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Thread: Country Music

   
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    Post Kenny Rogers (August 21, 1938 - March 20, 2020)

    by Chris Morris | March 20, 2020 | Variety

    Vocalist Kenny Rogers, who dominated the pop and country charts in the 1970s and 1980s with a string of sleekly tailored hits and won three Grammys, has died. He was 81. Rogers “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” a representative for the singer said in a statement. Due to the national COVID-19 emergency, the family is planning a small private service at this time with a public memorial planned for a later date.

    Rogers had announced a farewell tour in 2015 and was able to keep it going through December 2017. In April 2018, shortly before he was to spend a few months finishing out the tour after a break, he announced that he was having to call off the remaining dates (including a planned appearance at the Stagecoach Festival in California), due to unspecified “health challenges.” “I didn’t want to take forever to retire,” Rogers said his April 2018 statement. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to say farewell to the fans over the course of the past two years on ‘The Gambler’s Last Deal’ tour. I could never properly thank them for the encouragement and support they’ve given me throughout my career and the happiness I’ve experienced as a result of that.”

    A special, “Biography: Kenny Rogers,” had been announced by A&E earlier this month, set to air April 13. The special is said to be largely built around footage from the all-star salute Rogers received in Nashville on Oct. 25, 2017, just a couple of months before his final concert appearances. Among the guests who joined him for that sentimental sendoff at the Bridgestone Arena were Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Don Henley, Kris Kristofferson, Alison Krauss, Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Reba McEntire, the Flaming Lips and the Judds.

    Rogers’ signature song “The Gambler” was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2018. It was the most recent of a lifetime of honors bestowed on the singer, which included induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, three Grammys and six CMA Awards.

    Rogers was one of the progenitors of country-pop crossover at the superstar level. “I came into country music not trying to change country music but trying to survive,” he said in a 2016 interview with CMT.com. “And so I did songs that were not country but were more pop. Nowadays they’re not doing country songs at all. What they’re doing is creating their own genre of country music. But I told somebody the other day, country music is what country people will buy. If the country audience doesn’t buy it, they’ll kick it out. And if they do, then it becomes country music. It’s just era of country music we’re in.”

    After establishing himself commercially via rock- and pop-oriented singles with his group the First Edition, the bearded, prematurely gray Rogers was launched into the top rank of crossover country artists with a string of singles for United Artists Records.

    His appealing, sometimes gritty voice propelled 20 solo 45s to No. 1 on the country charts from 1977-87. Two of them, his 1980 reading of Lionel Richie’s “Lady” and his 1983 collaboration with Dolly Parton “Islands in the Stream” (penned by the Bee Gees), also topped the pop lists. He worked profitably with a number of other female vocalists, including Dottie West, Sheena Easton, Kim Carnes and Anne Murray.

    Country historian Bill C. Malone noted that Rogers’ ingratiating style “has been the chief source of his immense success. Rogers is a consummate storyteller, with an intimate and compelling style that almost demands the listener’s concentration. When his husky tenor voice slips down into a raspy, gravelly register, as it sometimes does, Rogers pulls the listener even further into his confidence.”

    Rogers parlayed his music success into a successful side career as an actor. His 1978 country chart-topper “The Gambler” spawned five popular TV movies, while some of his other hits also inspired small-screen features.

    Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Country Music Association the same year.

    Born and raised in Houston, he was the fourth of eight children in a poor family. He took to the guitar as an adolescent, and would sometimes perform with another aspiring local musician and future star, Mickey Gilley.

    His early professional career was stylistically eclectic. While in high school, he formed a vocal group, the Scholars, which recorded for Carlton Records, a local label. After a brief stint at the University of Houston, he played bass with the jazz groups of Bobby Doyle and Kirby Stone.

    After moving to Los Angeles in 1966, he joined the folk-pop unit the New Christy Minstrels, a group that also numbered such performers as Carnes, the Byrds’ Gene Clark, “Eve of Destruction” vocalist Barry McGuire and the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Jerry Yester among its members at one time or another.

