I'm not a big fan of sneering sarcasm, or proving how cool you are by tearing down obvious targets... However, in the case of Kenny Rogers, I think it's okay to make an exception to this rule, just this once. Oh, god: the horror. Unlike many of you out there, I actually lived through Kenny Rogers' long reign of terror, the forsaken years in which his songs flooded the airwaves, summoning the forces of reaction, practically double-dog daring the punk movement into existence. This is music so awful, so fake, so utterly soulless and artificial that it sears the very mind to recall its awful power. Kenny Rogers is the Sauron of early '80s pop -- a demonic figure whose all-seeing eye scans the distant horizon for new, fresh eardrums to torture. Oh, sure, he had that whole cuddly, hirsute, teddy-bear '70s swinger look, but that only makes things worse. My eyes! My eyes! Not another TV special!! Noooooooooooo!!!
All that being said, I will admit that I have a soft spot, sort of, for a couple of his story-song hits -- the cornball "Coward Of The County," the sorta-catchy bounce of "The Gambler..." But then I think of "We've Got Tonight" or "Lady" or "You Decorated My Life," songs so horrible that it makes my nose bleed just to see their titles in print, and I start to think that a firing squad should be assembled... soon. Call out the hounds! Track this man down and don't let him record again!! Here is a quick -- and painful -- reminder of the damage he's already done.
Kenny Rogers "Twenty Greatest Hits" (Capitol, 1994)
It still boggles the mind that Rogers, the epitome of a '70s/'80s cheese-pop balladeer, was able to be considered a "country" artist... But I still kinda like "Coward Of The County," even if hearing "Lady" literally makes my skin crawl... The sheer weight of horrible, keyboard-heavy schlock on here is amazing. Nightmarish, actually.
Kenny Rogers & Dottie West "Every Time Two Fools Collide: The Best Of Kenny Rogers And Dottie West" (EMI Special Products, 1993)
A budget-line best-of that offers ten of their "best" duets...
Kenny Rogers "Love Lifted Me/Kenny Rogers" (Edsel, 2009)
A twofer reissue of his first "solo" albums, from 1976 and '77.
Kenny Rogers "Daytime Friends/Love Or Something Like It" (Edsel, 2009)
A twofer reissue of two more albums, Daytime Friends, from 1977 and Love Or Something Like It, from 1978.
Kenny Rogers "The Gambler/Kenny" (Edsel, 2009)
Another twofer reissue, with The Gambler, from 1977 and Kenny, from 1978. Kill me now.
Kenny Rogers "Gideon/Share Your Love" (Edsel, 2009)
Another twofer reissue, with Gideon, from 1980 and Share Your Love, from 1981. Oh God, why would anyone do this? Make this music available again? WHY???
Kenny Rogers "Love Lifted Me" (United Artists, 1976)
...and then it dropped you on your head?
Kenny Rogers "Kenny Rogers" (United Artists, 1977)
Yes, we know that already.
Kenny Rogers "Daytime Friends" (United Artists, 1977)
...and night-time restraining orders...
Kenny Rogers "Love Or Something Like It" (United Artists, 1978)
"...or something like it??" You're really scaring me, dude.
Kenny Rogers "The Gambler" (United Artists, 1978)
Oh, crap. Did I really admit up above there that I like "The Gambler"? God, I'm so busted. But, really, it's not my fault: society made me what I am.
Kenny Rogers & Dottie West "Every Time Two Fools Collide" (United Artists, 1978) (LP)
Every time two fools collide, they make a hit record and go laughing all the way to the bank. But wait a minute -- who are you, calling Dottie West a fool...?? Speak for yourself, Rogers!
Kenny Rogers & Dottie West "Classics" (Liberty, 1979)
Classics? Yeah... right.
Kenny Rogers "Kenny" (United Artists, 1979)
Includes "You Decorated My Life," which is yet another one of the worst pop songs ever. I mean, come on: you decorated my life? Is this a pop record or a tupperware party? Grow a pair, Kenny!
