10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Kenny Rogers
Over the course of his long and eventful career, Kenny Rogers became one of the most successful recording artists -- of any genre -- of all time.
A versatile hitmaker who wrote some of music's most enduring songs, Rogers was an ambidextrous performer from the start, cutting his teeth in a doo-wop group called the Scholars in high school before moving on to form a jazz trio (the Bobby Doyle Three) and a folk act (the New Christy Minstrels). He also made a name for himself early on as a session musician, and earned his first charting song as a solo performer.
Though Rogers was beloved in many genres, he always found a particularly stalwart fanbase as a country artist. After his death on Friday (March 20) at the age of 81, country stars came out in droves to mourn the icon: Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire and many more paid tribute, offering up reflections and memories as well as honoring him with performances of some of their favorite songs from Rogers' catalog.
Particularly poignant was a remembrance from Dolly Parton, Rogers' longtime friend and close collaborator: "I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart's broken, and a big ol' chunk of it has gone with him today," Parton reflected in a video message. The pair sang together frequently, most famously on their iconic 1983 duet "Islands in the Stream," though they also collaborated for "You Can't Make Old Friends," the title track of Rogers' 2013 album.
In addition to an illustrious solo career, Rogers was a master when it came to duets. His role as a noted collaborator dates back to his partnership with Dottie West in the 1970s. He also had an impressive acting career, making appearances in films including Six Pack, the made-for-TV series The Gambler and as a host and narrator for A&E's The Real West.
Over the course of his eventful career and life, Rogers had a wide array of adventures, many of which are well known to his fans. Still there are a few things about the legendary artist that even lifelong fans may not know. Read on to learn some surprising details about the beloved musical icon.