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Rogers - 21 Number Ones


Kenny Rogers
21 Number Ones

Capitol Records Nashville


1. The Gambler (3:32)
(D. Schiltz) (P) 1978, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Position: #1

Around the world, I am [known as] The Gambler. When I go to Korea or Japan, for example, people see me and go “Ah, the Gambler.” Thank God for that song, because if gave me an identification – especially, perhaps, because we’ve done five movies as well.

The song really is a wonderful piece of philosophy, not just about playing cards or gambling, but about life in general. I'm a writer, a decent writer, so I know that there are lots of times when you use certain words for the purpose of rhyming. But there is not a wasted lyric in The Gambler. Every lyric is germane to the concept of that song. It's a wonderfully constructed piece of material.

2. Through The Years (4:48)
(S. Dorff / M. Panzer) (P) 1981, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Position: #1

This song certainly is a synopsis. It's one of the top-5 most requested songs at weddings, for fathers to dance with the daughters they're giving away.

3. Lady (3:51)
(L. Richie, Jr.) (P) 1980, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard  Pop Position: #1 / Peak Billboard Country Position: #1 / Peak Billboard Adult Contemporary Position: #1

I had reached a point working with Larry Butler where we had hit after hit after hit after hit. I had begun to feel like I felt with Bobby Doyle in Houston: I was successful, but stagnant. Larry and I kept trying to find a different way to go, but we just couldn't. It was a risky move for me to go outside of Nashville, having had that kind of success. But I listened to The Commodores, and when I heard Three Times A Lady I thought, "Boy, there's a guy ... and I happened to know Berry Gordy, Jr., I'd met him through mutual tennis-playing friends, and I also played with him. So I went to Berry and said "Are there any conditions under which you think Lionel Richie and The Commodores might work with me?" He said, "I don't know. I'll go ask." Berry went to Lionel.

I was working in Las Vegas. Lionel flew in, came down to my dressing room at the Riviera Hotel and said, "I've written a song that I think will be wonderful for you." He started singing, "Lady, da da da da da." That's all he had. I thought it was great.

4. Lucille (3:39)
(R. Bowling / H. Bynum) (P) 1976, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

I was going through a divorce, and the day after the lawyer told my ex-wife that if she ever took me to court again he was going to have a judge throw her in jail for contempt of court, this song hit. To me, it is the happiest sad song you've ever heard: It's really a depressing story; but it's got the most wonderfully uplifting chorus to it. There are two ways to find familiarity with a wide audience: You can do a song that's so simple that anyone can sing it the first time they hear it, or you can be a star who's hot enough to get your record into heavy rotation, where it's played often enough that people recognize it. So, I always preferred to start with the simple song that has a great hook that everybody can sing, where everybody joins in with you on the second verse. Lucille is certainly that song.

5. Coward Of The County
(R. Bowling / B.E. Wheeler) (P) 1979, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

We did a very successful movie of that, with what I think is one of my better acting jobs. The song has a little bit of a social connotation to it, like Reuben James. It's about this guy who didn't want to go to war - he was a pacifist - and yet when the time came there were certain things he would fight for. I think that was a wonderful statement.

6. I Don’t Need You (3:37)
(R. L. Christian) (P) 1981, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1 / Peak Billboard AC Chart Position: #1

That was a great, edgy record, done when I was really stepping out musically. Once you know you can do something, it's more fun to reach out and do something else. You do get bored; you're kidding yourself if you don't admit that.

7. We’ve Got Tonight (with Sheena Easton) (3:49)
(B. Seger) (P) 1983, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

A Bob Seger song. I remember it was my idea to enlist Sheena Easton. She had some Streisand-like qualities, this wonderfully lyrical singer who sang with a little more everyday passion than Streisand. Boy, can she sing.

