Kenny Ray Rogers, the mastermind behind over one-hundred twenty singles, is one of the most well-known country music stars of all time. We have heard his music for years. Sadly, last March he announced canceling his concerts due to health issues. That was the last we heard of him. Between the women, the children, and the drama, there is a lot you do not know about the country crooner. One and the same with all things country, from singing, acting, songwriting and producing, Kenny’s life outside his music is one-of-a-kind. But, what do you think could he have been doing if not spending his life with the joys of country music?
Kenny, Formerly a Pre-country Hippie
Kenny is actually short for Kenneth. Variety show host Larry Kane told Kenny to change his name from Kenneth because it was too formal. Larry made sure he announced him as “Kenny” so that once the public heard Kenny, he could not take it back. Kenny was happy with the change when he heard the girls in the crowd screaming it. Unbelievably, Kenny was first in a jazz trio and then in a psychedelic hippie pop band! He had ears pierced and messy hair. Kenny was the lead singer of the band, The First Edition. If you heard their song “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”, a 1968 hit, you are a certified Kenny Rogers fan.
Social Media Exposure
Back in the 90s and early 2000s, Kenny had his own restaurant called “Kenny Rogers Roasters”. Mad TV made him the focus of their joke when they featured Kenny and his restaurant in their shows. Kenny sure did get instant fame! Audiences loved the show and seeing Kenny on it, no one can mess with him! In addition, we see Kenny as a bold man. Having the idea to set up a 1-800 number so that women could call him to have close relations via the phone proved this. These days, we could have cared less, but back in the 80s and 90s, this was downright outrageous.
However, Kenny almost cost this mania his whole career. He did not think it of it as a big deal, feeling guiltless in the matter since he was hiding nothing. However, this took a toll on Kenny. A female caller, Lisa Applewhite, allegedly said Kenny sent him some scandalous photos to her. Lisa also said Kenny asked that she attends one of his shows in New York City and to his hotel room, thereafter. In the hotel room, Lisa described how Kenny touched her in a way that she did not find pleasing and was too frightened to fight back. She said that she was scared that he would come after her if she did.
“Do what you love, love what you do.”
A saying implying Kenny’s mother when he asked her what he should do with his life. Her mother wanted him to realize that doing something you love means you never feel like you are working at all. When Kenny decided to listen to his mother, he went to do what he loved most of all – music. And, through this, Kenny was sure he has been able to have a well-balanced shot at fame and fortune. His father, on the other hand, was a World War II veteran who returned from the war. Later, he was unemployed and broke. He eventually turned to the bottle for comfort. Fortunately, Kenny did not follow his father’s footsteps. Instead, he turned out to be even more determined than he thought he could be. He did not want to be like his father and sit around all day feeling sorry for himself for being poor.
Kenny got the first girl he lost his virginity with, pregnant. The woman ended up giving birth to Kenny’s first child, a daughter. The woman married someone else and the man raised Kenny’s daughter as his own. Kenny was always all right with the woman’s decision even though he is the biological father.
Marrying More than Once
Kenny has been married a record five times. Kenny married his fifth wife, Wanda on June 1, 1997. Until now, the two are happily married. The exciting part of their relationship is that Kenny is two years older than his in-laws. Wanda’s parents originally did not approve of their union due to his age, but they were soon won over by his compelling character. Many times, Kenny shared that Wanda is his true soul mate. One significant relationship Kenny has though was with his fourth wife, Marianne. Not only was this divorce the most chaotic of all of his many divorces, but it was the one that cost Kenny the most. They were married for 16 years and had one son together. Marianne ended up getting $60 million of Kenny’s fortune.
Legendary as Kenny Rogers, he also had his share of being broke. Actually, between the divorces and overspending, most of the time Kenny was almost broke. He would spend as quickly as he earned and does not know how to manage his finances wisely. The best bought he ever made? A set of automatic sprinklers. Practical, isn’t it?
Before, Rogers himself admitted to having gone under the knife. He has undergone some facial plastic surgery, some failed, to be duller. Kenny stated that he did not like how the surgery turned out because he felt more womanlike. His very close friend, Dolly Parton, said that she thought that Kenny went to Jiffy Suck to get his work done, but, after a couple of years she said that he has matured into the look.
Kenny loved being out in the sun when he was younger. When he got old, that habit caused him a skin cancer diagnosis. Everything was taken care of once it was detected, but then again Kenny was out in the sun thereafter. He was afraid to miss family gatherings. This led him to eventually quit the music business.
