KENNY ROGERS

Kenny Rogers

NASHVILLE, Tenn.: Kenny Rogers' musical career has touched many different styles of music throughout various generations, and his farewell performance to Nashville, All In For The Gambler, served as a reminder of the musical impact that his career has had – and will continue to make for years to come. An all-star cast of Rogers' contemporaries – and many of today's hottest musical artists – turned up last night (October 25) at the Bridgestone Arena in Music City to pay tribute to the Country Music Hall of Fame member, who is in the midst of his farewell tour, "The Gambler's Last Deal." Perhaps the most emotional moment of the night belonged to Dolly Parton, who teamed with Rogers one last time on their 1983 hit "Islands In The Stream" after surprising both Rogers – and the audience – with a heartfelt performance of "I Will Always Love You" to her friend and collaborator. The two also reminisced about their lengthy friendship – which dates back to a Rogers appearance on her syndicated TV show from the mid 1970's – almost a decade before they first teamed up. The two also closed out their performing career together with the Grammy-nominated “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” a single from 2013.

The evening was a mixture of song performances that balanced many of the singer's iconic hits – as well as many of the early days of Rogers’ career as the lead vocalist of The First Edition. Jamey Johnson paid tribute to the singer’s versatility with a raucous take on Mickey Newbury’s "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," a First Edition hit from five decades ago. The Flaming Lips shined the light on "Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town," with Reba McEntire tipping the hat to the group’s "Reuben James." Elle King gave a jaw-dropping performance of "Tulsa Turnaround,” one of the First Edition’s lesser-known tracks – that Rogers himself recorded for his 1979 album Kenny. Rogers' fellow Texan Kris Kristofferson paid tribute to the band’s cover of "Me and Bobby McGee," which he wrote.

Of course, the main focus of the evening was on the record-setting solo career Rogers embarked on in the mid-1970s, and those hits were on full display during the evening. Justin Moore nodded to the beginning of the singer’s hit making era with “Lucille,” with spellbinding performances taking place from Aaron Lewis ("Coward Of The County", The Oak Ridge Boys ("Love Or Something Like It"), Chris Stapleton ("The Gambler"), Little Big Town ("Through The Years"), and Lady Antebellum ("She Believes In Me"). A special moment took place with the appearance of Don Henley – who once lived with Rogers and his family - to perform the classic "Desperado," which Rogers cut in 1977 for his Daytime Friends album.

Many of the 80’s and 90’s hits of the singer were featured during The Gambler's Last Deal as well. Billy Currington delivered a sensual take on “Morning Desire,” with Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and Idina Menzel teaming up for “We’ve Got Tonight,” a 1983 Rogers hit with Sheena Easton. Two of the singers' most frequent collaborators figured prominently in this era with appearances with Lionel Richie giving a beautiful take on "Lady," a number one Pop and Country hit that he wrote for Kenny's Greatest Hits album in 1980, and Alison Krauss saluted the singer with a pristine version of his romantic ballad "Love The World Away." Another incredible performance came from Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott and mother Linda Davis – who has toured extensively with Rogers over the years – uniting on stage for the singer’s 1987 chart-topper "Twenty Years Ago."

There were several other great musical moments during All In For The Gambler, with Naomi and Wynonna Judd reuniting for "Back To The Well," and an all-star group of Rogers' former opening acts paying tribute to the icon with a sing-along performance of his 1982 hit “Blaze Of Glory,” including Travis Tritt, The Gatlin Brothers, Kim Forester, T.G. Sheppard, Crystal Gayle, Lee Greenwood, T. Graham Brown, and Billy Dean.

Blackbird Presents' Keith Wortman, creator and executive producer of Nashville's recent highly acclaimed "Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard," is the creator and executive producer of "All In For The Gambler." GRAMMY Award Winner Don Was served as music director, and presided over a stellar house band backing the performers at this historic concert event taping. Kenny Rogers' manager, Ken Levitan, also served as executive producer. The event was filmed and recorded for multi-platform distribution throughout traditional media (worldwide broadcast, music, and digital).

