Kenny Rogers, a country pop hitmaker, who broke down barriers and helped the careers of other singers, passed away today at 81. Rogers will be acknowledged on the Opry stage tonight during the Opry Saturday night show being broadcast live on Circle and stations around the country.
Rogers is probably best known for his hit, “The Gambler” written by Don Schiltz.
Kenny Rogers, 1938-2020
Schlitz told Circle Network, “The song says the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep. Maybe, I don’t know. But I do know this: The best any songwriter could hope for was to have Kenny Rogers sing one of your songs. I am forever grateful.” Schlitz was a computer operator at Vanderbilt University when he wrote the song that catapulted his songwriting career.
Dan Rogers, Opry general manager and executive producer of the Opry, said, “Thank you sweet music man, for your songs that’ll ease our souls in these unsettling days and for years to come.”
Rogers hits like “Lady,” “Lucille” took him to superstardom as did his duets with Opry members Dottie West (“Every Time Two Fools Collide”) and Dolly Parton (“Islands in the Stream”).
“I loved Kenny with all my heart,” Dolly shared today (March 21) on Twitter. “And my heart is broken. A big ol’ chunk of it has gone with him today. I think that I can speak for all his family, his friends and fans, when I say that I will always love you.”
Reba, who recently lost her mother only a week ago to cancer, said of Kenny on social media, “Go rest high on that mountain. Please tell mama and daddy hi for me. Thank you for your friendship and love.”