    With fellow Minstrels Mike Settle, Terry Williams and Thelma Camacho, Rogers founded the rock-leaning group the First Edition in 1967. Fronted by Rogers (whose name would be appended to the act’s moniker in 1969), the group notched two top 10 pop hits: “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” (No. 5, 1968), a version of Mickey Newbury’s slice of pop psychedelia, and “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” (No. 6, 1969), Mel Tillis’ downbeat song about the faithless wife of a handicapped Vietnam vet.

    The First Edition’s fortunes began to wane in the early ’70s, and Rogers signed a solo deal with UA in 1976. He struck almost immediate pay dirt with “Lucille,” an absorbing vignette about a barroom encounter with a disillusioned woman and her estranged husband. The number became Rogers’ first No. 1 country hit and reached No. 5 on the national pop chart. It also scored Rogers his first Grammy, for best male country vocal performance.

    Rogers also partnered with longtime female star West, and the duo racked up three No. 1 country singles for UA and then Liberty in 1978-81: “Every Time Two Fools Collide,” “All I Ever Need Is You” and “What Are We Doin’ in Love.”

    He notched five more No. 1 solo country singles by the end of the decade. The biggest of these were the Grammy-winning “The Gambler” (also No. 16 pop in 1978) and the backwoods narrative “Coward of the County” (also No. 3 pop in 1979). They pushed the albums “The Gambler” and “Kenny” to No. 12 and No. 5, respectively, on the pop album charts. Each inspired a popular TV movie; Rogers would portray Brady Hawkes, protagonist of “The Gambler,” in a series of telepics that ran through 1994.

    On the heels of a No. 1 greatest hits set in 1980, Rogers’ hits of the decade for Liberty and RCA found him moving increasingly into pop terrain and focusing on romantic balladry. “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream” (the latter one of many duets with frequent partner Parton) solidified his standing as country’s biggest crossover attraction; his rendering of Bob Seger’s “We’ve Got Tonight” with Sheena Easton ruled the country chart and rose to No. 6 on the pop chart. In all, he recorded 23 top 10 country hits during the decade, five of which crossed to the pop side.

    Though it failed to even dent the pop charts, “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine,” Rogers’ duet with singer-pianist Ronnie Milsap (and a remake of a duet by former bandmate Kim Carnes and Barbra Streisand) became Rogers’ next-to-last No. 1 country single in 1987. It also reaped a Grammy for best country vocal duet performance.

    Like many another star of his era, Rogers began to fall out of fashion in the ’90s, as a younger generation of country musicians flexing a less countrypolitan style supplanted him. He made his last toplining appearance in a pair of telepics as reformed gambler Jack MacShayne in 1994. In 1999, he notched a final No. 1 country hit, “Buy Me a Rose,” with Billy Dean and Alison Krauss.

    In the new millennium, sporadic releases on a number of independent labels and majors Capitol Nashville and Warner Bros. Nashville performed respectably on the country album charts but produced no major hits.

    From the ’90s forward, as he maintained a busy touring schedule, Rogers increasingly turned his attention to various entrepreneurial enterprises, opening a chain of fast-food chicken outlets, Kenny Rogers Roasters, and a Sprint car manufacturing firm, Gamblers Chassis.

    He issued a memoir, “Luck or Something Like It,” in 2012, and a novel, “What Are the Chances,” in 2013. That same year, he was the recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. He received a similar honor from CMT with its Artist of a Lifetime Award in 2015.

    Always active on the road, Rogers announced his retirement in September 2015, not long after a widely aired commercial for Geico insurance saw him reprising “The Gambler” for comedic effect.

    At the Oct. 25, 2017 tribute concert in Nashville, Rogers joined in jocular exchanges with some of the homage-payers, notably Parton, who quipped, “I want to see what condition your condition’s really in.” They reprised their recorded duets of “You Can’t Make Old Friends” and “Islands In the Stream,” and Parton additionally sang him her own signature song, “I Will Always Love You.”

    Footage of the 2017 concert was filmed by Blackbird Productions but went unseen until it was set for inclusion in the A&E “Biography” special airing in April.

