great deal of his time recording and performing, but he has also enjoyed a wonderfully fulfilling career as an actor, and is best known worldwide for his colorful portrayal as THE GAMBLER’s Brady Hawkes. Kenny’s popular GAMBLER mega-hit recording spawned the longest running mini-series in the history of television in the United States. The five Gambler mini-series has attracted over 100 million viewers nationwide.
Success of the magnitude of Kenny’s brings with it an opportunity to draw some attention to the charitable causes that he champions. After the 1981 death of friend, singer/songwriter Harry Chapin, Kenny assumed his position at the forefront of the movement to aid the hungry. “Access to proper food and nutrition,” said Kenny, “is perhaps the most fundamental right of every human being.” Thus, the World Hunger Media Awards were created.
In 1985, Kenny participated in the historical recording of “We Are The World,” the multi-celebrity performance which raised millions of dollars for famine relief in Africa. A year later, he co-chaired the audacious, “Hands Across America” fund-raiser for America’s hungry. Kenny was also instrumental in aiding the hungry in his own backyard in Georgia by establishing the Athens Area Homeless Shelter which opened in 1990.
Between his entertainment and charitable endeavors, Kenny has managed to find the time to become a well-respected photographer. He was invited to the White House to create a portrait of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for the CBS TV Special A DAY IN THE LIFE OF COUNTRY MUSIC that aired in 1993. He has also
published two well-received photography books: KENNY ROGERS’ AMERICA, composed of black and white landscapes, and KENNY ROGERS YOUR FRIENDS AND MINE, a collection of celebrity portraits. He is currently working on a third book highlighting country stars past, present and future, entitled THIS IS MY COUNTRY.
Kenny Rogers is a man constantly seeking new challenges, new ways to maintain excitement both for himself and his fans. Most of all, he is exactly as he seems; a proud man, but also a sincere, honest one, unfazed by his success and largely unimpressed by his own accomplishments.
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