As we mourn the loss of country music legend Kenny Rogers, we look back at the life of a music icon through his biggest hits.
On March 20, 2020, country music icon Kenny Rogers passed away at the age of 81. According to a statement released by his family on Twitter, the 3-time Grammy winner “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”
Over the course of his six decades in the industry, Rogers racked up a number of chart-topping hits and accolades including multiple CMA and Grammy Awards and an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Rogers’ career also includes several television appearances and lead roles in a handful of made for TV movies including 1980’s The Gambler, based loosely on Rogers’ iconic tune.
As fans across the world mourn the loss of one of country music’s biggest stars, what better way to celebrate the illustrious life of a music icon than through the music which will forever be engraved in pop culture history.
“Through The Years”
This ballad penned by songwriter Marty Panzer released in 1981, tells the love story of a couple who have remained by one another’s side through life’s good and bad times. Although the song did not garner love from Grammy voters that year, it went on to become one of Rogers’ most recognizable and career-defining hits through the years.
“She Believes In Me”
One of the many hits from Rogers’ The Gambler album, “She Believes In Me” soared to the top of the charts upon its release back in the summer of 1979. Written by Steve Gibb, “She Believes In Me” was the first track of Rogers’ to hit No. 1 on both the Billboard Country and Adult Contemporary charts and is one of Rogers’ many Grammy-nominated tracks. It is also cited as being one of Rogers’ favorite songs ever recorded.
It was a song heard around the world which helped to firmly establish Kenny Rogers as a solo artist within the music industry. Released in 1977, “Lucille” was Rogers’ first breakout hit as a solo artist said to have been inspired by the story of a “heartbroken man whose wife had left him.” The song landed Rogers what would be the first of his many Grammy nominations and one of his three wins at the Grammys.
Easily one of the greatest love songs from a male artist, “Lady” made waves back in 1980 topping both country and pop charts. The song, penned by Lionel Richie, is one of Rogers’ most well-known songs of all-time. While it might not have taken home the Grammy for Record of the Year or Best Pop Vocal Performance back at the 23rd Annual Grammys, it remains one of the greatest love songs Rogers ever recorded as well as one of the most profitable songs written by Richie.
“Islands In the Stream”
Over the years, Kenny Rogers shared the stage with some of music’s biggest names; however, no collaboration comes close to his legendary duet with one of the queens of country music: Dolly Parton. While “Islands In the Stream” failed to take home the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group back in 1983, it has long been recognized as one of the greatest musical duets of all-time. Rogers and Parton’s unique voices blend together beautifully in this iconic hit elevated by the star power of these two legends.
Easily Rogers’ greatest hit, “The Gambler” landed Rogers’ second Grammy Award back in 1979 when the beloved hit took home the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance at the twenty-second Grammys. That same year, the song also managed to secure a nomination in the Record of the Year, while Rogers’ The Gambler album secured a nomination for Album of the Year. The song also inspired a series of made of TV movies led by Rogers.
What Kenny Rogers song stands out as your personal favorite? Join us in celebrating Kenny Rogers in sharing your favorite Rogers’ hits in the comments below.