Kenny Rogers was not just celebrated for his incredible musical talents. He also had numerous TV appearances. Back in 2004, Kenny made an appearance on the iconic show Reno 911. On the episode, Kenny was in Reno for a book signing and used the show for its safety detail. Once fans heard that he was in town and on the show, they ran over to Kenny’s private detail and got themselves into a whole heap of trouble. It was indeed a hilarious episode. Talking about movies, Kenny was in the film “Six Pack” It was based on a group of orphans who strip down Kenny’s racing car. Kenny has to race his stripped-down vehicle and to win the parts back. While it was not a huge hit, it did end up making around $20 million in the US Box Office; more than most musicians’ debut movies.
Another funny TV appearance Kenny had was his Geico commercial – the one with the little lizard. In the commercial, Kenny was playing poker with some other people when he starts to sing one of his many hit songs, The Gambler. The people at the other table just look on in wonder as Kenny continues to sing. We have to admit, it was one of the best Geico commercials to date.
One of the best is his appearance on a song called “We Are The World” dedicated to the 1980s African famine news. During this time, some of the biggest musicians of all time decided to record a song in order to raise much-needed funds. They raised $60 million and featured the one and only Kenny Rogers.
There is no doubt Kenny Rogers sold a serious amount of records in his time. In fact, he became the eighth most profitable musician of all time. He was no stranger to Gold records. Thirty of his albums earned that status. In addition, he earned nineteen Platinum records and one Diamond. It is not easy to get a Diamond record. His Greatest Hits Album was the winner of this prestigious award, as it sold over 24 million copies worldwide.
Hall of Fame Entry
It took Kenny Rogers almost 50 years in the music industry before earning his spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame. That sought-after achievement in the life of every musician came to him back in 2013. Well, he deserved it considering his undisputable contributions in making country music more conventional. Likewise, his influence on other aspiring country music stars left a significant mark. Among the present big stars in country music who never forgets how Rogers helped shape his journey in this genre was Garth Brooks. During his earlier period in the industry, Rogers taught Brooks how to become a showman and the latter never fails to credit him for that.
Not only had Rogers enjoyed success in the music industry but in sports too. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the singer has been part of car racing team. His participation in a car racing sprint in the World of Outlaws Race and Knoxville Nationals were a great success. He brought home the trophies from both events. C.K. Spurlock from Hendersonville, Tennessee headed the Kenny Rogers team and truly lived up to their legendary name. They called their cars “The Gambler” in honor of Rogers’ hit song of the same name.
The Real West at its Best
As Kenny Rogers has always considered himself a history nerd, he won’t let a chance pass him to be part of any event related to history. Hence, his involvement with The Real West show aired on The History Channel. The said television program ran from 1991 until 1994. It was originally shown for A&E then later aired on The History Channel. A closer look at certain important events that shaped Western American history. Apart from this, it centers on the history of the old, wild west. Re-runs on The History Channel are still available if you need a fixing of your Wild West.
Book Collections and Country Memorabilia
Rogers’ artistic side was displayed in a collection of coffee table books. And, the “Through the Years” singer wishes the whole world to get access to these. It’s his ultimate goal to have these books put on the shelves and into everybody’s home. Two of those collections, namely This is My Country and Your Friends and Mine featured extraordinary images of certain celebrities. Willie Nelson, Michael Jackson, and Tammy Wynette were among those famous individuals present in Rogers’ books.
Apart from his coffee table books, Rogers also had collections of country memorabilia. Interestingly, these mementos can only be found at Cracker Barrel. Hence, stopping here after a long road trip would be worth it. Apart from their huge collection of country memorabilia, the place also exclusively sells The Love of God. This Rogers’ album is packed with songs pertaining to the singer’s growing up years, along with a number of big gospel hits. With that, you’ve got more reasons to visit the Cracker Barrel.
On Shows and Cameos
If you were a fan of The Muppet Show and a Kenny Roger devotee, it’s likely that you’ve seen the singer’s hilarious cameo in one of the show’s episodes. And it’s probable too, that you’d consider such as the best episode ever. In this scene, Kenny Rogers’ dressing room is about to be destroyed by Arabs who have bought it for oil. One of their camels stepped on the singer’s guitar causing it to break. As a result, they buy him a new one. Rogers promises to teach them to sing in exchange for free gas. Also in this episode, he sings his classic “The Gambler” as one of the Muppets takes on the title role. Aside from that notable Muppet cameo, Rogers was also featured on a typical episode of Seinfeld, along with his world-famous chicken franchise.
In addition to Rogers’ appearances on certain shows, the singer had also recorded a finale song for Home Improvement. This program was one of the biggest shows of the ‘90s. Sadly, no one has uncovered the show until its end. Hence, no available information about it can be found. Home Improvement is about two men who ran a home improvement show out of their homes, along with their families and unidentified neighbors.