8. Crazy (3:40)
(K. Rogers / R. Marx) (P) 1988, 2006 Kenny Rogers
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

Written by Richard Marx and myself. Richard was then this kid who hung around the studio with me and Lionel and who kept wanting to sing all the background parts. He had this really smooth, unobtrusive background voice when he sang parts. I didn't even know he was a songwriter but he played beautiful piano. So he and I got together. Richard wrote most of it. I teased him one day, saying "Richard, I'm trying to remember which line I wrote in Crazy. I must have contributed something ... "

9. Islands In The Stream (with Dolly Parton) (4:08)
(B. Gibb / R. Gibb / M. Gibb) (P) 1983 BMG Music Courtesy of The RCA Records Label Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1 / Peak Billboard Pop Chart Position: #1

Barry Gibb was producing this album. I was in the studio, doing it, doing it, doing it. Barry said, "You know what? This should be a duet, and we should get Dolly Parton to do it." I said, "Well, let's call her." She said, "Yeah, I'll do that," and she came down, and it was magic.

Dolly and I knew each other from awards shows and other various places. We'd become really good friends, but we'd never worked together. I had done her TV show, and someone told me she had always appreciated that gesture, so maybe that's why she did this song with me. There was a real electricity, and it still happens to this day when she and I sing together.

10. She Believes In Me (4:11)
(S. Gibb) (P) 1978, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1 / Peak Billboard AO Chart Position: #1

The song says what every man would like to be able to say and every woman would like to hear. It's one of the first songs that captured that concept. What man wouldn't want to be able to say that? And what woman wouldn't want to hear it?

11. Every Time Two Fools Collide (with Dottie West) (3:00)
(J. Dyer / J. Tweel) (P) 1978, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

Larry Butler was producing Dottie West and producing me. Dottie was supposed to have finished recording at 10 AM - her session was supposed to end and mine was supposed to start. But she was running late, so I came in and sat down in the studio. We started talking about how much both of us would like to sing with each other, and Dottie said, "Well, go out there and sing the second verse to this song." I went out and sang the second verse to Every Time Two Fools Collide. It was great working with her.

12. You Decorated My Life (3:37)
(D. Hupp / B. Morrison) (P) 1979, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

This was on the URBAN COWBOY soundtrack. They wanted me to do something on it. If anything, it's one of those songs that's right on the fringe of being more metaphoric than I'm sometimes comfortable doing. I think I was riding on the crest of She Believes In Me, plus there was the huge success of the movie. It was a successful record.

13. Make No Mistake, She’s Mine (with Ronnie Milsap) (3:54)
(K. Carnes) (P) 1988, 2006 Kenny Rogers
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

I thought this was a beautiful record. I'd always wanted to do a record with Ray Charles, but it's hard to find songs that guys can sing together. So Kim Carnes wrote this one about two guys talking about the same girl. I sang with Ronnie Milsap. Who to me is one of the great singers of all time; I don't care where you put him.

14. Share Your Love With Me (3:16)
(A. Braggs / D. Malone) (P) 1981, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard AC Chart Position: #1

This was one of those songs I was raised up with. Bobby "Bllue" Bland had a big hit with it; Aretha Franklin cut it, too. I wanted to do it, and I'd always loved Gladys Knight - when I had done - the TV show with The First Edition called ROLLlNG ON THE RIVER (ROLLIN'), she came up with The Pips and did the show. Lionel produced the record. She and The Pips came down and sang background on it. It was done for the purpose of singing with Gladys.

15. All I Ever Need Is You (with Dottie West) (3:06)
(J. Holiday / E. Reeves) (P) 1979, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

Dottie and I did an album of a lot of other people's hits, and that was the Sonny & Cher song. It was one of those fun songs, one of Dottie's favorites for us to do live. I think it was because it had such personality.

16. Buy Me A Rose (featuring Alison Kraus and Billy Dean) (3:42)
(J. Funk / E. Hickenlooper) (P) 1999 Navarre Corporation / Courtesy of Navarre Corporation
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

The first time I heard this song, I immediately played it for my wife Wanda. We both loved it. She even made the video with me, which made the song very special to us. Alison's vocals seemed to fit the sentiment of this song perfectly. And Billy, who is a good friend, had the perfect voice to balance out the track.

