Who Remembers Country Music’s Most Famous Coward?
In 1980 young 'Tommy' got two things: Famous...and Revenge.
Tommy became the most famous Coward in country music thanks to the writing of Roger Bowling & Billy Edd Wheeler and the voice of Kenny Rogers. By the time 'Coward of the County' hit the charts, Kenny was already famous as 'The Gambler', his worldwide smash from a year or so before. But this 'Coward' kept Kenny right there at the top of the chart...or should I say chart's...around the world.
Country Music is famous for telling stories, and there's none better than the story of Tommy. A combination of love, misunderstanding and revenge, the song was a number one hit on music charts around the world, both country and pop and rock and adult contemporary and...well, you get the idea. No matter the type of music you loved, you loved 'Coward of the County'. And like 'The Gambler', 'Coward of the County' also became a TV movie, broadcast in 1981.
Kenny left us with some great characters. Tommy. Lucille. And of course, the Gambler. Kenny was one of country music's great storytellers. And while he didn't write them, he took those 'stories' and brought them to life.
The Country Music Hall of Famer passed away in March of 2020 at the age of 81. But through his years with the Christy Mistrels to the First Edition to an iconic solo career, he left an indelible mark on country music.
No wait, make that just 'music'.
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