Known for his instantly identifiable sweetly raspy vocals and the ability to vividly inhabit each song he performs, Kenny Rogers has sold more than 120 million records worldwide and recorded more than 65 albums during his storied 52 years in show business.
And on Thursday, March 13, he will bring his talents to the stage of the Hanford Fox Theatre for an 8pm show.
Rogers’ long list of classics includes 24 #1 hits including “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Lucille,” “She Believes in Me,” “Islands in the Stream” and “We’ve Got Tonight.” Two of his albums, The Gambler and Kenny, are featured in the About.com poll of “The 200 Most Influential Country Albums Ever,” and his Greatest Hits album has sold over 24 million copies worldwide to date. He is the RIAA’s eighth best selling male artist of all time with one diamond album, 19 platinum albums and 31 gold albums.
Last year, Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Earlier this year, he picked up another career achievement in his other talent and passion, photography, when he received an honorary master of photography degree from Professional Photographers of America.
Rogers has received hundreds of awards for his music and charity work, including three Grammys, 11 People’s Choice Awards, 18 American Music Awards, eight Academy of Country Music awards and five Country Music Association awards. Remaining a popular entertainer around the world, Rogers, voted the “Favorite Singer of All-Time” in a 1986 joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People, still loves touring and recording new music.
For over five decades, the singer, songwriter, musician, producer, actor, photographer and entertainer has delivered memorable songs, drawing fans from many different backgrounds. “I really, really love what I’m doing,” Rogers says. “People survive longer if they love what they’re doing. Because you just don’t quit.”
Rogers is one of very few artists who have enjoyed successful careers in such a variety of genres – jazz, folk, rock, country and pop. Houston-born Rogers formed his first band while in high school in 1956 – a rockabilly group called The Scholars (they performed on “American Bandstand”) – and has never quit making music. He played stand-up bass in the jazz group the Bobby Doyle Trio, and later became a member of the popular folk group, The New Christy Minstrels.
The spotlight started focusing on Rogers when his group, The First Edition, scored their first hit, “I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” which was followed by the pop and country chart success of “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.”
As a solo artist, Rogers’ first #1 hit, “Lucille,” was named the CMA’s Single of the Year and was certified gold. “Daytime Friends,” “Sweet Music Man” and “Love or Something Like It” continued his run of success. Then came “The Gambler,” a story song so vivid it not only delighted country and pop fans, it also became a TV movie, starring Rogers himself in the title role. The movie spawned four follow-ups, making it the longest running miniseries franchise on television. The five Gambler mini-series have attracted over 100 million viewers nationwide and launched a second career for Rogers as an actor on television and movies.
“I’ve never considered myself a great singer, but I am a great storyteller,” Rogers told Billboard magazine, also noting that he feels his strength as an artist is in finding great songs. In the 1980s, Rogers’ romantic country hits “Through The Years,” “She Believes in Me,” “You Decorated My Life,” and “Lady” – the biggest song of his career – quickly became classics.
“There are a lot of songs that may have initial success but don’t linger the period of time those songs have,” Rogers says. “They do take a different value in your heart when they have that kind of staying power that represents your success and represents a feeling and a thought. A song like that becomes a part of your soul.”
In 1999, after forming his own record company, Dreamcatcher Entertainment, Rogers returned to the charts in a big way with the hit, “The Greatest,” and when the follow-up, “Buy Me a Rose,” hit #1 in 2000, Rogers, at age 61, became the oldest artist in chart history to have a #1 solo record in any format, proving his talent was just as vibrant and meaningful as it was when he first started out. That same year, the Recording Industry Association of America awarded him the prestigious Diamond Award celebrating sales of more than 10 million albums for his Greatest Hits album (sales to date have exceeded 24 million).
With his unique storytelling ability and soulful voice, Rogers has continued his success into the 21st century with a critically acclaimed album (Water and Bridges) and hit single, “I Can’t Unlove You,” a gold certified record (21 Number Ones), and now, the sweetly timeless The Love of God.
Tickets are $85, $75, $65 and $55, are available at foxhanford.com or 584-7823.