Kenny Rogers may have been one of the most famous figures in country music before his passing on March 20, 2020, but there are aspects of the well-known singer’s life that you might not have been aware of. For instance, he had four ex-wives, five children, and a staggering amount of money. You might also be surprised to find out which one of the icon’s songs was his favorite.
“You want things your way / And I want them mine / And now we don’t know / Just where you draw the line / How can love survive / If we keep cheers and sights? And who picks up the pieces,” Dottie West sings in “Every Time Two Fools Collide.” Rogers picks things up next, telling us in his unmistakable voice: “You lay the blame on me / And I put the blame on you / But why do we keep finding faults / In everything we do?”
Rogers may have sung about faults, however, he saw nothing wrong with the song itself. In fact, he told The Boot in 2016, “It was, I think, the first duet I had ever done. I loved her, and I thoroughly enjoyed the song.” He continued, “[It] was the song that I loved doing. … I think Dottie West is one of the most unappreciated artists ever in country music.” That might be why you don’t know much (if anything) about the woman who accompanied Rogers on his very favorite duet.
Who was Dottie West?
Kenny Rogers was obviously fond of Dottie West, which is likely why the duo collaborated on three songs together over the years. Along with “Every Time Two Fools Collide” they also gave fans “All I Ever Need Is You” and “What Are We Doin’ in Love.” While listeners adored the duets she took on with Rogers, West was also an accomplished performer in her own right. In fact, she became the first person to receive the Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy award in 1964 for her hit “Here Comes My Baby.”
Sadly, on Sept. 4, 1991, “the country music community was in mourning,” according to The Boot, following the death of West at the age of 58. The singer passed away due to “injuries sustained in a car crash.” She may have been gone, but she certainly wasn’t forgotten. “I’m going to do everything I can to get her into the Country Music Hall of Fame,” Rogers said in 2016. Two years later, that desire became a reality. “For years, the possible induction of Dottie West into the Country Music Hall of Fame has been a rallying cry for fans and fellow artists alike,” Billboard explained. “[In March 2018], the name of Dottie West was announced as one of three new inductees into Country Music’s most exclusive club.”
Rogers may have had a soft spot for West, but his most famous duets were with another Country Hall of Fame inductee.
Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers were a dynamic duo
Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers both became legends in country music as solo artists but were just as beloved for the duets they performed together. Frankly, these two had such amazing chemistry that many fans wondered if they dated. Even Rogers admitted to The Boot that, along with one of his tunes that we’ll cover in a moment, he was “known for … the Dolly Parton stuff.”
“‘Islands In the Stream’ was first, but across three decades Parton and Rogers recorded dozens of songs together,” according to Taste of Country. “Their Once Upon a Christmas album from 1984 is a holiday standard — their song ‘The Greatest Gift of All’ is an all-time Christmas duet! Later recordings might be forgotten, but only because newer music replaced them in one’s memory.” Among Parton and Rogers’ songs that curious country music lovers might want to check out, ToC lists “You Can’t Make Old Friends” (which came decades after their first duet), “Real Love,” and the pair’s cover of “Love Is Strange” as some of the best.
“I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success, I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend,” Parton said following his death, according to Rolling Stone.
While Parton and Rogers certainly made wonderful music together, their duets probably aren’t quite as well-known as the solo hit that might be Rogers’ most memorable tune.
'The Gambler' was a good bet
Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” (from the 1978 album of the same name) was perhaps the country crooner’s most famous song. He even admitted to The Boot that along with the duets he sang with Dolly Parton, the poker-themed song was the one he was most “known for.” Whether or not you’re a fan of country music, at some point in your life you’ve surely sung (or at least heard), “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em / Know when to fold ’em / Know when to walk away / And know when to run.” According to Rolling Stone, “‘The Gambler’ was a country-to-pop crossover hit.”
“With [the song], Rogers hit a musical trifecta: a ghostly allegory built around trains, the draw of the cards, and the wisdom of the aged. … Rogers parlayed it into a mini-empire, portraying fictional Old West gambler Brady Hawkes in five made-for-TV films from 1980 to 1994,” Rolling Stone explains. Beyond that, “[t]he song also spawned a slot machine, a book series, and Rogers’ appearance in a humorous 2014 GEICO Insurance commercial, where his a cappella rendition of the song’s memorable chorus … annoys his fellow poker players.”
So remember: “You never count your money / When you’re sittin’ at the table / There’ll be time enough for countin’ / When the dealin’s done.” The dealin’ may now be done for the late Rogers, but thankfully we’ll always have his music.
Source: Read Full Article