Kenny Rogers Celebrates 50 Years of Music With a Little Help From Some Famous Friends
On Tuesday evening (March 8), stars from all musical genres came together to honor the one and only Kenny Rogers and the 50 years in which he has been making music for the GAC special 'Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years.'
For the show's opening number, Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie joined Rogers onstage for a special performance of 'Through the Years,' which included video footage and photographs of a young Rogers throughout his career.
Other performance highlights included Wynonna's soulful rendition of 'Just Dropped In,' which Rogers joined her for mid-song. The two took the stage once again later in the show for a vocally-driven 'Don't Fall in Love With a Dreamer.'
Tim McGraw, who couldn't make the taping, filmed his performance live from Tulsa, Okla., singing a beautiful and tender 'She Believes in Me.' Billy Currington also had an off-location performance of 'Lucille,' as did Darius Rucker, who credited Rogers as being one of the artists who inspired him to make a country record, prior to singing 'Coward of the County.'
Parton took the stage again, being joined by Alison Krauss, for a delicate and angelic version of 'Sweet Music Man,' with Billy Dean strumming acoustic guitar. Krauss returned later for 'But You Know I Love You.'
Chris Isaak performed a haunting 'Ruby,' complete with background vocals done by Dean and Linda Davis. The Oak Ridge Boys sang a gospel-infused 'Heed the Call,' while Smokey Robinson put his own touch on 'Listen to the Rain.'
Rogers took the spotlight on more than one occasion, performing his classic hits, reminding us why he is the legend he has become today. Rogers had Krauss and Dean join him on 'Buy Me a Rose,' Sheena Easton joined him for 'We've Got Tonight,' and Richie joined him for 'Lady.' Rogers also treated the crowd to a solo-sung version of his hit, 'The Gambler.'
For the show's finale, all the stars in attendance took the stage with the man of the hour for 'Islands in the Stream.'
Prior to the taping, DJ Kevin Richards of WGNA had the opportunity to catch up with Rogers' publicist, Kirt Webster, to discuss some of the shows highlights that occurred off camera.
"The private rehearsal with Dolly, Lionel, and Kenny was amazing," Webster says. "It was just real friends having a good time, with no agenda. Laughter filled the room, sarcastic puns and jokes were flying around and it was just a nice time to be among friends. Everyone on the special is ‘special’ to Kenny. Whether they toured together, made hit records, or just became friends over the years. This special is a culmination of all of those things, and Kenny was just honored to have them all in one room together."
"Kenny Rogers is an icon in the music business," Webster continues. "Very rarely do you find an artist who has radio hits in four decades of their careers, but with Kenny Rogers you get that. His humanitarian efforts from 'We Are The World' to 'Hands Across America' are undeniable, and his music continues to live on from generation to generation."
'Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years' will have encore presentations on GAC throughout the week. To see when it will air, click here.