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Kenny Rogers In The Beachwood

"Kenny Rogers, a prolific singer who played a major role in expanding the audience for country music in the 1970s and '80s, died on Friday at his home in Sandy Springs, Ga. He was 81," the New York Times (and many others, of course) reports.

"Singing in a husky voice that exuded sincerity and warmth, Mr. Rogers sold well over 100 million records in a career that spanned seven decades. He had 21 No. 1 country hits, including two - 'Lady,' written and produced by Lionel Richie, and 'Islands in the Stream,' composed by the Bee Gees and performed with Dolly Parton - that reached No. 1 on the pop chart as well.

"By the time he stopped performing, Mr. Rogers had placed more than 50 singles in the country Top 40, of which 20 also appeared in the pop Top 40."

I liked Kenny Rogers well enough - who didn't? - but "The Gambler" nearly got ruined for me by an ass who lived in the floor below me when I was in Wicker Park - the only dick we had in that house in my 18 years there.

I'm super easy about people having parties, or playing loud music, because I want to be able to do that, too, and I want people to have fun. But there are reasonable limits, and exceeding those, especially on a regular basis, is beyond inconsiderate, it's infuriating. It may not be the height of inconsideration, but it's close.

Anyway, this guy had some buddies over one (weekend) night, perhaps for poker, and they played "The Gambler" on repeat for a full 24 hours - loud. This was maybe 15 years ago and I'm only just about now able to enjoy hearing that song - but as evidenced by what I'm writing right now, I still associate it with that asshole and I probably always will. Thanks for ruining that for me, dude!

That's a long introduction to the point of this post, which is to recall Rogers' appearances in the Beachwood. Here goes.

March 23, 2007: Here Comes The Country Sun.

10. Kenny Rogers, "Sunshine." Written by Mickey Newbury (Country Music Songwriters Hall of Fame member and writer of the Rogers/New Edition chart-topper "Just Dropped In [to See What Condition My Condition Was In]"), this is as forgettable as any number of Rogers' recordings. Only the recording values, to my ears, make it a little bit more irritating than, say, "Coward of the County." Really, the only reason this song is on the list is because it has sun in the title and it sets up the incredible rendition that comes next.

May 18, 2007: Friday Night Beachwood.

4. Islands in the Stream/Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers. Written by the BeeGees. So a lot of talent brought to bear. And a song some of us couldn't admit we liked until we were 35 or so.

May 30, 2008: Comcast Classic Country.

4. Real Love/Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers

A #1 country single that also reached #91 on the pop charts, this is hardly a country classic in any real sense of the term. While tuneful, its studio gloss bespeaks the state of country circa 1985; it sounds like the lost theme song to a Dudley Moore movie.

October 31, 2007: Mystery Debate Theater: Philadephia.

TIM: If you put a fluffy white beard on Joe Biden, he's a dead ringer for Kenny Rogers.

STEVE: Or Kenny Loggins.

December 4, 2009: Language Arts: Going Rogue.

Remember that old Kenny Rogers song, "The Gambler?"

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

There is a great deal of wisdom in that song, for it clarifies the right time to take action and the right time to walk away - things that rogue characters don't take kindly to having to figure out.

But rather than spending your time trying to be the next big rogue queen or rogue cowboy, you may want to first consider whether you are up to the challenge of being: "on" all the time, unwilling to back down, unable to stay away from controversy and unnerved by the idea of leaving any stone unturned.

If undeterred, then perhaps you truly are in rogue fit condition. By all means then, go forth and be as rogue as rogue can be.

We'll miss you, Kenny.

-

Comments welcome.



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Posted on March 21, 2020


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