    “I hope my fans understand that I’m a father first and a singer second,” Rogers said about his planned retirement from touring, in a 2016 interview with CMT.com, mentioning at that time that he had 11-year-old twin boys with his wife, Wanda Miller.. “As it turns out, I’m missing some very great parts of my boys’ lives. I know as well as anybody else how that time gets away from you. And I don’t want to miss it. I just worry about how much longer I’m going to be here, and I want to have time to spend with them. It’s pretty simple.”

    Married five times, Rogers is survived by his last wife Wanda and five children.
    Last edited by DuranDuran; 21-03-2020 at 06:50 PM.

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    Default Re: Kenny Rogers (August 21, 1938 - March 20, 2020)



    Last edited by DuranDuran; 21-03-2020 at 06:52 PM.

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    Default Lionel Richie Mourns Death of Kenny Rogers: 'I Lost One of My Closest Friends'

    Lionel Richie wrote Kenny Rogers' 1980 hit single "Lady"

    Lionel Richie shared a heartbreaking message following the news of Kenny Rogers’ death at 81.

    “Today I lost one of my closest friends So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken. My prayers go out to Kenny’s Family,” Richie, 70, wrote on Instagram and Twitter Saturday.

    Also in the tribute, the American Idol judge posted some of his favorite throwback photos of the pair, including the times they shared the stage together.

    Famously, Richie wrote Rogers’ 1980 hit single “Lady.”

    On Saturday, Rogers’ family confirmed the country icon’s death on social media.

    “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” the family said in a statement.

    “The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency. They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date,” the statement concluded.

    Rogers previously spoke fondly of Richie and their friendship at the Lionel Richie and Friends in Concert in Las Vegas in 2012. “He’s not just a friend of mine, but the song he wrote was truly a changing point in my career,” he said of the song “Lady,” adding, “It’s one of the most identifiable songs I’ve ever done.”'

    In October 2017, Richie performed at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena to honor Rogers’ life and music legacy, along with Little Big Town, the Judds and Dolly Parton.

    In addition to his solo music, Rogers amassed a large following well beyond the country-music world thanks to collaborations with artists such as Richie, Lynda Carter and Barry Gibb, as well as 1985’s charity song “We Are the World” with 45 other musicians.

    Among Rogers’ 39 studio albums, some well-known ones include The Gambler, Kenny, Eyes That See in the Dark, She Rides Wild Horses and Share Your Love.

    https://people.com/music/lionel-rich...osest-friends/

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    Default Charlie Daniels (October 28, 1936 - July 5, 2020)

    by Chris Morris | July 6, 2020 | Variety

    Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Charlie Daniels, whose fusion of traditional country and Southern rock made him a popular cross-genre artist during the ‘70s and ‘80s, died Monday of a hemorrhagic stroke in Hermitage, Tenn. He was 83.

    After establishing himself on the Nashville studio scene with session and touring work behind such performers as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, Daniels attracted attention as a singer and bandleader in his own right with several singles for Epic Records – “Uneasy Rider,” “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “Long Haired Country Boy” – that expressed kinship with the redneck rockers in the country audience.

    Country historian Bill C. Malone identified his appeal in his book “Country U.S.A.”: “This big, gruff, tobacco-chewing, outspoken musician embodied Southern good-old-boy traits almost to the point of caricature. He was nationalistic, hedonistic, macho…and lovable. He also made compelling music.”

    Even before he scored a major national hit, Daniels was something of an icon among country rockers, mainly thanks to his headlining appearances at the annual, star-studded Volunteer Jam concerts, launched in Nashville in 1974; the event ran through 1996 and was officially revived in 2015.

    He is best remembered for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” his folk tale, set in a talking blues style, about a fiddling contest with Old Nick. The single climbed to No. 1 on the country chart and crossed over to No. 3 on the pop side in 1979, shifting 1 million copies.

    The song, which received wide exposure on the multi-platinum soundtrack of the 1980 feature “Urban Cowboy,” captured a Grammy Award for best country vocal performance. It thrust Daniels’ album “Million Mile Reflections” to No. 5 on the pop album chart.

