Hollywood Mourns Music Icon Kenny Rogers
By Jessilyn Lancaster, Managing Editor
Country music legend Kenny Rogers died over the weekend. “The Gambler” singer was 81.
“You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone,” said Rogers’ long-time singing partner Dolly Parton. “I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend.”
News of Rogers’ death came in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced many people around the world into their homes under government orders.
Parton acknowledged the virus in her tribute.
“I know that we know Kenny is in a better place than we are today,” she said. “But, I’m pretty sure he’s going to be talking to God sometime today, if he ain’t already, and he’s going to be asking Him to spread some light on a bunch of this darkness going on here.”
Parton concluded her tribute with a message of hope.
“Fly high, Kenny, straight to the arms of God,” she concluded. “And, to the rest of you, keep the faith.”
According to the Associated Press’ obit of Rogers:
The Houston-born performer with the husky voice and silver beard sold tens of millions of records, won three Grammys and was the star of TV movies based on “The Gambler” and other songs, making him a superstar in the ’70s and ’80s. Rogers thrived for some 60 years before retired from touring in 2017 at age 79. Despite his crossover success, he always preferred to be thought of as a country singer.
“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.”
“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.”
Rogers was a five-time CMA Award winner, as well as the recipient of the CMA’s Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, the same year he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He received 10 awards from the Academy of Country Music. He sold more than 47 million records in the United States alone, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Rogers was very vocal about his faith and released an album called The Love of God with his gravely country renditions of songs like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Amazing Grace,” among others.
Multiple stars mentioned faith in their tributes to the late singer.
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Kenny, Go rest high on that mountain. Please tell mama and daddy hi for me. Thank you for your friendship and your love. We are going to miss you but we are so happy you’re singing with the Angels in heaven. Can’t wait to see you again one of these days. Rest in peace my friend.
Due to virus concerns, Rogers’ family will have a private funeral with a public memorial at a later date.
Please pray for Rogers’ family and all those affected by his death.Do you enjoy articles like this? Click here to become a monthly partner and receive a copy of OVERCOMER on DVD!