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Singer-songwriter Kenny Rogers is a crossover artist, enjoying enormous success on both the country music and pop music charts.
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Singer, musician, writer, actor, and photographer. Born on August 21, 1938, in Houston, Texas. Rogers grew up poor, living with his parents and six siblings in a federal housing project. By high school, he knew that he wanted to pursue a music career. He bought himself a guitar, and started a group called the Scholars. The band had a rockabilly sound and scored a few local hits. Breaking out on his own, Rogers recorded the 1958 hit single, "That Crazy Feeling," for the Carlton label. He even got to perform the song on the popular music program American Bandstand. Changing genres, Rogers then played bass with the Bobby Doyle Trio, a jazz group.
Moving on to folk-pop style, Rogers was asked to join the New Christy Minstrels in 1966. He left after a year, along with a few other members of the group, to form the First Edition. Fusing folk, rock, and country, the group quickly scored a hit with the psychedelic "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)." The band soon became known as Kenny Rogers and the First Edition and landed their own syndicated music show. They scored a few more hits, such as Mel Tillis' "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town."
In 1974, Rogers left the group to go solo again. He decided to focus his energy on country music and "Love Lifted Me" became his first solo top 20 country hit in 1975. Two years later, Rogers reached the top of the country charts with the mournful ballad "Lucille," about a man being left by his wife. The song also did well on the pop charts, making it into the top 5. It also brought Rogers his first Grammy Award—this time for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
Quickly following up this success, Rogers released The Gambler in 1978. The title track became another huge country and pop hit and gave Rogers his second Grammy Award. He also showed his tender side on the recording with the popular ballad "She Believes in Me." Kenny (1979) featured such hits as "Coward of the County" and "You Decorated My Life." Around this time, he wrote the advice book Making It With Music: Kenny Rogers' Guide to the Music Business (1978).
In addition to his solo work, Rogers recorded a series of hits with country legend Dottie West. The two reached the top of the country charts with "Every Time Two Fools Collide" (1978), "All I Ever Need Is You" (1979) and "What Are We Doin' In Love" (1981). Also in 1981, Rogers held the No. 1 spot on the pop charts for six weeks with his version of Lionel Richie's "Lady."
By this time, Rogers was a true crossover artist, enjoying enormous success on both the country and pop charts.
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