    In the aftermath of “Devil,” Daniels scored further pop hits with the patriotic “In America” (No. 11, 1980) and a musing look back at the Vietnam War, “Still in Saigon” (No. 22, 1982). Those singles lofted his albums “Full Moon’ (1980) and “Windows” (1982) to No. 5 and No. 7 on the country albums charts, with the former collection reaching No. 11 on the pop side. His last top-20 country single, “Simple Man,” peaked at No. 12 in 1989.

    In later years, Daniels continued to play for the faithful, but often was a lightning rod for controversy as he became an unabashed mouthpiece for right-wing political views. His later singles – “America I Believe in You,” “This Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag,” “My Beautiful America,” “The Pledge of Allegiance” – reflected an increasing tendency to wave the flag.

    The musician was an especially devoted activist on behalf of America’s military, founding the veterans’ assistance non-profit the Journey Home Project with his manager David Corlew (and contributing $300,000 for the charity from the 2015 Volunteer Jam) and making regular appearances before U.S. troops — sometimes in combat zones like Iraq.

    “I’ve played for them in bases in this country, overseas, on ships at sea, in Greenland, and Cuba, all over the place,” he told Forbes magazine in 2019. “And the main reason is to let them know somebody cares.”

    Daniels, who joined the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

    He was born Oct. 28, 1936, in Wilmington, N.C. Adept on fiddle, guitar, banjo, and mandolin, he broke in playing bluegrass music with an act called the Misty Mountain Boys, and later branched into playing rock ‘n’ roll.

    A major professional break came in 1964, when “It Hurts Me,” a song he co-authored with his friend Bob Johnston, was recorded by Elvis Presley for the flip side to his No. 12 single “Kissin’ Cousins,” the title song for his then-current movie.

    Daniels remained close to Johnston, who became a staff producer for Columbia Records in Nashville. After the musician moved to Music City in 1967, Johnston employed him as a session player on three Bob Dylan albums, the singer-songwriter’s 1969 country debut “Nashville Skyline” and the 1970 releases “Self Portrait” and “New Morning.”

    Daniels also played fiddle behind Leonard Cohen, another of Johnston’s production charges, at the Canadian singer-songwriter’s chaotic 1970 appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival. He branched into production in 1969 with work on the Youngbloods’ “Elephant Mountain.”

    He began his solo career on Capitol Records in 1971, but his releases there and on Kama Sutra Records between 1972-74 failed to click in a major way. In ’74 he began a long-term association with Epic Records, and the label successfully marketed him to Southern rock fans, who knew Daniels for his side work with the Marshall Tucker Band. The institution of Volunteer Jam helped make the Charlie Daniels Band one of country’s top touring attractions of the ‘70s.

    Daniels scored less regularly on the country and pop singles charts following his peak years of 1979-82, but “Simple Man” hit a final peak of No. 2 on the country albums list in 1989.

    He branched into the gospel market with “The Door” on Sparrow Records in 1994, and established his own imprint, Blue Hat Records, in 1997. In the new millennium he worked for such indie labels as Audium, Koch and Megaforce.

    In keeping with the tenor of his latter-day political and patriotic pronouncements — which he aired on Twitter and in the “Soap Box” section of his official web site — Daniels published his self-explanatory “Ain’t No Rag: Freedom, Family, and the Flag” in 2003.

    His memoir “Never Look at the Empty Seats” appeared in 2017; “Let’s All Make the Day Count:The Everyday Wisdom of Charlie Daniels” was published in 2018.

    He is survived by his wife Hazel and son Charlie Jr.

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    Default Charley Pride (March 18, 1934 - December 12, 2020)

    by Joseph Hudak | December 12, 2020 | Rolling Stone
    Charley Pride, the pioneering black country singer known for such hits as “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'” and “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” has died in Dallas, Texas, from complications related to Covid-19, according to his publicist. He was 86.