17. Daytime Friends
(B. Peters) (P) 1977, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

That's just an exciting, fun kind of a song. Like Lucille, it's an uptempo song about a love affair, these two characters who are daytime friends and night-time lovers. You kind of miss the story for the feel of the song.

18. Love Or Something Like It (2:51)
(K. Rogers / S. Glassmeyer) (P) 1978, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

This is a song that Steve Glassmeyer, a guy in my band, and I wrote together. I remember writing it: We were sitting in Reno, Nevada we were doing five shows a night there - and Steve and I started writing. There was an old song called Something's Gotta Hold On Me that Etta James did that I always loved. I told Steve, "Let's write something like that." So we wrote this song. We would go do a show, then he'd come back and say, "Hey, I got another line for you." And then I’d say, "Hey, listen to this." It was written as a really fun song. Some of the lyrics are just hilarious.

19. Love Will Turn You Around (3:36)
(Rogers / Stevens / Schuyler / Malloy) (P) 1982, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1 / Peak Billboard AC Chart Position: #1

I did a movie called SIX PACK, and we wanted to do a song for it. We went to Even Stevens, Tom Schuyler and David Malloy in Nashville, I gave them the feel that I wanted, and we wrote this song.

20. Morning Desire (4:08)
(D. Loggins) (P) 1985, 2005 Kenny Rogers
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

Dave Loggins had hit with a song called Please Come To Boston in the '70s, and I had just loved the record. I brought him out to my farm in Athens, GA, put him in the guest house, and said "You can't come out until you write me a song that's a combination of Something's Burning and Bruce Springsteen's I'm On Fire." If you listen to Morning Desire, that is what it is, a combination of those two songs. And the record, ah, George Martin! He's got 27 voices on this thing. He was so wonderful to work with. He had the best overall, umbrella understanding of music of anyone I've ever met. I guess it came from his extensive experience of working with The Beatles. He could take a song and immediately know everything that was going on. He'd say, "You have to do this in order for it to work," I was a small part of his big wheel.

21. What Are We Doing In Love (with Dottie West) (3:00)
(R. Goodrum) (P) 1980, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard Country Chart Position: #1

Brent Maher produced this for Dottie and me; it appeared on one of Dottie's albums. It was ... a little jazzy, a strange kind of song. It was not country by any stretch of the imagination. But Maher and Randy Goodrum took it a totally different way.

Bonus Track:

22. Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer (with Kim Carnes) (3:40)
(K. Carnes / D. Ellington) (p) 1980, 2006 Capitol Nashville
Peak Billboard AC Chart Position: 2 / Peak-Billboard Country Chart Position: 3 / Peak Billboard Pop Chart Position: 4

I did an album with Kim Carnes named GIDEON that she wrote all the music for. Gideon Tanner was a guy from the silver-mining days who had a girl he was in love with. But he knew he was a dreamer, that he was going to go out and chase the next silver mine. It was an opportunity for me to sing with Kim, who had been in The New Christy Minstrels with me. Kim and I, we sound like we're hemorrhaging half the time when we're singing in full voice. It was one of those records that I loved doing.

MASTERING: Dave McEowen @ Capitol Studios Mastering, Hollywood
TRACK NOTES: Kenny Rogers
DESIGN: Kishan Muthucumaru
assisted by Jason Ko @ Meat and Potatoes, Inc.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Kelly Junkermann, Capitol Archives, McGuire, courtesy of Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum


Billboard® chart positions courtesy of BPI Communications and Joel Whitburn's Record Research Publications.

This compilation (P) © 2006 Capitol Records Nashville / Manufactured by Capitol Records Nashville. 3322 West End Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee 37203. All Rights
Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of Applicable laws. Printed in the U.S.A.

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