Kenny Rogers, regarded as a “country music icon,” has passed away. He was 81.
Not only am I a fan of his music, I have some connections, largely emotional.
Years ago, right after a date when I was in college, I knew I had fallen in love for the first time. The song I was listening to at that moment was “The Gambler.” It was a cover version of a song written by Don Schlitz–the cover sung by Kenny Rogers, the first singer to put the song at no. 1 on the charts. So even though I was a poker player in college, I associate that song as much with love as with the game.
In my early journalism days, I was an editor of a college newspaper. One of my fellow students who contributed was one of Kenny Rogers’ sons. I remember him as creative and a nice guy.
Finally, I had a one act play produced for a California festival. While I haven’t verified it, that festival was apparently part of the inspiration for the Stagecoach Festival at which Kenny Rogers was scheduled to perform in his retirement tour. But he didn’t make it–he was already too ill.
As in the song “The Gambler,” Kenny Rogers has walked away. But we’ll continue to hold on to his music and his legacy.