“You either do what everyone else is doing and you do it better, or you do what no one else is doing and you don’t invite comparison.” - Kenny Rogers
One of the most iconic musicians who was instrumental in making country music mainstream during the 1970s and '80s has passed away. Kenny Rogers breathed his last at 10:25 pm on Friday, March 20, 2020. The three-time Grammy Award winner, whose music is a nostalgic favorite of millions, was surrounded by his family when he passed away at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia. He was 81 the time, the grieving family's statement read.
The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family. https://t.co/adxAgiMW2s pic.twitter.com/nggWiiotMT— Kenny Rogers (@_KennyRogers) March 21, 2020
Known for hits such as The Gambler, Lady, Islands in the Stream, and Lucille, Rogers was 81. The iconic artist also was a six-time CMA Awards, and had 24 No.1 hits, reports Fox News.
Born in Houston, Texas, Kenny Rogers had his first gold single at age 20 with That Crazy Feeling under the name Kenneth Rogers. He went on to join a jazz group and pursued the genre for several years, but eventually went his own way after the band broke. His first solo hit in 1977, Lucille was th first to top the pop charts, earning the singer his first Grammy.
Later in 1978, Rogers released the song The Gambler. Written by Don Schlitz, the track went on to become Rogers' signature song. Combined with songs like Lady, his music crossed barriers and earned him massive fame in the ’80s. After having a flourishing career of 60 years Rogers retired in 2017.
The late singer has left his mark on many genres but he preferred to be known as a country musician.
In 1985 Kenny Rogers played Farm Aid wearing a white blazer with pushed up sleeves, an Adidas shirt tucked into jeans, and some swagger. Only he could do that. Kenny was a real one. RIP, dude. pic.twitter.com/nSun434B2j— Dillon Hawkins (@dillunhockens) March 21, 2020
“You either do what everyone else is doing and you do it better, or you do what no one else is doing and you don’t invite comparison,” Rogers told The Associated Press in 2015. “And I chose that way because I could never be better than Johnny Cash or Willie or Waylon at what they did. So I found something that I could do that didn’t invite comparison to them. And I think people thought it was my desire to change country music. But that was never my issue,” TIME quotes him.
“Kenny was one of those artists who transcended beyond one format and geographic borders,” says Sarah Trahern, chief executive officer of the Country Music Association. “He was a global superstar who helped introduce country music to audiences all around the world.”
As per Fox News, the rumors of his failing health started doing rounds last year. He was also admitted to a Georgia hospital for dehydration in May 2019. The Rogers family is planning on a private funeral owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. "They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date," the statement confirmed.
The music icon is survived by his wife, Wanda, and his sons Justin, Jordan, Chris and Kenny Jr., as well as two brothers, a sister, and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, his representative said.