Kenny Rogers passed away at 81 (Childhood memories…)

I bought this music lyric book (a compilation of old and new songs) when I was in Primary (Junior) School. I was probably around 9 or 10. It had songs I liked by Bruce Springsteen, Madonna – yeap it was the 80s…Well that was how I came across Kenny Rogers. (Country music was not something popular here in Malaysia.. and definitely not with 9-year olds at that time).

The lyrics book had the song ‘Lady’ and also a duet – ‘Island In the Stream’ – sang by Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton. I was probably a bit confused between Kenny Rogers and Kenny Loggins in the beginning 😂.. (At that time ‘Footloose’ was quite the thing…)

Anyway Dad had a few mixed cassette tapes (yes, am that old) that had both songs. And I remembered thinking – hey, not bad….I thought he had a nice soothing voice (plus he looked so fatherly). I am one of those who can listen to all types of songs, rock, country, pop even classical etc. Yeap – the kid who didn’t really fit in…

Songs That Always Make me Smile

So now, many many years later, I don’t listen much to country or anything for that matter. But when I heard of Kenny’s passing yesterday on 20th Mar 2020, I just ‘felt’ something. So I started to google his old songs…. and my goodness – the memories came rushing back.

Memories of my Dad. Memories of me. Memories of my childhood days.. (Dad loved music – and I ‘borrowed’ a number of his old tapes). Kenny’s songs reminded me of the happy times – when things were simpler. When all you have to worry is just finishing your homework and what was for dinner. It was usually the same ‘menu’ but we were not bothered. 

Lady

Ha – just realised it’s quite a ‘cheesy’ song…Kenny always sang this song with all his heart like he meant every single word. When I was younger, I always thought I would meet someone who would think I am their world or something. Life is not a fairy tale is it? I think the 80s and 90s did not do me any favours with regards to love and relationships
 
First verse…
Lady, I’m your knight in shining armor and I love you
You have made me what I am and I’m yours
My love, there’s so many ways I want to say I love you
Let me hold you in my arms forever more
You have gone and made me such a fool
I’m so lost in your love
And oh, girl we belong together
Won’t you believe in my song?

Island In The Stream

This song was quite catchy. I thought it was quite cute – their voice combination was really nice. The song also introduced me to Dolly Parton. Yeap – another country singer to my list! …

First few verses…

Baby, when I met you there was peace unknown
I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb
I was soft inside
There was something going on
You do something to me that I can’t explain
Hold me closer and I feel no pain
Every beat of my heart
We got something going on

We've Got Tonight

This was a remake of the original version by Bob Seger, and was a duet between Kenny and Sheena Easton. I never knew the whole lyrics before – I just liked the sad but beautiful tune. Now that I listened to it again, I have  to say it was probably not the best song for a kid! Although back then, even if I did know the lyrics, they still won’t make sense to me.

It’s about two people, who are not together, just lonely and seeking ‘comfort’ in each others’ arms. I actually prefer the unofficial live version with Kenny and Dolly. They have the most perfect chemistry…

First few lines..  

I know it’s late, I know you’re weary
I know your plans don’t include me
Still here we are, both of us lonely
Longing for shelter from all that we see
Why should we worry, no one will care girl
Look at the stars so far away
We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t you stay?

We Are The World

This was NOT a Kenny Rogers’ song. But he had a solo part in it. I absolutely loved  this song. Still do. I just read recently that it was not an easy thing to pull off – getting all the celebrities in one room to sing this song (and not all of them got solo parts); although it was for charity to support famine effort in Africa. My favourite solo part was really Bruce Springsteen’s – but the song only worked because of the combination of vocals from everyone there in the studio including Kenny’s. From this side of the world – it looked amazing!

Thought I’d mention this song – because, yes it makes me smile, but mainly because it made Kenny looked real and like he really cared. I read that not everyone felt like they wanted to collaborate with other rival artists despite its all for charity etc etc. So kinda shows what a nice guy he was.

Gen Z

I told my daughter that Kenny Rogers, the founder of Kenny Rogers Roasters passed away. Most of the kids here around her age would not have heard of Kenny as a singer. But they would be very familiar with the Kenny Rogers food outlet.

 

Kenny was one of the founders of Kenny Rogers Roasters, a fast food chain back in 1991 with branches all over the world. The venture didn’t work out so well – and the Asian network was sold off to Berjaya Group, a Malaysian conglomerate. All the restaurants in the US  are now closed. 

The chain is still up and running in Asia, especially Malaysia. I just ordered online food delivery from Kenny Rogers’ (that’s what we call the restaurant chain) a few days ago! So his name is still mentioned a fair bit in this region – just probably in a different context!

"There's a new hit rock group or singer every five minutes, but with country music, you have one hit and those people love you forever."

That’s one of his famous quotes. It could be true – I probably know just a handful of his songs, but they did leave a lasting impression…You will be missed, Kenny!

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