    Born in Sledge, Mississippi, in 1934, Pride picked cotton, played baseball in the Negro leagues, served in the U.S. Army, and worked in a smelting plant in Montana before moving to Nashville and becoming country music’s first black superstar. He scored 52 Top 10 country hits, including 29 Number Ones, and was the first African-American performer to appear on the Grand Ole Opry stage since Deford Bailey made his debut in the 1920s. Pride became an Opry member in 1993. In 2000, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    After leaving the Army, Pride landed in Helena, Montana, where he continued to play baseball (Jackie Robinson was an early hero) and took a job in a smelting plant. He also began singing in public, where he caught the ear of a local DJ who arranged for Pride to sing for country stars Red Sovine and Red Foley. The pair convinced him to move to Nashville and, in 1964, he signed a management deal with longtime manager Jack D. Johnson. The following year, he had his first Nashville recording session and, a month later, signed with the label RCA.

    Pride’s debut single, “The Snakes Crawl at Night,” failed to chart, but his debut album, Country, reached the Top 20. His 1967 album The Pride of Country Music went on to hit Number One and, that same year, he became the first African-American solo singer to appear on the Opry. On April 29th, he made his national TV debut, appearing on Lawrence Welk’s Saturday-night ABC music series.

    A lifelong disciple of Hank Williams, Pride’s debut on The Lawrence Welk Show presented his vibrant take on Williams’ 1949 hit “Lovesick Blues.” During a later appearance, Pride sang Lead Belly’s oft-covered folk tune “Cotton Fields,” a song that reminded him of his hard upbringing as a sharecropper’s son. “[It] reminds me of what I don’t ever go back to doing because it hurt my fingers and my back and my knees,” Pride said.

    Pride’s appearance on a variety show popular with a white audience was no small achievement, especially given RCA’s early penchant for obscuring Pride’s race. When Pride’s singles were sent to DJs and press, they arrived without the usual artist publicity photo.

    By 1969, Pride was on a hot streak, propelled by his Top Three cover of Hank Williams’ “Kaw-Liga.” He notched his first Number One single with “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me),” following by another chart-topper, “(I’m So) Afraid of Losing You Again.” The following year Pride released one of his signatures songs, “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone.” It too hit Number One. His other signature, “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” arrived in 1971 and gave him a bona fide crossover smash, reaching Number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100.

    The hits continued well into the early Eighties, with singles like 1974’s “Then Who Am I,” 1977’s “More to Me,” 1980’s “Honky Tonk Blues” and “You Win Again” (two more Hank Williams covers), and 1983’s sultry “Night Games,” which would be his last Number One.

    Despite being such an important black figure in country music, Pride never felt defined by his race, even when peppered with questions about it by the press. “I never see anything but the staunch American Charley Pride,” he told NPR in a 2017 interview. “They says, ‘Charley, how did it feel to be the Jackie Robinson of country music? How did it feel to be the first colored country singer? How did it feel to be the first Negro country singer? How did it feel to be the first black country singer?’ It don’t bother me, other than I have to explain it to you how I maneuvered around all these obstacles to get to where I am today…. I’ve got a great-grandson and [grand] daughter and they gonna be asking them that too if we don’t get out of this crutch we’ve been in all these years… this ‘them’ and ‘us.'”

    In a 2019 documentary about his life and career, Pride did recall one particularly tense concert, however. It was in Big Springs, Texas, on April 4, 1968 — the date of Martin Luther King’s assassination. “I got onstage, nobody said nothin’,” Pride said. “They applauded, I got a standing ovation. I didn’t say nothin’ about nothin’ pertaining to what had happened. But it was hanging there, what had happened and me the only one there with these pigmentations. You don’t forget nothin’ like that.”

    Dolly Parton, who sang with Pride on the duet “God’s Coloring Book,” remembered the country star in a tweet on Saturday. “I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away,” she wrote. “It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you.”

    Just last month, Pride, a three-time Grammy winner, was honored by the Country Music Association with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. He performed on the telecast with country singer Jimmie Allen, recreating “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’.” It would be Pride’s final performance.

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