Before Country, He’s Into Jazz
Prior to his stardom in the country music genre, Kenny Rogers was a big fan of jazz music. He played bass for a band named the Bobby Doyle Trio. They didn’t do so well though. Hence, decided to break up in 1965. This unfortunate event has paved the way for Rogers’ rise as one of the world’s biggest country stars today.
His Passion Other than Music
Would you believe that Rogers’ other compelling passion besides music is interior design? Well, it is and he’s resolute with his huge interest in interior designs. In fact, he put his stamp on over 20 properties. Moreover, he puts up his own interior design studio with a longtime friend, Jim Weinberg. The business was called Kenji Design Studio and engaged in some huge properties.
An Amusing Experience with one of his Restaurants
Kenny Rogers Roasters fried chicken shop that was featured on Seinfeld episode mentioned earlier is real. The musician set up the said business to compete with giants such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Boston Market. Compared with other big stores, Rogers’ chicken shop offered less salty chicken. It’s just so sad that it didn’t go so well. Except for some stores still operating in the Philippines and Malaysia, American stores have all since closed up.
The singer had a hilarious experience in one of his franchise restaurants while having a vacation in Greece. Thinking that he’s the owner of the business, Rogers expected to have a free dinner. Unfortunately for him, the manager didn’t grant his expectation thinking that he doesn’t look exactly alike with the singer’s posted pictures at the restaurant. As a result, Rogers had to pay for his meal.
Kenny Rogers Look-Alike
It’s funny to know that there exists a parody site about Kenny Rogers which he favored so much. MenWhoLookLikeKennyRogers.com is the site’s name. Its main goal is to post pictures of people they think look like the country superstar. Rogers was more than happy to convey his approval for the site with the condition to keep it in good taste. If you think you have some photos to send, go and visit the site now.
A Rumored Fling and Putting an End to It
Kenny Rogers’ close working relationship with Dolly Parton was no secret to the public. They have recorded several chart-topping hits together. “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” “Islands in the Stream,” and their Christmas special are just some of their duet performances. However, their close professional relationship has spurred rumors from the audience that the two are having a fling. This was aggravated by the fact that Rogers had had five wives. The two then mutually agreed to finally put to end the incessant rumors. In 2012, they did an interview together on Good Morning America. During the talk, both musicians denied having a secret affair.
The Plastic Surgery Effect
When Rogers decided to undergo eyelid plastic surgery, he has a pretty simple reason for it. It wasn’t for reasons or anything. He wanted the surgery so that he “didn’t look like a young man with a super young wife.” Sadly, he didn’t like the end result.
On Sober Performance
In the 1960s and 1970s, the use of illegal substances before a stage performance became prominent among musicians and bands alike. That was never a Rogers’ thing. Although, he admitted to taking the substance only once before going on stage. He thought such would make him sound fantastic but soon realized it only ruined his vocals. With this, he swore to not doing it again. Proving he’s in it solely for the music, the singer will only perform moderately.
Meeting the most Thoughtful and Inspiring Person
Who’s a Gallagher fan here? Rogers’ is and he’s not just a simple fan but a big fan of the famous comedian. While many consider his completely bizarre take on life, use of props and his fondness for smashing fruit up as merely exaggeration, Rogers believes he’s much more than that. He once said that Gallagher is one of the most introspective and thought-provoking people he’s ever met; a philosopher of sorts.
His Rags to Riches Story Almost not Published
Thinking that the book about him entitled Luck or Something Like It would make the singer look bad, Kenny almost prevented its publication at the last minute. His autobiography contained much of his scandalous behavior and with that, he didn’t want it to be published. Thanks to the publishers who were able to convince him that readers would love to read about his ‘rags to riches’ story of becoming a very successful country singer.
Being Nice and Motivated
Being a nice person has contributed a lot to Kenny Rogers’ success and fame in the entertainment industry. Many people truly liked him and are ready to lend him a hand when in need. The singer confessed to religiously following the piece of advice he received from someone a long time ago.
“If you’ll hurt someone on your way up, they will find a way to bring you down.”
On his life on the road, Rogers admitted how much he has sacrificed in life because of his insatiable desire to perform. That includes the most important persons in his life, his wives, and good friends. When the singer got married for the fifth time, he realized that maybe he was wrong.
Toward His Career’s Closing Time
As the singer moved toward the closing of his career, he made the announcement that broke many of his fans. The “Coward of the Country“ star disclosed his plan of retiring once his 2017 concert season concluded. Considering his age and health aspects, plus the almost six decades of touring and performing, Rogers truly deserves to rest. Let’s then grant him his much-needed break from the hectic country music scene.
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