Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Rogers isn’t ready to fold ‘em

Kenny Rogers could rest on his laurels. The laid back singer, who is celebrating his 50th year in show business, has sold more than 100 million albums, recorded more than 70 hit singles and has won an array of hardware including Grammys, American Music Awards and County Music Awards.

Nevertheless, don’t expect Rogers – who will perform Sunday at Desert Diamond Casino – to “fold ‘em,” as he sings in his signature hit “The Gambler,” anytime soon.

“Why should I stop?,” asks Rogers, 70. “I’m doing just fine and I’m enjoying performing as much as I ever did.”

The silver-haired entertainer is touring in support of “Kenny Rogers: 50 Years,” which is sold exclusively at Cracker Barrel restaurants. The disc is loaded with hits including “Coward of the County,” “Lucille” and “Islands in the Stream.”

“I’ve been very fortunate,” Rogers says. “I’ve had so much go my way in this business. You take a song like “Islands in the Stream.’ When I worked on it, I sang it so much, for four straight days, that I didn’t like it anymore. But I was told that Dolly Parton should come in. I didn’t know her. But she came in and when she sang the song with me, it became a different piece of music. I loved it.”

It’s more than luck that has enabled Rogers to be a popular entertainer for half of a century. The savvy singer certainly possesses a great deal of skill. Rogers has crossed genres on numerous occasions.

“I’ve done a number of things in this business,” Rogers says. “Does anyone remember that I started out in jazz? That’s where I was my first 10 years. I played upright bass in an avant-garde jazz group. But then I just kept moving on.”

Rogers found his greatest success as a singer. He has moved from country to pop to middle of the road to rock. Thanks to his long hair, earring and mellow manner, Rogers earned the name “Hippie Kenny” during the late ’60s and early ’70s.

“I’ve been a lot of different things over the years,” Rogers says.

Successful best describes what Rogers has been throughout his long run.

“I’ve just tried to make the best decisions possible and perform to the best of my ability,” Rogers says. “It’s worked out beyond my wildest dreams. I go out and perform and play the songs the people want to hear.”

The track most Rogers fans expect and want to hear in Atlantic City is “The Gambler.”

“That song has worn well,” Rogers says. “It’s a song literally about gambling, which makes it perfect for Atlantic City, but it’s also about a lifestyle.

“It’s about not taking things for granted. And if there’s anything I haven’t taken for granted, it’s my fans. What I’ve experienced has been wonderful. That is the case for all the years I’ve been doing this.”



What: Kenny Rogers in concert

When: 6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Desert Diamond Casino, Interstate 19 and Pima Mine Road

Price: $37-$72

Info: 321-1000, www.ticketmaster.com

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service