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Kenny Rogers: 10 Essential Songs

From his signature “The Gambler” to duets with Dottie West, Kim Carnes, and Dolly Parton

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Upon in his induction in 2013, Kenny Rogers — who died on March 20th, 2020 at the age of 81 — was one of the Country Music Hall of Fame’s most deserving modern inductees, with more than 100 million records sold, 21 country music Number One hits, and multiple pop chart-toppers. Still, a select few of those songs stand above the rest in his catalog. Here we compile his 10 essentials, from his signature “The Gambler” to duets with Dolly Parton, Dottie West, and Kim Carnes.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in March 2020.

From Rolling Stone US

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“Buy Me a Rose” (1999)

Rogers’ final country chart-topper was a late-career comeback in 1999 that arrived more than a decade after his previous Number One. Written by Jim Funk and Erik Hickenlooper, the story is well-suited for Rogers to tell: man tries to express his love with fancy material things, woman just wants him to say the words and do the little stuff, guy eventually figures it out and vows to stop holding all those feelings inside. Rogers is joined by the unlikely pairing of country singer Billy Dean and bluegrass star Alison Krauss, who provide the heavenly backing vocals on the simple, elegant recording. For a time, it gave the then 61-year-old Rogers a record as the oldest person to have a country Number One (Willie Nelson passed him later), putting an exclamation point on a career that stretched back to the late Fifties. J.F.