About Kenny Rogers: Kenny Rogers began recording in the late 1950s, notching a local hit in the Houston, TX market with "That Crazy Feeling" that resulted in a national TV appearance on "American Bandstand." After stints with the jazz group the Bobby Doyle Three and folk favorite The New Christy Minstrels, Rogers formed The First Edition in 1967. As the lead singer of the group, Rogers sang on the band's biggest hits, such as "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" and "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town." The group, who hosted their own syndicated television series, "Rollin'", stayed together through 1975.

In 1976, Rogers signed a deal in Nashville with United Artists. With the help of producer Larry Butler, Rogers released "Lucille" in early 1977, his first No. 1 hit. The singer would tally many classics through the decade, including "Love Or Something Like It," "Sweet Music Man," "The Gambler," and "Every Time Two Fools Collide," which he recorded with the late Dottie West. Rogers was named Male Vocalist of the Year by both the CMA and the ACM, being also recognized as Entertainer of the Year by the latter in 1979.

In 1980, Rogers made musical history with his cross-over success of "Lady." The Lionel Richie composition netted the singer a hit in the Country, Pop, AC, and R&B fields. The album from which the song was pulled, Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits, was certified Diamond for sales of over ten million units. In the 1980s, he stayed on top of the charts with hits like "I Don't Need You," "We've Got Tonight," and "Morning Desire," and sang on the GRAMMY® winning USA For Africa charity single, "We Are The World," joined by an unprecedented number of music legends. He also established a successful career as an actor – with roles in The Gambler movie series – and as a photographer, with several published books of photos to his credit, including "This Is My Country."

Rogers has sold over 120 million albums worldwide during his career, making him one of the best-selling male artists of all-time according to the RIAA, with twenty Platinum albums and eleven Gold. He has won awards from every organization imaginable, including multiple GRAMMY® Awards, as well as CMA, ACM, CMT, TNN, Music City News, and American Music Awards. In 2012, Rogers released his successful memoir, "Luck or Something Like It" and became a New York Times Best-Selling Author. In the fall of 2013, Rogers was bestowed with his biggest honor, being inducted as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. He continues to endear himself to audiences through his timeless music, and appearances on television – including a well-received Geico commercial in 2015. In the fall of 2015, Kenny Rogers made headlines with the announcement that he would soon embark on a farewell tour – after one of the most successful and iconic careers in the history of show business. The spring of 2016 saw the singer begin that process with his "The Gambler's Last Deal" Final World Tour, saying goodbye to his loyal legion of fans one city and one night at a time in what has been a critically-acclaimed night of music and memories.

About Blackbird Presents:

Blackbird Presents is a global media company that produces premium content via a range of strategies including large-scale concert events and festivals, broadcast series and specials, and music releases featuring major music stars across all genres and demographics. Blackbird's recent concerts, broadcast specials and releases include "Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard," "The Life & Songs of Kris Kristofferson," "Imagine: John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert," "Outlaw: Celebrating The Music of Waylon Jennings," "I'll Take You There: Celebrating 75 Years of Mavis Staples," "The Life and Songs of Emmylou Harris," "Lynyrd Skynyrd: One More For The Fans," "The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: Celebrating Mac and His Music," and "All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs and Voice of Gregg Allman," the latter of which earned a 2014 GRAMMY® Award nomination for Gregg Allman and Taj Mahal's awe-inspiring performance of "Statesboro Blues." Blackbird Presents is also creator and producer behind the Outlaw Music Festival Tour, in partnership with Willie Nelson; the American Roots Music & Arts Festival, in partnership with Eric Church; and The Last Waltz 40 Tour.

"ALL IN FOR THE GAMBLER"

KENNY ROGERS' FAREWELL CELEBRATION FULL OF SURPRISES AND EMOTIONAL MOMENTS  

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