Saturday, March 21, 2020

RIP Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers’ music was the soundtrack of my life.  As a kid, I heard a song by The First Edition called "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town.” It was provocative for its time.  I had no idea it was a Country song.  I barely knew what Country music was.  

Then, in the mid-70's, Kenny was attempting to resurrect his career as a Country star.  My brother Dan and I attended a United Artists Records show at The Nashville Auditorium. Kenny Rogers closed the show and impressed a tough crowd of radio programmers.  Several years later, songs like "The Gambler" and "Coward of the County" were a mainstay during my programming and on-air career.     
In New York, my station (WHN) premiered "Islands In The Stream", while our competitor fumed.  A few years earlier, backstage at a Kenny Rogers show, I asked Kenny's manager Ken Kragen if it would be ok to ask Kenny to do some promo liners.  Kragen said no.  I asked Kenny, and he said yes.  
 Fast forward about fifteen years, and I'm on a CRS Panel, "Too Pop or Too Country" (or words to that effect), and I'm sitting next to Kenny Rogers.  NEXT TO KENNY ROGERS.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  He was open and real and told us that he just wanted a shot to stay in the game.  
And he did, longer than most artists.  My last encounter with Kenny was at a show in Trenton, New Jersey, where I had a chance to say hello backstage.  It was a brief encounter after an energetic show by the then 70-ish entertainer.  
Kenny, we'll miss you - but we'll always have your music through the years.