Kenny Rogers "Gideon" (United Artists, 1980)
Includes the smash hit, "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer," a torturous duet with Kim Carnes. Yeesh. Where's that firing squad, already? What's taking them so long?
Kenny Rogers "Share Your Love" (Liberty, 1981)
No, please don't. I beg of you.
Kenny Rogers "Christmas" (Liberty, 1981)
Kenny Rogers "Love Will Turn You Around" (Liberty, 1982)
...and then I will run as fast as I can.
Kenny Rogers "We've Got Tonight" (Liberty, 1983)
Ooooo-kayyyy... But can I maybe take a raincheck instead?
Kenny Rogers "Eyes That See In The Dark" (RCA, 1983)
...Kenny... You're creeping me out again, dude. Please don't mention the eyes, okay? It's creepy.
Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes "What About Me?" (RCA, 1984)
Yes! My question exactly!
Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton "Once Upon A Christmas" (RCA, 1984)
Double yikes! It's Dolly and Kenny, back in the days when they were singing hit duets like "Islands In The Sun," spreading the yuletide joy on a CBS-TV special called "A Christmas To Remember," in which Kenny wears suspenders, Dolly puts on granny glasses, and presents are shared. The music is surprisingly strong up until the end of the album, where a pair of horrible, slushy, over-arranged pop numbers, but at the start of the album, there's some sleek pop-country with a thumping beat that's as good as any of their chart singles... Definitely worth checking out, although it is kind of a mixed bag.
Kenny Rogers "The Heart Of The Matter" (Liberty, 1985)
Kenny Rogers "Love Is What We Make It" (Liberty, 1985)
But, see, it's that kind of moral relativism that's gotten us into the fix we're... Oh, never mind.
Kenny Rogers "They Don't Make Them Like They Used To" (RCA, 1986)
And do I really have to insert a joke after this one? You're making it too easy, you know...
Kenny Rogers "I Prefer The Moonlight" (RCA, 1987)
The moonlight? With a preposition in front of it? Oh, god, he's so sensitive and romantic. So hunky, too!
Kenny Rogers "Something Inside So Strong" (Reprise, 1989)
Seriously, dude... TMI.
Kenny Rogers "Christmas In America" (Warner Brothers, 1989)
But not anywhere else, okay? Hands off, Canada!! Santa's ours.
Kenny Rogers "Love Is Strange" (Reprise, 1990)
Look who's talking.
Kenny Rogers "Back Home Again" (Reprise, 1991)
...where I can torture small animals and wait for the hobbits to bring back my ring.
Kenny Rogers "If Only My Heart Had A Voice" (Giant, 1993)
...I would tell it to shut up.
Kenny Rogers & David Foster "Timepiece" (Atlantic, 1994)
Kenny Rogers "Vote For Love" (QVC, 1996)
Or, just surrender to the forces of Mordor...
Kenny Rogers "The Gift" (Magnatone, 1996)
Not just a Christmas record... a very special Christmas record.
Kenny Rogers "Across My Heart" (Magnatone, 1997)
...and hope to die?
Kenny Rogers "Christmas From The Heart" (Dreamcatcher, 1998)
And Channukah from the elbow... Okay... I'll stop with the lame jokes now...
Kenny Rogers "She Rides Wild Horses" (Dreamcatcher, 1999)
See? Nothing! My lips are sealed.
Kenny Rogers "There You Go Again" (Dreamcatcher, 2000)
Kenny Rogers "Back To The Well" (Dreamcatcher, 2003)
No, seriously... I'm done.
Kenny Rogers "Christmas With Kenny" (Rio Creek, 2004)
Thank you, Kenny.
Kenny Rogers "Christmas Collection" (EMI, 2006)
Kenny Rogers "Water And Bridges" (Capitol Nashville, 2006)
We love you, man. Good times.
Kenny Rogers "A Love Song Collection" (Capitol Nashville, 2008)
Kenny Rogers "Amazing Grace" (Spring House, 2012)
Kenny Rogers "You Can't Make Old Friends" (Warner, 2013)
...can't make them do what?
Hick Music Index